The American “Who Do You Think You Are? Premieres on NBC April 20

Lisa KudrowWho Do You Think You Are?” is finally coming to America. The series, patterned after the hit BBC series (now starting its sixth season) is starting on NBC April 20. We now know that the series will feature Susan Sarandon, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lisa Kudrow. Kudrow is the executive producer. The series will also first feature Kudrow’s ancestry. I haven’t located any information on other celebs who may be on the series – YET. NBC says, “Additional celebrity names will be announced shortly.”

Roger Catlin compares the PBS series to “African American Lives,” which was first presented to the public three years ago by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Read his comments in the January 27, 2009 edition of the Hartford Courant by clicking here.

Plan to be in front of the small screen on April 20 – at 8 p.m. Eastern Time!

Following is the NBC News Release:


New Alternative Series Produced by Kudrow and Wall To Wall Productions Unearths Celebrity Family Trees and Reveals Inspiring Personal Stories Linked to America’s Fascinating History

BURBANK – January 27, 2009 – Some of today’s most-beloved and iconic celebrities including Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon are set to star in NBC’s new alternative series “Who Do You Think You Are?” premiering on Monday, April 20 (8-9 p.m. ET).

From executive producer Kudrow (“Friends,” “The Comeback”) in conjunction with her production company Is or Isn’t Entertainment and the U.K.’s Wall to Wall productions, the series – an adaptation of the award-winning hit British television documentary series – will lead celebrities on a journey of self-discovery as they unearth their family trees that reveal surprising, inspiring and even tragic stories that often are linked to crucial events in American history.

Additional celebrity names will be announced shortly.

The announcement was made today by Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, NBC and Universal Media Studios.

“No other program gives this unique glimpse into the personal lives of celebrities or takes viewers on a quantum leap through history in such an entertaining way,” said Telegdy. “We are thrilled to have Lisa, Susan and Sarah Jessica kick off this groundbreaking series.”

“This show personalizes history and turns it into a gripping narrative,” said Kudrow. “The most striking thing about the show is the realization of how connected we all are.”

Each episode will take viewers on an emotional, personal – and often mysterious – quest following one of America’s best-known celebrities into his or her past, sharing the celebrity’s surprise as they uncover stories of heroism and tragedy, love and betrayal, secrets and intrigue that lie at the heart of their family history.

At the same time, the series celebrates the twists and turns of a developing great nation and the people who made their way here in search of freedom and opportunity. As each one discovers their unknown relatives – most of whom overcame hard times – the show will take the audience back into world history to expose how the lives of everyone’s collective ancestors’ have shaped today’s world.

“Who Do You Think You Are?” is produced by Wall to Wall productions in association with Is Or Isn’t Entertainment. Alex Graham and Lucy Carter from Wall to Wall and Lisa Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky and Don Roos from Is or Isn’t Entertainment are the executive producers. Bryn Freedman (“Intervention”) is the co-executive producer. The unique, award-winning series is based on the popular BBC television documentary series created and executive-produced by Alex Graham.

Wall to Wall is an Emmy Award-winning producer of factual and drama programming. Recently voted one of the seven most creative production companies in the world by the Real Screen Global 100 List, Wall to Wall is best known in the U.S. for the break-out reality formats “Frontier House” and “Colonial House.” Is or Isn’t Entertainment has been developing and producing television for the last five years, producing the critically acclaimed and Emmy nominated series “The Comeback.”


Additional information can be found at

UPDATE – Read Randy Seaver’s comments about what the new NBC program may do for genealogy as a whole.

6 thoughts on “The American “Who Do You Think You Are? Premieres on NBC April 20

  1. I am excited about watching the series of “Who Do You Think You Are.

    I am a African American woman, and the author of a recent publication of the book I’ve written entitled My Slade Phenomenon, published by Dorrance Publishing Company.

    I made a startling discovery back to England with the surname of Slade as well as discovering other surnames in our family lineages.

  2. The American WDYTYA is appauling. The BBC version is a full hour of content. By the time you have taken the trails and adverts out of the American version, it is down to about 38 minutes of content. What a joke.

    But then, even worse, it is so interlaced with American sap, and shallow celebrities who only seem intent on finding connections to well-known events. There is no depth, no real substance. To cap it off, slushy music and over-produced gloss.

    Garbage. Absolute, utter garbage. The biggest disappointment of the year.

  3. I am also sorely disappointed with the American version.

    Half the time is spent telling the viewer what’s coming up next or recapping the previous segment. Ugh.

    I guess this is a formula for television presentation that American viewers are familiar with – perhaps they’re even desinsitized to it (?!) but compared to the UK version the result feels like insulting, dumbed down fluff. (Seriously, do people REALLY need a recap after every commercial break, and a lengthy taste of what’s to come, before every break? If so I think questions badly need to be asked about the American viewing public’s attention capacity.)

    Lovely celebrities to be sure, but no real substance to the presentation of their stories…sadly.

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