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American Masters

American Masters

American_masters_season_29_241x208
  • Premiered: 
    June 22, 1986
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: PBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Biography
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Created by Susan Lacy 
  • Subject Matter: Anthology
  • Tags:

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  • Click a button to buy a DVD at Amazon
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  • American Ballet Theatre: A History
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  • Billie Jean King
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  • Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive
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  • Jacques Pepin: The Art of Craft
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  • Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women
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  • Mike Nichols
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  • Mike Nichols [Blu-ray]
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  • Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
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  • Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You [Blu-ray]
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  • Philip Roth: Unmasked
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Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

AMERICAN MASTERS is a series of biographies and profiles about important figures in America's artistic and cultural life. Each episode features a different subject, ranging from the first quintessentially American dance company to an African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso who influenced rock and roll and from TV stars who affected American pop culture to filmakers who made American -- and international -- audiences cry with laughter. This series returned for its 26th season on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 9pm ET, with an episode, "Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance," that uncovered the story of the Joffrey Ballet and its co-founders, Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, who pioneered a new dance philosophy by daringly combining modern and traditional techniques and art with social statement, and integrating pop and rock music scores. The second episode of Season 26, which didn't air until February 22, 2013, revealed the life, music and influence of Rosetta Tharpe, an African-American gospel singer. AMERICAN MASTERS launched it 29th season on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). Narrated by Dick Cavett, the season opener, "Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice," journeys into the mysterious world of sleight-of-hand and the small circle of eccentrics who are its perpetual devotees. Told largely in Jay's own distinctive voice, the documentary traces the story of his achievement, beginning at age 4 as apprentice to his grandfather Max Katz, an accomplished amateur magician, and features rare footage of some of the most influential magicians of the 20th century: Cardini, Slydini, Al Flosso, Dai Vernon and Charles Miller. Season 30 of AMERICAN MASTERS premiered on Friday, January 29, 2016 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). The season opener chronicles the life and impact of director, actor, writer, producer and comedian Mike Nichols, who won an Oscar, a Grammy, four Emmys, nine Tonys, three BAFTAs and many other awards. As the legendary comedy duo Nichols and May, Nichols and his partner Elaine May revolutionized comedy in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Now, May has directed the first documentary about her former partner. This program features new interviews with his friends and colleagues, including Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Paul Simon, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Bob Balaban, Tony Kushner, Neil Simon, Frank Langella, James L. Brooks and many others, conducted by film, TV and theater producer Julian Schlossberg. Schlossberg also conducted an exclusive interview with Nichols for the film. After Mike Nichols, the series' 30th anniversary season continues with new documentaries about music legends B.B. King (February 12), Carole King (February 19), Fats Domino (February 26), Loretta Lynn (March 4), Janis Joplin (May 3) and The Highwaymen (May 27). PBS premiered the thirty-first season of AMERICAN MASTERS on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 8pm (check local listings). The season opener features prolific and versatile filmmaker Sidney Lumet (1924-2011), who made 44 films in 50 years, earning the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement after four Oscar nominations. Considered a quintessential New York filmmaker, Lumet frequently used New York City's urban mettle to infuse his films with a realism and intensity that kept audiences in suspense while prodding them to consider their own morality. In this installment of AMERICAN MASTERS, he tells his own story in a never-before-seen interview shot in 2008 by late filmmaker Daniel Anker and producer Thane Rosenbaum.
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Later in Season 30, PBS will premiere these episodes of AMERICAN MASTERS:

"Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny" (Friday, September 1, 2017 at 9pm): Boasting a trove of never-before-seen archival footage, this program provides an unconventional look at the fiercely independent style of filmmaking that emerged out of Austin, Texas, in the late 1980s and 1990s. Early writings from Linklater's journals and telling interviews with the subject himself are intermingled with clips from some of his most beloved films, including SLACKER, DAZED AND CONFUSED, and BOYHOOD, revealing the extent to which his filmmaking existed (and continues to exist) decidedly outside of the production power bases of Hollywood and New York.

"Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive" (Monday, October 30, 2017 at 9pm): This episode draws on the rich palette of Edgar Allan Poe's evocative imagery and sharply drawn plots to tell the real story of the notorious author. The film, featuring Tony Award-winning and Emmy-nominated actor Denis O'Hare, explores the misrepresentations of Poe as an alcoholic madman akin to the narrators of his horror stories.