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Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts: An Intimate History tells story of one of America’s most prominent, influential families

For Release: 2014-08-25 13:49:00

Ken Burns’ eagerly anticipated new series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History is the first ever to weave together the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt into a single, captivating narrative. The seven-part, 14-hour documentary follows the family’s story for more than a century — including six terms at the White House — from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962. The series airs for seven consecutive nights Sunday, Sept. 14 through Saturday, Sept. 20 at 8/7 pm on KET and again at 10/9 pm on KET2.

The Roosevelts traces the family’s formidable arc in politics and their roles in shaping the relationship Americans had with their government, and with defining the role of the United States within the wider world. Through letters and personal writings, the documentary provides unprecedented access into the personal lives of these very public figures — Theodore, the 26th president of the United States (1901-1909); his beloved niece, Eleanor; and the man she would marry, Theodore’s fifth cousin Franklin, who went on to become the nation’s 32nd president (1933-1945).

The series shares insights on all the history the Roosevelts helped to make — from the creation of the National Parks and the digging of the Panama Canal to the New Deal and the defeat of Hitler, as well as the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights around the world, causes in which Eleanor Roosevelt played a central role.

As sweeping as those themes are, however, the series is, at its core — in Burns’ signature style — an intimate human story about love, betrayal, family and personal courage in the conquest of fear.

Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti and Edward Herrmann provide the voices of Eleanor, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt.

“The Roosevelts have played significant roles in other stories we’ve told before, from the National Parks to World War II,” said Burns. “It’s impossible, in fact, to visit many parts of the American experience without encountering their presence. But beyond simply sharing a bloodline or political success, they each shared a passionate belief that America is at its strongest when everyone has an equal chance. And on a personal level, they each struggled to overcome their own fears while maintaining a public face of courage.”

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, D.C., directed by Ken Burns.

KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and and at

Contact: Todd Piccirilli



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