PBS and WGBH announced American Veteran, an initiative that traces the veteran experience through a four part PBS series, a 10 part digital short series and a nine part podcast. The broadcast series premieres Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 9:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video App.
Each episode is hosted by a veteran: former Marine and TV host Drew Carey; Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient; Wes Studi, a Vietnam War veteran with the National Guard and Native American activist; and J. R. Martinez, an Army veteran, actor and motivational speaker.
"From the citizen-soldiers who fought in the nation’s earliest conflicts, to the men and women in today’s all-volunteer armed forces, it is a rich and deeply moving story told through personal remembrances that draw civilian viewers into an unfamiliar culture," PBS and WGBH said in a release.
The production team, led by Insignia Films, interviewed a group of nearly 50 veterans—young and old, enlisted and officers, men and women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those whose service left them with physical disabilities or PTSD. In each episode, veterans reflect on and share their personal experiences in the military.
“In this project, American veterans from all branches of the military share their experiences and insights,” said GBH executive producers Elizabeth Deane and Judith Vecchione. “We hope this will connect civilian Americans with a world that many know little about—and that veterans will feel they are truly heard.”
Digital series American Veteran: Keep It Close will premiere Sept. 7 through Jan. 11, 2022 on the PBS Voices YouTube channel. The host for the digital series is Shain Brenden, a medic in the U.S. Navy who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marines, and who is now a comedian, writer and actor in Portland, Oregon. American Veteran: Keep it Close is produced by Blue Chalk. Mariko Fujinaka serves as producer and Natalie Taylor serves as supervising producer.
Podcast series American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories drops Oct. 19 and runs through Dec. 19. Distributed by PRX and with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the series is available to listeners free on-demand across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The podcast is hosted by Phil Klay, a Marine Corps. veteran featured in the television series and author of the award-winning book Redeployment.
American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories is a production of Insignia Films for GBH, produced by Curtis Fox with sound design by Ian Coss and production and distribution support from PRX.
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Chelsea Anderson has been with Future for two years. She started as an intern with NewBay Media/Multichannel News in 2015. During her time she wrote bylined articles and program reviews as well as helped with research graphics for the magazine. She later became News Assistant for Broadcasting & Cable in 2017 until 2020 when she became Assistant Content Producer. Chelsea graduated from Niagara University in 2016 with a Bachelor's in Communication Studies and a double minor in Writing Studies and Sociology.