Epix Preps Lear’s Deep-Digging ‘America Divided’

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Epix screened America Divided, an original docu-series from executive producers Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes and the rapper Common, in Los Angeles on Sept. 20, in advance of its Sept. 30 premiere. Several Hollywood veterans, including Rosario Dawson, Jesse Williams, Peter Sarsgaard, Amy Poehler and Lear himself, are correspondents; Lear visited Brooklyn to focus on housing inequality and homelessness.

Each episode seamlessly shifts from one correspondent and issue to another, and back again; topics include the Flint water disaster, mass incarceration in Chicago and educational inequality. Picturesque aerial shots of the various locales belie the unrest at street level. Despite their relative lack of investigative backgrounds, the correspondents dig deep to find the root of the ill.

Mark Greenberg, Epix president/CEO, said the series is intended to “inspire and provoke, and contribute to the national dialogue.”

Lear and Williams sat for a Q&A following the screening at UCLA’s Hammer Museum. Williams, who focuses on education, said grassroots activism is alive and well. “It is possible to make heads roll—to get people out of positions and shake things up,” he said.

Lear said he remains optimistic despite the divides in our nation. “I don’t want to wake up the morning I don’t have hope,” he said. “I am hopeful.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.