Skip to main content

Starz Acquires Unscripted Docuseries ‘America to Me’

Starz has acquired unscripted docuseries America to Me, which is created by Steve James and produced by Participant Media and Kartemquin Films. There are ten parts to the series, which will debut on Starz in the fall.

America To Me follows students, teachers and administrators in suburban Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School, one of the country’s most diverse public schools, over the course of a year as they grapple with racial and educational inequities. Starz says America to Me “sparks extremely candid conversations about what has succeeded and what has failed in the quest to achieve racial equality and overcome bias in our education system.”

“We are thrilled to acquire this compelling docuseries from Participant Media and Steve James who, as a filmmaker, is truly one of the best,” said Starz President of Programming Carmi Zlotnik. “America to Me is extremely socially relevant and timely which exemplifies our diversity strategy. Steve’s ability to bring the real and honest portrait of these students and the complex and compelling issues they face through this series is admirable.”

Five episodes showed at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

“As Participant continues to expand its global footprint with exciting new content opportunities, we are thrilled to announce this distribution partnership with Starz, bringing America to Me, our first documentary television series, to audiences everywhere,” said Participant CEO David Linde.

James directed and executive produced the 10 hour-long episodes via his production outfit, Kartemquin Films. America to Me is executive produced by Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg and Justine Nagan, with Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann.

Related: Starz On Board With Youth Football Docu-Series by Lebron James

“In creating America to Me, we were encouraged every day by the kids and their families, some truly dedicated teachers, and so many others featured in the series,” said James. “Their passion and insights inspired us and we believe their stories will resonate with people everywhere. I am so excited to have found a distribution partner in Starz that shares the same dedication we have for this series and will help it find its way into the world.”

Starz is part of Lionsgate.

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.