Public broadcasting staple American Masters, the documentary series that has profiled everyone from David Geffen to Albert Einstein, will launch a digital archive and podcast featuring previously unreleased footage from the series trove of more than 800 interviews.
The series extensions coincide with the 30th anniversary of the program, which is produced by New York's WNET. The digital archive, American Masters: In Their Own Words, will feature long-form interviews via the podcast and short-form interviews via videos on the American Masters archive site. The archive will draw from 1,388 hours (and counting) of digitized footage and will be released on an ongoing basis.
The podcast will be hosted by American Masters executive producer Michael Kantor, who succeeded founding executive producer Susan Lacy in 2014. The first season of the podcast, titled Women on Women features interviews with influential women discussing female cultural icons. Episode one highlights Gloria Steinem in conversation with the late multiple Emmy-winning filmmaker Gail Levin taking a critical look at the life and career of Marilyn Monroe from 2006's American Masters - Marilyn: Still Life. New episodes will be released biweekly on the American Masters website, iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher. Both the podcast and the digital archive will be available on the PBS.org website.
The American Masters digital extensions are the latest multiplatform initiatives for the public broadcaster, which has had particular success with its kids programming. The American Masters archive is a rich one to exploit, as the podcast market continues to explode. WNET is working on attracting funding for a dedicated website for the digital archive.
"Series creator Susan Lacy built a rich library of more than 200 documentary films, which is a treasure trove of American arts, culture and intellect, and the amazing interviews that informed these films are largely unseen," said Kantor. "While we are still seeking funds to create a comprehensive, interactive digital archive website, we are confident that In Their Own Words and the American Masters podcast will inspire and entertain a broad audience both today and in the future."