Twin Cities Public Television
PBS to Air Twin Cities Public Television Produced "CONSTITUTION USA with Peter Sagal" This May
TPT’s National Productions Unit Produces Major New Series for PBS about the U.S. Constitution
St. Paul, Minn. – April 15, 2013 – This May, PBS will air a new series nationally that was produced in Minnesota by tpt National Productions. CONSTITUTION USA with Peter Sagal is the latest national production from tpt whose previous award-winning, nationally-distributed works for PBS include Hoop Dreams, Benjamin Franklin, SciGirls and Slavery by Another Name.
The four-part CONSTITUTION USA is not your typical PBS documentary, taking a decidedly humorous and non-traditional approach to explore the document that made America. The series also coincides with the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution.
For the month-long series, premiering Tuesday, May 7, 8:00-9:00 p.m. CT, Sagal, host of NPR’s popular Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, travels cross-country — including right here in Minnesota to talk with Somali-American Fathia Absie — on a customized red, white and blue Harley-Davidson to find out what the Constitution means in the 21st century, how it unites us as a nation and how it has nearly torn us apart. Sagal talks with ordinary Americans who are struggling with issues of affirmative action, same-sex marriage, voting rights, gun control and more.
“If you really stop and think about it, the Constitution is all around us all the time,” says Sagal. “And though many of us don’t really understand the document, that has never stopped us from arguing about what it means.”
One of the reasons for producing CONSTITUTION USA was the fact that Americans know so little about their founding document, and civics is no longer widely taught in the schools.
“The series is anchored in contemporary debates about the Constitution,” says VP of National Productions Gerry Richman, “as well as historical flashbacks that show the key moments, crises and events that have defined the document.”
CONSTITUTION USA also uses animation, graphics and humor to show the Constitution’s role in the American story.
“Having the quick witted and affable Peter Sagal as our host,” says Executive Producer Catherine Allan “has been key to making the series accessible and engaging to a broad audience. And, of course, we’ve loved working with him.”
TPT National Productions is well renowned as a national producer in the public media and public television worlds and CONSTITUTION USA with Peter Sagal is one of PBS’ most highly anticipated new series for spring. TPT is excited about sharing their latest national series with their hometown community.
CONSTITUTION USA also features a powerful social media component and innovative educational partnerships with The National Constitution Center, iCivics and PBS NEWSHOUR. CONSTITUTION USA will reach citizens across a variety of platforms, inviting them to connect around our shared political legacy. In Minnesota, tpt will host also a variety of local events and screenings around the series.
CONSTITUTION USA, a production of tpt National Productions in association with Insignia Films, is directed by Stephen Ives; written by Jaime Bernanke with Peter Sagal; produced by Amanda Pollak; and executive produced by Catherine Allan.
Funding for CONSTITUTION USA is provided by U.S. Bank Wealth Management, Anne Ray Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Baker & McKenzie LLP, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Shearman & Sterling LLP, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.
Viewers can follow CONSTITUTION USA online at www.pbs.org/constitutionUSA and on the following social platforms:
The mission of tpt is to “enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media.”
As one of the nation’s leading public media organizations, tpt uses television, interactive media, and community engagement to advance education, culture and citizenship. Over its 50 plus year history, tpt has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards and national and regional Emmys.
Based in St. Paul, MN, tpt is one of the highest rated PBS affiliates in the nation, reaching over 1.3 million people each month through multiple broadcast and online channels. The organization's particular areas of focus include: the educational readiness of children; serving the needs and unleashing the potential of America's aging population; engaging a new generation in the power of public media; and being the preferred media partner for organizations that align with our mission to enrich lives and strengthen community.
About tpt National Productions
TPT National Productions is the national production division of Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), the PBS affiliate for Minneapolis/St. Paul, and is a significant content producer for the public television system. In addition to crafting award-winning series, documentaries and specials, tpt has created a major, highly lauded body of work on the history of America’s founding era, including the Peabody Award-winning series LIBERTY! The American Revolution and Benjamin Franklin (Primetime Emmy). Other notable tpt productions include The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s; Depression: Out of the Shadows; the children’s science series SciGirls; and most recently, Slavery by Another Name, an official selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
About Insignia Films
For more than 20 years, Insignia Films has been creating documentaries that explore America’s past, engage with its present, and illuminate who we are as a nation and what we believe. Founded in 1988 by Stephen Ives, and joined in 2001 by Amanda Pollak, Insignia Films has earned a particular reputation as one of the country’s foremost producers of documentaries and television series. The company has made films for HBO, an episode of Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, and independent feature documentaries.
Dedicated to dynamic storytelling that entertains and inspires even as it informs, Insignia Films has produced some of the most-watched films in PBS history, including the landmark series The West, which was seen by more than 38 million people nationwide, as well as nine films for the acclaimed PBS series American Experience. Insignia’s work has been honored with recognition from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Directors and Writers Guilds of America, and film festivals nationwide.
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