Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019 at 8 p.m.
Today’s most compelling personalities discover the surprising stories buried within their own families in the sixth season of the critically acclaimed PBS series FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. The new season will premiere on Tuesdays beginning October 8, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.
FINDING YOUR ROOTS Season Six’s extended broadcast lineup spans from Fall 2019 through Fall 2020. The Fall 2019 season will premiere with two new episodes followed by five encore presentations of the series. Season Six will return in early 2020 with eight weeks of new episodes featuring both new guests and re-mixed thematic combinations of former participants’ stories. FINDING YOUR ROOTS returns in Fall 2020 with six additional new episodes showcasing new and re-mixed episodes. This extended broadcast footprint will serve to expand FINDING YOUR ROOTS’ reach to its viewers throughout 2019 and 2020.
The sixth season of Finding Your Roots on PBS features 27 fascinating new guests who are game-changers in their fields, with family histories that illustrate the power and diversity of the human experience. Among them are actors Jeffrey Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Melissa McCarthy and Sterling K. Brown; groundbreaking director Jordan Peele, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; acclaimed journalists Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell; musicians Queen Latifah and Jon Batiste; legendary fashion designers Diane von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez and Zac Posen; as well as a host of other luminaries, including Jeff Goldblum, Anjelica Huston, Isabella Rossellini, Terry Gross, Marc Maron, Eric Stonestreet, Issa Rae, Amy Ryan and Justina Machado. Some of the guests whose stories we will revisit this season include actors Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Marisa Tomei; journalist Lisa Ling; radio talk show host Joe Madison; musician Questlove; and late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel.
In sharing their stories, Finding Your Roots uses every tool available, from cutting-edge DNA research to old-school genealogical sleuthing, to reveal long-buried secrets. Spanning the globe, the series compiles family trees that trace throughout the United States and Canada; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Germany, Poland, Ireland, Russia and more. Episode to episode, audiences will meet guests’ ancestors who were businesspeople and bootleggers, war heroes and criminals, farmers and immigrants, the persecuted and the persevering under the most extraordinary circumstances. Together, the arc of each guest’s family personalizes history while emphasizing the human connections that unite us.
At the center of it all, guiding every discovery, is host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. “Hosting Finding Your Roots is not only profoundly rewarding as a scholar,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr. said. “It’s part of a larger mission to inspire us all to seek out the stories of our ancestors—to see history as something that we are all a part of, that we all have a stake in—and, in realizing this, to help us arrive at a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the human family. Our series strives to show how all Americans are related, despite our present divisive politics, at the most fundamental levels of all: through our families, through our immigrant experiences, whether forced or voluntary, and at the level of the genome. I couldn’t be more excited to share Season Six with our viewers.”
Assembling the extensive family trees and family narratives alongside Dr. Gates are DNA expert CeCe Moore (Founder, The DNA Detective) and expert genealogist Johni Cerny (Founder, Lineages).
FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six premieres on Tuesdays beginning Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. ET with an episode featuring Isabella Rossellini, Anjelica Huston and Mia Farrow. Season Six includes the following episodes:
OCTOBER 8, 2019
- “Hollywood Royalty” with Isabella Rossellini, Anjelica Huston, Mia Farrow
OCTOBER 15, 2019
- “Off the Farm” with Melissa McCarthy, Eric Stonestreet
JANUARY 2020 EPISODES
- “Secrets & Lies” with Sigourney Weaver, Amy Ryan, Justina Machado
- “This Land is My Land” with Queen Latifah, Jeffrey Wright
- “Beyond the Pale” with Terry Gross, Marc Maron, Jeff Goldblum
- “Homecomings” with Sterling K. Brown, Jon Batiste, Sasheer Zamata
- “DNA Pioneers” with Harold Varmus, Francis Collins, Shirley Jackson
- “Slave Trade” with Questlove, S. Epatha Merkerson, Ava DuVernay
- “Italian Roots” with Marisa Tomei, Jimmy Kimmel, John Turturro
- “Criminal Mind” with Laura Linney, Lisa Ling, Soledad O’Brien
OCTOBER 2020 EPISODES
- “Fashion’s Roots” with Diane Von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, RuPaul
- “Breaking the Silences” with Gayle King, Jordan Peele, Issa Rae
- “DNA Mysteries” with Ann Curry, Téa Leoni, Joe Madison
- “War Stories” with Kehinde Wiley, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader
- “Flight” with Lupita Nyong’o, Lidia Bastianich, Scarlett Johannsson
- “Coming to America” with Nancy Pelosi, Norah O’Donnell, Zac Posen
In conjunction with the broadcast, co-producer WETA, the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, will work with stations across the country to encourage viewers to explore and share their family histories via social media using the hashtag #FindingYourRoots on Facebook and Twitter, via Facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS and @HenryLouisGates, and on the series companion site, pbs.org/FindingYourRoots.
FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six is a production of McGee Media, Inkwell Films, Kunhardt Films and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Ark Media. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the writer, host, and executive producer. Dyllan McGee and Peter Kunhardt are executive producers. Dalton Delan and John F. Wilson are executive producers in charge for WETA. Bill Gardner is the executive in charge for PBS. Sabin Streeter is the senior producer. Hannah Olson is the series producer. Sabin Streeter and Krista Whetstone are directors. Major corporate support for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six is provided by Ancestry, Johnson & Johnson and AT&T. Major support is also provided by the Ford Foundation, Candace King Weir, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.