Two big Nutopia series announced by PBS at TCA press tour – ‘The Great American Read’ and ‘Civilizations’

31 Jul 2017

TCA: PBS series searches for America’s most beloved books

July 31, 2017

As part of PBS’s TCA press tour presentation held Monday (July 30), the pubcaster unveiled two new projects.

The new eight-part series The Great American Read (w/t) will explore the power of literature by asking the public to vote for their favorite American book.

Elsewhere, PBS has partnered with BBC on the new series Civilizations, which tells the story of art from the dawn of human history to present day.


“The Great American Read” (w/t)

The Great American Read (w/t), produced by Nutopia, will feature America’s 100 best-loved books, as chosen by the public.

The series, along with a nationwide campaign, will aim to spark a debate on books that inspire. Along with the series, the campaign will feature community reading programs, special events and a range of digital and social media initiatives.

Featuring testimonials from notable people from the entertainment, sports, news and literary worlds, The Great American Read will culminate in a national vote to choose “America’s Best-Loved Book.”

The Great American Read will launch in spring 2018 with a multi-platform digital and social campaign leading up to the unveiling of the 100 books, as selected by the American public and an advisory panel of literary professionals.

Starting with a two-hour event in May 2018, the doc special will feature appearances by celebrities and everyday Americans who advocate for and explain their personal connection to their favorite books.

Voting will continue throughout the summer, with six episodes of the series exploring the nominated books through themes such as “Being American,” “Heroes,” “Growing Up,” “What We Do for Love” and more.

Throughout the summer, PBS stations will team up with local organizations and community booksellers to inspire the next generation of readers through library, education and community initiatives.

The voting will close in the fall and America’s top 10 books will be revealed counting down to America’s Best-Loved in the final episode of the series in September 2018.



The new nine-part series Civilizations, presented in partnership with the BBC, tells the story of art from the dawn of human history to the modern day.

Inspired by Civilization, Kenneth Clark’s landmark 1969 acclaimed series about Western art, this new series will showcase the role art and the creative imagination have played in human society around the globe. From Asia to Europe, Civilizations will explore the wealth of treasures created by various cultures.

The main contributors of the series are art historian and professor of history and art history at Columbia University New York, Simon Schama; Mary Beard, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge; and British-Nigerian historian and writer David Olusoga. They will be joined by a roster of international artists and experts.

Civilizations is a Nutopia production for PBS and BBC in association with the Open University. Executive producers are Jonty Claypole and Mark Bell for the BBC; and Jane Root, Michael Jackson and Denys Blakeway for Nutopia. Bill Gardner, VP of programming and development, oversees the project for PBS. The series producer is Melanie Fall.

For all press enquiries contact: [email protected]

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