"This show personalizes history and turns it into a gripping narrative," said Executive Producer Lisa Kudrow. "The most striking thing about the show is the realization of how connected we all are."
The series is a logical extension of PBS’ “African-American Lives,” which surprised famous black Americans with previously unknown details about their ancestors.
While the NBC project is laudable and will doubtless prove entertaining, I have a couple of caveats for prospective viewers.
First, expect to get a PG version even if investigators turn up some R or even XXX details. These are celebrities, after all, and celebrities are first and foremost about image. Don’t expect to see anything that taints that image. Keep in mind, too, that you don’t really know these people; you just know what they want you to know. Unless, of course, they’ve committed actual news and were scrutinized by authorities or media outside their control.
Second, despite America’s obsessive celebrity culture, the rich and famous don’t have a lock on interesting family trees. We all have fascinating stories in our familial past. Our goal should be to unlock those stories and share them with those people closest to us.
Photo: Aaron Lehmer checks out the roots of a California redwood. (Larry Lehmer collection)