Saturday, January 7, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are Returns to NBC - Finding Your Roots on PBS

For those who can't get enough of celebrities and genealogy,  the coming weeks will be a blockbuster on your television screen.

NBC's Who Do You Think You Are returns for its third season on U.S. television on February 3, 2012. The popularity of the broadcast is evident since NBC has expanded the series about family history hunts to 12 episodes this season.

Among those featured:

  • Martin Sheen, actor, known for The West Wing, Apocalypse Now and hundreds of other stellar performances, and as being father of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez
  • Marisa Tomei, actor, Oscar winner
  • Blair Underwood, actor, L.A. Law, most recently, The Event. I remember him from One Life to Live circa 1985.
  • Reba McEntire, former rodeo barrel racer turned country music superstar turned sit-com actor.
  • Rob Lowe, actor, also on The West Wing, member of the "Brat Pack" and author of the memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends
  • Helen Hunt, actor known for TV's Mad About You, went on to win the Oscar.
  • Rita Wilson, actor and producer known for "best friend" roles, driving force behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Oh, yeah, she's married to Tom Hanks.
  • Edie Falco, actor, The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie
  • Rashida Jones, actor, The Office, Parks and Recreation
  • Jerome Bettis, former NFL halfback with the Rams and the Steelers
  • Jason Sudeikis, known for Saturday Night Live, Horrible Bosses, 30 Rock
  • Paula Deen, celebrity chef
Martin Sheen with my friend and
fellow genealogy blogger, Jan Eloise Morris
Los Angeles, 1996
used with permission of Jan Eloise Morris

Reba McEntire
Omaha, Nebraska 1982
copyright Susan Petersen

Finding Your Roots

Henry Louis Gates of the Faces of America series is back to host Finding Your Roots on PBS. The 10 part series premieres on PBS stations on March 25, 2012. Celebrities named for this program thus far include:
  • Kevin Bacon and wife (cousin?) Kyra Sedgwick, actors; he is probably best known for the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon 'game', his credits include Footloose, Apollo 13, A Few Good Men, Diner. Sedgwick is best known for The Closer.
  • Robert Downey, Jr., actor; I'm a bit prejudiced as, in my eyes, he's one of the most gifted actors of our time. Known most recently for Sherlock Holmes, Ally McBeal, Wonder Boys (one of my favorite films), Chaplin, and several stints in jail and rehab.
  • Branford Marsalis, musician - saxophonist; in addition to a remarkable solo career, he toured with Sting for two years and was musical director of The Tonight Show when Jay Leno first took over the late night spot.
  • John Legend, singer, songwriter, actor, recipient of nine Grammy awards.
  • Martha Stewart, television personality and magazine publisher, merchandiser of her own product line. Served five months in federal prison after lying to investigators about a stock sale.
  • Barbara Walters, longtime broadcaster and interviewer, her credits include The Today Show, 20/20, The Barbara Walters Special and The View. She was the first woman to co-anchor a network news show and her $1 million salary really pissed off Harry Reasoner, who never got over it. I noticed she was in a photograph as a guest at Paul McCartney's London wedding to Nancy Shevell last year; I later read that Barbara and Nancy are cousins. So I'm curious about that family relationship.
  • Rick Warren, evangelical minister and author of The Purpose Driven Life.
As the names of other subjects on Finding Your Roots are announced, they will be posted on this blog.

With at least 12 weeks of network genealogy programming coming up, it's going to make getting through winter a lot more fun!


  1. Happy viewing. I enjoyed many of your interesting side notes. Thanks! ;-)

  2. Glad you enjoyed my commentary, Dr. Bill. Didn't want it to be a rehashed press release. Comments were off the top of my head, except for Jones and Nettie. Had to Google them!

  3. Not Nettie, Bettis! I'll never get up to speed typing on the Kindle.LOL.