Watch AMERICA In Primetime

This documentary series covers the changing characterizations of certain stereotypes on primetime television. The four episodes cover interviews with creators, executive producers, writers and actors. The four episodes cover primetime from post World War Two to the early twenty first century. They cover shows like Desperate Housewives, the Dick Van Dyke Show, 24 and The Bernie Mac Show.

The series was produced by The Documentary Group for PBS. The executive producer, Tom Yellin, has produced for Frontline, 20/20 and Peter Jennings Reporting. The producers, Linda Hirsch and Susan Schaefer, have worked with various news shows and documentaries.

The Independent Woman covers the changes from the 1950s housewife to the varied roles women have in primetime today. They cover shows such as the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Roseanne and Weeds. They interview creators like Marc Cherry, Carl Reiner, Shonda Rhimes and Liz Brixius. The actors featured range from Mary Tyler Moore to Roseanne Barr. It covers the evolution from Lucy of I love Lucy to Nancy from Weeds.

Man of the House discusses the way that the roles of men have changed from breadwinner to the criminal or to the bumbling husband. The shows that are looked into range from the Dick Van Dyke Show to Big Love to Leave it to Beaver. They talk with David Lynch, Ron Howard, Christopher Lloyd and many others on the evolution of men on the small screen's various roles they have now.

The Misfit covers the quirky characters that range from oddball to the insane. They interview people like John Astin, who played Gomez Addams on the Addams Family, to Jason Alexander, who played George Constanza on Seinfeld. The topics range from the nerdy characterizations to the horrendous bosses.

The Crusader looks into the evolving role of the hero character. They talk with people such as Chris Carter, creator of X-Files, Alan Alda, Hawkeye on MASH, and James Manos Jr, writer on the series Dexter. The shows show the manner in which new heroes are not always the white hats.

Sunday 8:00 PM et/pt on PBS
1 Season, 4 Episodes
October 30, 2011
Cast: Diablo Cody, David Chase, Judd Apatow, Alan Yentob
Watch Episodes

AMERICA In Primetime Full Episode Guide

  • Television heroes who seek justice in their own way.

  • The Misfit showcases the characters who reflect the diverse personalities in America.

  • Man of the House showcases the evolution of men in primetime television.

  • The evolving portrayal of women opens this look at TV's main character archetypes.

Review AMERICA In Primetime