Eight-Episode Series Explores American History Through Iconic National Symbols Across the Country, Including Fenway Park, the Hollywood Sign, the Gadsden Flag, and the American Cowboy
PREMIERES WEDNESDAYS BEGINNING APRIL 26 AT 10 P.M. ET ON PBS
Pasadena, CA — January 16, 2023 — WETA President and Chief Executive Officer Sharon Percy Rockefeller announced today that the new eight-episode documentary series ICONIC AMERICA: OUR SYMBOLS AND STORIES WITH DAVID RUBENSTEIN will premiere Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at 10:00 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and PBS.org and the PBS app.
In ICONIC AMERICA, David M. Rubenstein – co-founder of The Carlyle Group, patriotic philanthropist, lifelong student of history, and the series’ host and executive producer – explores American history through a close examination of iconic national symbols: indelible artifacts, places, and archetypes. Rubenstein is on location and in conversation with historical thinkers, community members, and subject matter experts. Together, they dive deeply into each symbol’s history and how its meaning has changed over time, using these symbols as a gateway to understanding America’s past and present. Emmy-Award-winning production company Show of Force is also an executive producer.
The subjects of the series’ eight episodes are Fenway Park, the Hollywood Sign, the Gadsden Flag, the American Cowboy, the Statue of Liberty, the American Bald Eagle, Stone Mountain, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Shot on location across the country, Rubenstein invites historical experts and community members to examine myriad ways Americans engage with these subjects. The series spotlights how these icons were created and how the perception of them formed and changed. These manifestations of our cultural history are sometimes highly contested as different groups invest them with distinct meanings. The symbols that endure speak to what a society values and how people see themselves ─ and they help us to contextualize a nation’s shared past in the present moment.
Rubenstein’s quest for a deeper understanding of these symbols takes him on a journey to an array of regions and communities, from Boston to San Francisco and New York to Oklahoma City. He conducts interviews with historians and history makers from the worlds of sports, politics, entertainment, and academia, including David “Big Papi” Ortiz (former Red Sox player) and Lake Iolani Stevens (Women’s Ranch Bronc Champion); Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Sylvester Stallone (actor, screenwriter, and filmmaker) and Melissa Rivers (writer, host, and producer); Hasan Kwame Jeffries (associate professor of history at The Ohio State University) and Michael Boulware Moore (chief executive officer of the International African American Museum).
Descriptions and premiere dates for each of the eight episodes are provided below: