RTÉ original series to be remade for US audiences – The Genealogy Roadshow to premier on PBS

May 2013

GENEALOGY ROADSHOW is the format which offers ordinary people the opportunity to find their place in history. A team of experts dig deep into records to verify claims and solve family secrets in a series that is part historical detective and part emotional journey. Located each week in an historic building in an iconic location, the team meets hundreds of people from all backgrounds with claims of links to both celebrated and notorious ancestors. The experts uncover family secrets as they directly link the nation's history to the people populating it today.

The format first aired on RTÉ in summer 2011 and gained impressive ratings which constantly outperformed its slot average. The show has since gone on to be re-commissioned with the second season currently in production.

The PBS deal was brokered by Big Mountain’s US agent, Pat Quinn and is the first international license for the format with several others in negotiation in several territories around the world.

The US version is due to air in September of this year and will combine history and science to uncover the fascinating stories of diverse Americans. Each individual’s past will link to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America.

RTÉ’s Ray McCarthy, Commissioning Editor Regional Programming said: ‘RTÉ’s strategy to support and facilitate Irish companies to develop and export ideas that have international potential makes us particularly proud to have developed this format with Big Mountain.It effectively blends historical detective stories with real emotional reaction from the participants,and has really struck a chord with our audience and we are confident will also do so in the US.’

Big Mountain Executive Producer Philip McGovern explained the show’s appeal, “It just hit a nerve. Everybody wants answers to questions about their own histories to help make sense of their lives today. We’ve had a lot of interest in the format internationally and are delighted PBS has picked it up.”

Jane Kelly, the show’s creator set out where Genealogy Roadshow sits in the company strategy, ‘Our company focus is very clearly set on developing shows that have universal values, have genuine transformational journeys at their core that connect with audiences anywhere. We’re delighted to be the first to break into the US with an Irish format”.

GENEALOGY ROADSHOWis to be produced in the US by Krasnow Productions and the premiere season will feature participants from four American cities —Nashville, Austin, Detroit and San Francisco — who want to explore unverified genealogical claims, passed down through family history, that may (or may not) connect them to an event or a historical figure. These cities were chosen as American crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, with deep pools of potential participants and stories.