Days before the inauguration of the 45th American president in January 2017, PBS’ FRONTLINE documentary series will premiere “Divided States of America,” a four-hour, two-night documentary miniseries that looks back at events during the Obama presidency that have revealed deep racial divisions in the USA, and examines the America the next president will inherit. Promising an in-depth view of the partisanship that gridlocked Washington and charged the 2016 presidential campaign, the rise of populist anger on both sides of the aisle and the racial tensions that have erupted throughout the country, “Divided States of America” is set to air starting tonight, Tuesday, and Wednesday, January 17-18, 9-11pm EST on both nights (check local listings).
Drawing on extensive new interviews with White House and Congressional insiders from both parties, as well as FRONTLINE’s vast body of reporting on the Obama era, “Divided States of America” will dig into the causes of America’s intense polarization and questions how the next president and Congress can govern in an era of complex challenges. This television event, led by veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team, will tell a revealing story that’s not just about Barack Obama’s presidency, but about America itself.
“When America elected its first black president eight years ago, many thought we were entering a new and hopeful era,” says Kirk. “But now, from race to guns to the economy, we’re living in a deeply polarized moment — in American politics and American life. This film explores why we’ve reached this point, how Washington has reacted to the upheaval that is fast defining our times and what it means as we look to the tenure of the next president.”
“As Obama’s presidency ends and a new one begins, this is the time to take a deep look at where we stand – and why,” says FRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “Thoughtful, rigorous and time-intensive reporting provides a comprehensive yet nuanced exploration of a significant moment in American history.”
“Every day, millions of Americans turn to PBS as a trusted source of news and public affairs programming with diverse perspectives and thought-provoking content that’s timely and relevant to the concerns of our viewers,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “FRONTLINE’s ‘Divided States of America’ examines the many issues faced during the Obama presidency, just as the new president-elect prepares to be sworn into office. With FRONTLINE’s signature in-depth reporting, this special will provide viewers a new viewpoint on both where we’ve been and where we’re headed as a country.”
“Divided States of America” premieres tonight, Tues. Jan. 17, continuing on Wed. Jan. 18, airing from 9-11 p.m. EST / 8-10 p.m. CST on both nights, on PBS and online.
The network has released a trailer for the 2-part documentary which is embedded below: