Premieres Tuesday, May 22 at 8 PM ET With Two-Hour Event on PBS
Key authors, celebrities and notable figures in the entertainment, sports, news and literary worlds who will lend their voices and passion to THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, including Margaret Atwood, Lesley Stahl, Devon Kennard and many others who, throughout the series, share their personal stories and connections to their favorite titles. THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, a new eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign created in partnership with the production company Nutopia, explores the power of books and the joy of reading through the lens of America’s 100 best-loved novels, as voted on by the public. Kerger revealed that PBS will also partner with top literary organizations and its nearly 350 member stations nationwide to extend the reach of THE GREAT AMERICAN READ to every community.
THE GREAT AMERICAN READ launches with a two-hour special event on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 8 p.m. on PBS stations (check local listings). Over the course of 15 weeks in the summer, viewers can read and vote on favorite works of fiction; the series then returns in the fall with additional episodes exploring the nominated books through themes including “Heroes,” “Villains & Monsters,” “Who Am I?,” “What We Do for Love,” “Other Worlds,” and will conclude with an exciting finale and countdown to “America’s Best-Loved Book.” The full list of 100 titles, chosen from a demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov, will be made available to the public prior to the launch episode in May.
THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is supported by an extensive multi-platform digital and social media campaign designed to inspire Americans to read, vote and share their personal connections to titles on the top 100 list and beyond over the course of the summer. Additionally, working with member stations and partners, PBS will develop resources and materials to extend the campaign and encourage summer reading activities.
Kicking off with a two-hour launch event, THE GREAT AMERICAN READ will journey across America to uncover illuminating details and new reflections, sometimes from unlikely sources, about some of the titles on the top 100 book list, revealing the story behind the story from multiple perspectives. To spark conversation about the books that have inspired, moved and shaped us, both individually and as a society, viewers will hear from a variety of sources about what the novels on the top 100 list can tell us about our diverse nation, our shared values, our cultural identities and the common themes that tie us together.
Over the course of the summer, THE GREAT AMERICAN READ will roll out an unprecedented campaign across PBS digital and social platforms, inviting viewers to share the works of fiction that have touched them most and to disclose their personal connections to the stories they love. After the premiere episode of the series, the audience will have an opportunity to dive deep and engage with PBS and fellow viewers in various ways:
Voting will open with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode and continue throughout the summer, leading up to the Grand Finale in October 2018. Over the summer, viewers will be able to vote at pbs.org/greatamericanread and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Instagram using #GreatReadPBS. In the fall, viewers will also be able to cast their votes toll-free and by utilizing SMS voting.
An interactive website with detailed show information, links to local events, episode descriptions, interactive video content, social share features and much more will be available.
Photographs, short-form videos, animated graphics, live streams and behind-the-scenes footage will fuel social media integration of THE GREAT AMERICAN READ to encourage reading, conversation and voting.