"American Family" Returns to PBS This Fall

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Founding Sponsor Johnson and Johnson Returns
for a Second Season
American Legacy Foundation Joins as Show Sponsor
on PBS for First Time

Award-Winning Director Gregory Nava Continues Gonzalez Family Saga with Compelling Storylines Spanning the Mexican Revolution to the War in Iraq
Premiering April 2004 on PBS

(Press Tour, Hollywood, CA; July 12, 2003) PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell announced today the production of 13 new episodes of the critically acclaimed drama series AMERICAN FAMILY, directed by Gregory Nava, which broke new ground as the first Latino drama on broadcast television when it debuted on PBS in January 2002. The return of the series represents major commitments from original corporate sponsor Johnson and Johnson and The American Legacy Foundation, a first-time sponsor of a PBS series. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) also provided major funding for the project along with PBS.

"AMERICAN FAMILY represents the largest, original, continuing character drama initiative in the history of PBS," said Ms. Mitchell. "PBS is dedicated to being the most diverse network on American television and we are committed to this series' success because it brings so much to our audiences. Thanks to Johnson and Johnson, The American Legacy Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this unique and engaging drama will come to PBS for a second season, and we will be able to continue our commitment to making our programming as diverse as our audiences."

"In every home in America, there is an epic story," said Gregory Nava, creator and executive producer. "It is the story of the struggles and hardships that people have endured over the generations in order to come to this country and achieve their dream of a better life. It is the story of love and triumph, as well as sacrifice and tragedy. In the second season, AMERICAN FAMILY will delve into this story, which has deeper meaning for all Americans."

"KCET has a commitment to create programs that represent the diversity of the area we serve," said Mary Mazur, KCET executive vice president, programming and production. "AMERICAN FAMILY, which takes place in our very own community, represents a wonderful fulfillment of both our creative and cultural objectives. We are proud to be a co-producer on this project."

Viewers will have a chance to catch up with the Gonzalez family saga this fall when PBS kicks off the last nine episodes of the first season during Hispanic Heritage Month beginning September 28 at 7:00 p.m., followed by selected episodes leading up to the April 4 premiere of the second season.

Filled with the warmth and humor that characterized the first season of AMERICAN FAMILY, the second season casts the Gonzalez story against a broader canvas, capturing the epic sweep of one family's quest for the American dream. Stars returning in the 2004 season include Edward James Olmos (Jess Gonzalez); Constance Marie (Nina Gonzalez); A.J. Lamas (Cisco Gonzalez); Austin Noah Marques (Pablito Gonzalez); Kurt Caceres (Conrado Gonzalez) and Raquel Welch (Aunt Dora), as well as special guest star Esai Morales (Esteban Gonzalez) and special appearances by Sonia Braga (Berta Gonzalez).

AMERICAN FAMILY travels deep into the past of the Gonzalez family who in 1917, during the Mexican Revolution, came to the United States in search of the promise of a better life. Juxtaposed against modern-day events of 2003, the story follows eldest son Conrado, an Army doctor, on the front lines of the Iraqi War. The everyday life of the Gonzalez family plays out against these world-shaping events both past and present, intertwining the stories until they reach a fateful climax that will change the lives of the Gonzalez family forever.

"This series about a Hispanic family is both powerful and poignant for its relevance to all American families in our increasingly diverse society," said Andrea Alstrup, corporate vice president, advertising, Johnson and Johnson. "As founding sponsor of AMERICAN FAMILY, Johnson and Johnson is proud to continue to support the series as it enters its second season."

"The American Legacy Foundation is honored to co-sponsor this well-respected series on PBS and is fortunate to work with such a stellar, committed cast," said Cheryl Healton, Dr. P.H., the Foundation's president and CEO. "The Latino community - a growing segment of the U.S. population - still has limited representation on television. Our Foundation is dedicated to joining hands with Latinos to improve their health and well-being. Showcasing the influence of multi-generational families on Latino culture, as this program does, harnesses the power of real families to solve health and social problems."

Tying into key themes addressed in the series, PBS, its sponsorship partners and member stations will initiate extensive educational outreach efforts emphasizing the importance of health and wellness in Hispanic communities around the country, as well as partner with Latino organizations and events, beginning this September. PBS will also offer a rich companion Web site at www.pbs.org/americanfamily.

Robert T. Coonrod, president and CEO, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting added, "The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has a mandate to serve un-served and under-served audiences. AMERICAN FAMILY helps us reach families and individuals, not only through the program, but through local community outreach events where they learn more about Latino culture and explore their own family roots. The second season will provide even more opportunities for outreach and education."

AMERICAN FAMILY is produced by El Norte Productions and KCET/Hollywood in association with Fox Television Studios and The Greenblatt Janollari Studio. Creator and executive producer: Gregory Nava. Executive producers: Robert Greenblatt, David Janollari and Barbara Martinez-Jitner. KCET executive-in-charge: Mary Mazur. KCET series production executive: Joyce Campbell.

Founded in 1964, KCET is the West Coast flagship station of the Public Broadcasting Service. Its distinguished history of dramatic national productions includes HOLLYWOOD TELEVISION THEATRE, VISIONS, AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE and PBS HOLLYWOOD PRESENTS. As co-producer with El Norte Productions, KCET launched AMERICAN FAMILY in January 2002.

Johnson and Johnson is the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products, as well as a provider of related services, for the consumer, pharmaceutical and medical devices and diagnostics markets.

The American Legacy Foundation is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, DC, the foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use through grants, technical assistance and training, youth activism, strategic partnerships, counter-marketing and grass roots marketing campaigns, public relations, and outreach to populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco. The foundation's national programs include Circle of Friends, Great Start, a Priority Populations Initiative, Streetheory.org and truth¨. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states and the tobacco industry. Visit www.americanlegacy.org.

CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, develops educational public radio, television and online services for the American people. The Corporation is the industry's largest single source of funds for national public television and radio program development and production. CPB, a grant making organization, funds more than 1,000 public radio and television stations.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 350 public television stations. Serving over 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.


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Press Contacts:
Lea Sloan, PBS

Stephanie Aaronson, PBS