American Experience
GenreTelevision documentary
Created byPeter McGhee
Theme music composer
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish (US)
No. of seasons33
No. of episodes358 (list of episodes)
Executive producersJudy Crichton
Margaret Drain
Mark Samels
Cameo George
(2020–present) [1]
Running timeapprox. 55 minutes or about two hours
Production companyWGBH-TV
Original networkPBS[2]
Original releaseOctober 4, 1988 (1988-10-04) –
External links

American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards,[3] about important or interesting events and people in American history.

The series premiered on October 4, 1988 and was originally titled The American Experience, but the article "The" was dropped during a later rebrand and image update. The show has had a presence on the Internet since 1995, and more than 100 American Experience programs are accompanied by their own internet websites, which have more background information on the subjects covered as well as teachers' guides and educational companion materials.[4] The show is produced primarily by WGBH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts, though occasionally in the early seasons of the show, it was co-produced by other PBS stations such as WNET (Channel 13) in New York City.

Some programs now considered part of the American Experience collection were produced prior to the creation of the series. Vietnam: A Television History was one of them, airing originally in 1983 after taking six years to assemble.[5] Also, in 2006, American Experience rebroadcast Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, the first half of the award-winning 1986 documentary series about the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s.


Main article: List of American Experience episodes

Critical reception

American Experience has received generally positive reviews from television critics and parents of young children. Glenn McNatt of The Baltimore Sun wrote that it is "TV's finest history series ever."[6]

Home media

A DVD boxset collecting episodes about United States presidents was released on August 26, 2008.[7] The collection was updated to include the documentary on Bill Clinton's presidency on August 28, 2012.[8]

A DVD boxset for the five-part documentary We Shall Remain was released on May 12, 2009.[9]


Main article: List of awards and nominations received by American Experience


  1. ^ "Cameo George Named Executive Producer of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, WGBH's Acclaimed History Series on PBS". WGBH. July 23, 2020. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Broadcast Schedule . American Experience . WGBH". PBS. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  3. ^ "About the Series . American Experience . WGBH". PBS. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  4. ^ "American Experience | Who We Are". Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  5. ^ "American Experience | Vietnam Online | About the TV Series". PBS. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  6. ^ MCNATT, GLENN (January 13, 2008). "BEST OF THIS WEEK". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "American Experience: The Presidents Collection"., Inc. 26 August 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "American Experience: The Presidents"., Inc. 28 August 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  9. ^ "We Shall Remain: America Through Native Eyes"., Inc. 12 May 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2020.