PBS’ ‘American Masters’ series to undergo changes under new executive producer Michael Kantor

By Daniel S Levine,

PBS’ American Masters will be undergoing an overhaul under new management. Michael Kantor is taking over the acclaimed biography series and hopes to take it in a different direction.

American Masters has been on air for 28 years and has included films that focus on a wide range of iconic American artists and is produced by New York’s WNET. Filmmaker Mel Brooks and author J.D. Salinger were featured in recent episodes.

Susan Lacy has overseen the series, winning 18 Emmy Awards. However, she announced in September she was leaving to pursue new opportunities at HBO.

On Wednesday, PBS named Kantor the series’ new executive producer. He recently won an Emmy for the Julie Andrews-narrated series Broadway: The American Musical and earned an Emmy nod for Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America. He has also produced WNET’s Great Performances, including the Peabody winning Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy.

In an interview with the New York Times, Kantor said that he hopes to bring Masters a more contemporary “feel and look,” stepping away from nearly doing exclusively artists who appeal to baby boomers. He said he is “keen to look at masters in the making, looking at emerging American masters.”



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