When THE CIVIL WAR was originally broadcast in September 1990 it attracted an audience of 38.9 million people — a ratings record for PBS that still stands today. What does Burns think of the overwhelming viewer response? “The centrality of the Civil War in our lives and in the meaning of who we are as Americans — we were able to touch a chord,” says Burns. “And the response is based on that.”
Critics also hailed the series. The New York Times called it a masterpiece and said that Ken Burns “takes his place as the most accomplished documentary filmmaker of his generation.” The Washington Post said: “This is not just good television, nor even just great television. This is heroic television.” The columnist George Will added: “If better use has ever been made of television, I have not seen it and do not expect to see better until Ken Burns turns his prodigious talents to his next project.”
THE CIVIL WAR has been honored with more than 40 major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, Producer of the Year Award from the Producers Guild, the People’s Choice Award, Peabody Award, the duPont-Columbia Award, the D.W. Griffith Award and the Lincoln Prize, among dozens of others.
This September, PBS will present THE CIVIL WAR in its entirety in a newly restored, high-definition version.
PBS special programming invites viewers to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. Viewer contributions are an important source of funding, making PBS programs possible. PBS and public television stations offer all Americans from every walk of life the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content.
The remastered version of The Civil War airs weekdays at 9pm Monday, September 7th-Friday, September 11th.