Arizona PBS presents encore broadcasts of American Experience: ‘The Presidents’

Peabody Award-winning series 'The Presidents' airs on Arizona PBS

Peabody Award-winning series 'The Presidents' airs on Arizona PBS, beginning Aug. 8.

As the upcoming presidential election heats up, Arizona PBS will air encore broadcasts of six American Experience biographies from the Peabody Award-winning collection “The Presidents.”

The special #Election2016 series begins Monday, Aug. 8, with a two-night special on JFK, and concludes Thursday, Aug. 18, with a profile of George H. W. Bush.

“With the presidential election on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to highlight some of our past presidents whose leadership was important in forming the society we live in today,” said Nancy Southgate, associate general manager of content at Arizona PBS. “Our goal is to offer our viewers deeper insights into the significant contributions these leaders made to our country, the challenges they faced and how their responses to those challenges shaped history.”

The six films feature insight and commentary from America’s leading presidential historians, including Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert Dallek, Robert Caro, Tim Naftali and Douglas Brinkley, and interviews with world leaders, family members, and political insiders from Nancy Reagan to Colin Powell, Mikhail Gorbachev and Barbara Bush.

“These films offer a chance for Americans to explore the lives of the leaders who shaped our country and see how each dealt with many of the same issues we face today — war, poverty, healthcare, immigration and education,” said Mark Samels, American Experience executive producer. “Each was shaped by the times in which they governed, as well as by their personalities and character. As we choose our next leader, these films provide an invaluable look back at the qualities that make an effective president and shape a legacy.”

The complete schedule for “The Presidents” is below:

“JFK” - Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 8-9, at 8 p.m.

Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin’s bullet, John F. Kennedy’s presidency has often defied objective appraisal. This portrait offers a fresh assessment of the man, his accomplishments and his unfulfilled promise. “JFK” features interviews with Kennedy family members and historians including Robert Dallek, Robert Caro, Tim Naftali and Evan Thomas.

“LBJ” - Wednesday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m.

Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the most astute, effective and perplexing politicians in modern American history. An “accidental” president but a master legislator, LBJ put into motion many of the programs that would continue to shape American life throughout the 1960s and 70s. A larger-than-life figure in his day, LBJ is appreciated for his vast domestic accomplishments, but his presidency continues to be overshadowed by his failure to end the war in Vietnam. 

“Nixon” - Sunday, Aug. 14, at 1 p.m.

Winner of a Writers Guild Award and the first American Experience presidential biography produced, “Nixon” explores the fateful combination of strengths and weaknesses that propelled Richard Nixon to the presidency and then brought him down. His legacy includes both ending America’s involvement in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Forced to resign, his administration did much to erode Americans’ faith in their government.

“Jimmy Carter” - Monday, Aug. 15, at 8 p.m.

Jimmy Carter’s story is one of the greatest dramas in American politics. Overwhelmingly voted out of office in a humiliating defeat in 1980, over the following decades he became one of the most admired statesmen and humanitarians in America and the world. Jimmy Carter traces his rapid ascent in politics, dramatic fall from grace and unexpected resurrection.

“Reagan” - Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 16-17, at 8 p.m.

The life of the actor, governor and president who saw America as “a shining city on a hill” is recalled by those who knew him best: wife Nancy Reagan and three of his children. Also interviewed are those in his inner political circle as well as his counterparts on the world stage, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who negotiated historic arms agreements with Reagan.

“George H. W. Bush” - Sunday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m.

With unparalleled access to figures in Bush’s private and public life, “George H. W. Bush” explores the life of a man who became a pivotal player during a critical moment in American and world history. Bush’s personal letters and comments from his closest advisors and prominent critics inform the film, which features interviews with First Lady Barbara Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, James Baker and more.

This program series is part of Arizona PBS’s #Election2016 initiative, which includes a host of online educational and voter resources at, as well as local and national election-related programming, and televised candidate debates.

American Experience recently launched The Presidents, an all-new digital portal showcasing more than 750 assets from the Peabody Award-winning collection of films about our nation’s most important leaders. The portal allows viewers to screen full-length films, delve deeper with experts and living witnesses, and examine more than 200 primary source documents. Video galleries on The Presidents site explore how different presidents faced issues including the economy, war, dealing with a crisis and abuses of power.