Television personality and journalist Meredith Vieira will host The Great American Read, a new eight-part television series launching on PBS stations with a two-hour special event on Tuesday, May 22, at 8:00 p.m.
The series and nationwide campaign aim to spark a national conversation about books and reading by taking viewers on a journey across the country to uncover the nation’s 100 most-loved novels, the people who love them, and their authors. As the host, Vieira will tie together the overarching themes of our national love of literature and guide viewers on a search to discover America’s best-loved book.
“It is a privilege to partner with PBS to bring The Great American Read to viewers across the country,” said Vieira. “The power of reading is extraordinary — it allows us to escape to new worlds, introduces us to a diverse range of people, opens our minds to different ideas, and allows us to keep learning no matter our age or background. The Great American Read offers a forum for readers to express what titles and stories they’re passionate about and share how novels impacted their lives. I am honored to be a part of this discussion.”
Vieira is known for co-hosting NBC News’ TODAY show and serving as moderator of ABC’s The View. The 14-time Emmy winner has also gained national recognition for appearing on The Meredith Vieira Show, 60 Minutes, CBS News, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
The Great American Read will feature authors, celebrities, and notable figures in the entertainment, sports, news and literary worlds, including Margaret Atwood, Jenna and Barbara Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Junot Díaz, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, John Green, Gayle King, George R.R. Martin, Shaquille O’Neal, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jason Reynolds, Gabrielle Union, Ming-Na Wen, and more.
Following the two-hour launch event, viewers will be encouraged to read and engage in the conversation by participating in local events, visiting the interactive website, and voting for their favorite book on the list. The series will return in September with a recap and additional themed episodes exploring the nominated books, leading up to the reveal of “America’s Best-Loved Novel” on Tuesday, October 23.
In addition, PBS KIDS will host PBS KIDS Read as part of an annual summer learning initiative for children ages two to eight and their families. PBS KIDS Read will encourage reading and related activities through a variety of resources for children and parents, including social media engagement, digital games and tools, and downloadable activities. PBS member stations across the country will host literacy and learning events in local communities throughout the summer months.
Amplifying the on-air and online series content will be a fully illustrated companion book, The Great American Read: The Book of Books, which will include information about the 100 novels, author profiles, rare images of original manuscripts, and more, plus a foreword by Vieira, to be published by Black Dog & Leventhal in August 2018.
PBS will partner with its nearly 350 local member stations in support of The Great American Read through grants designed to support active creation, distribution, and promotion of the series, as well as through the formation and strengthening of local partnerships. Funding for The Great American Read is provided by The Anne Ray Foundation and PBS.