Ahead of the July 10 premiere of the genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, executive producer Lisa Kudrow explains the show’s appeal.
As Who Do You Think You Are? returns to NBC for season 11, Executive Producer Lisa Kudrow shared why the series is so “fascinating.” On the popular and moving show, celebrities trace their family trees with the help of historians, genealogists, and other experts, in an attempt to understand the stories of their ancestors. The Who Do You Think You Are? celebs visit locations all over the United States and the world in order to make new discoveries about their genealogy. A few celebrities have even met relatives that they never knew they had. The celebrities’ journeys help to shed light on historical events, giving them a more personal feeling as viewers get to know the stories of those who came before them.
Who Do You Think You Are? is an Emmy-nominated series that is modeled after the British television series of the same name which airs on the BBC. The American version premiered on March 5, 2010 on NBC, where it aired for three seasons. It then moved to TLC for seven seasons, but will return to NBC for season 11. Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky will once again be the executive producers of the show. Who Do You Think You Are? season 11 will feature the stories of Billy Porter, Allison Janney, Zachary Levi, Nick Offerman, Zachary Quinto, and Bradley Whitford, as they research their family histories.
In an interview with Extra, Lisa explained why Who Do You Think You Are? is so appealing to people, stating, that it presents “history, but it’s fascinating because it’s personal stories.” Lisa, who is best known for her role as Phoebe Buffay on the classic sitcom Friends, also said that everyone should research their own genealogy, stating, “I think everyone should do it, absolutely. It’s fun and it’s emotional and also just gives you so much insight.”
Lisa researched her own family history during Who Do You Think You Are? season 1. She explained, “I knew my great-grandmother was killed during the Holocaust in Belarus… so I learned the details.” During the episode, Lisa began her quest for answers at her parents’ home in Los Angeles, California, where she discussed her great-grandmother’s story with her father. She then traveled to Belarus, where she found out that her great-grandmother was listed among the victims of the Ilya massacre during World War II. She later met up with her father’s distant cousin in Poland, a man whom her father had met over sixty years ago and whom he thought had passed away. This powerful and emotional episode brought a personal side to the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust.
As Who Do You Think You Are? returns for season 11, it is sure to present even more compelling stories. Lisa is correct in her assertion that the show combines personal stories with history in order to tell fascinating tales. As people look for more insights into their own lives, they should look to the past in order to answer the question, Who Do You Think You Are?.
Who Do You Think You Are? season 11 premieres on Sunday, July 10 at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.
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