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PBS Announces “16 FOR ’16”

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At the Television Critics Association Press Tour today, PBS announced the production of 16 FOR ’16 (w.t.), a multi-part documentary that spotlights unforgettable presidential and vice-presidential candidates whose dramatic campaigns may or may not have been successful, but earned a place in the history books nonetheless. Produced by OZY Media, a digital magazine that focuses on well-curated news, arts and culture stories, 16 FOR ’16 (w.t.) will be presented in 16 30-minute weekly episodes leading up to the U.S. presidential election this November.

Among the subjects is Gary Hart, who ultimately lost his campaign despite a 50-point lead in the polls, after a team of newspaper reporters put him under covert surveillance to try to confirm rumors of personal indiscretions. One of Hart’s opponents in 1984 and 1988, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, not only broke racial barriers, but also helped change the rules of the electoral college, directly benefiting President Barack Obama 30 years later. Candidates across the political spectrum are featured, including Howard Dean, Elizabeth Dole, Michael Dukakis, Geraldine Ferraro, Mitt Romney, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Ralph Nader, Sarah Palin and Ross Perot.

16 FOR ’16 (w.t.) is part of “PBS Election 2016,” a year-long, multiplatform initiative that brings together PBS news, public affairs, documentary and digital programming to create the country’s most complete coverage of the 2016 election cycle. Acclaimed series PBS NEWSHOUR, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND, FRONTLINE, WASHINGTON WEEK, CHARLIE ROSE, TAVIS SMILEY and AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS, in addition to partnerships with NPR and American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” will cover breaking elections news, provide context to current and historical political issues, explore behind-the-scenes stories of candidates and the election process, as well as a broader look at the foundations of American government.

“Every four years, we are introduced to a group of individuals with their own aspirations to leave a mark on the history of our country,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “16 FOR 16 (w.t.) revisits the most compelling stories from previous elections to demonstrate how every U.S. presidential election is a reflection, and an inflection, of those that came before it.”

“As a lifelong political junkie, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to study these fascinating men and women who dare to say they have what it takes to be the leader of the free world. We hope people will walk away from this series feeling invigorated and engaged as we gear up for the 2016 election,” said Carlos Watson, the host of the series and founder of