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Finding Your Roots will return to PBS, no thanks to Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck, hiding his roots on Finding Your Roots

Finding Your Roots, a show that helps celebrities learn things about themselves they wouldn’t otherwise see on TMZ, came under fire this year for taking a little artistic license with one of its genealogy stories. It seems Ben Affleck, friend of Matt Damon and frenemy to Superman, asked the show’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., to omit the information discovered about his slave-owning ancestor. Gates complied and the episode aired, but their subterfuge was made known by the Sony email hack. The host tried to shrug it off as an editorial decision, but then a 2014 message from Gates was leaked, in which he wondered if the information should be omitted due to Affleck’s “megastardom.”

PBS held off on production of the third season while it tried to figure out how to prevent any future participants from wielding undue influence over the show’s content. Well, according to Variety, the public broadcaster recently found a way to live with its Affleck-related infamy (like so many of us), and has announced that Finding Your Roots will be part of its 2016 schedule. Chief programming executive Beth Hoppe told the publication she is “confident there won’t be any problem” after PBS and Gates’ team found a way to “[open] up the process to make it much more of a dialogue.” The show will now involve “new levels of fact-checking” and an independent genealogist.


Finding Your Roots returns on January 5, and will see Julianne Moore, Shonda Rhimes, Neil Patrick Harris, Julianna Margulies, and others shaking their family trees and accepting whatever happens to fall out.

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