*“Finding Your Roots” has survived its Ben Affleck scandal.
The Henry Louis Gates Jr.-hosted genealogy series, which benched itself after an episode omitted references to Affleck’s slave holding ancestors at the actor’s request, will return to public television for its third season in January, report the AP.
The show has hired a new fact-checker and two new genealogists as part of its reforms, said the network’s Beth Hoppe on Monday. PBS had shelved the series after determining its producers violated standards by allowing Affleck undue influence on its content and failing to inform the network of his request.
“It has become a more transparent process and a more rigorous process,” Hoppe said, “but essentially at its core these are personal stories about people who are finding out about their histories. That hasn’t changed.”
“Finding Your Roots,” which is hosted and written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., returns on Jan. 5. Julianne Moore, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Sen. John McCain and television producers Norman Lear and Shonda Rhimes are among the 28 new celebrities whose backgrounds are traced.
Given the sensitivity of the Affleck case, the series makes certain to mention if its experts find slaveholding backgrounds for any of the celebrities featured this season, even if that isn’t a central part of the story being told, Hoppe said. That’s the case with several people in the new season, but PBS would not reveal which ones.
Hoppe said Gates has done everything PBS has asked to ensure the show has no further problems.