Family Shows
9/1/2008
Genealogy goes prime time in a new celebrity-roots reality series.
 
Ever since Ozzie met Harriet, television has been about families — played by celebrities, of course. But this fall, television's theory of relativity takes a whole new spin on NBC's “Who Do You Think You Are?”

This genealogy-based reality series, produced by former “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow and her Is or Isn't Entertainment production company, will detail the real family pasts of TV and film celebrities. NBC's order for the series was contingent upon producers' finding compelling celebs (unnamed at press time).

America's first commercial network foray into genealogy boasts a pedigree of its own: It's the offspring of the hugely successful BBC version <www.bbc.co.uk/familyhistory>, whose fourth-season premiere attracted 6.8 million viewers. Since 2004, Brits have stayed glued to their tellies as personalities including Nigella Lawson and Jeremy Irons discovered their ancestral kin. In the process, the audience witnessed illuminating backstories ranging from wartime heroism to tabloid-worthy scandals.