WDYTYA Returns for a Second Season

WDYTYA Returns for a Second Season

Catch a glimpse of the family histories NBC brought to America's living rooms in this second-season scrapbook.

The second season of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” kept family history buffs (including us) glued to their TVs on Friday evenings this spring. The show followed Vanessa Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie and Ashley Judd as they added branches to their family trees. 
Among the stories explored on season 2: Actress and singer Williams discovered several pioneering African-Americans in her past, including one of Tennessee’s first black state senators. 
Country music star McGraw explored his eighth-great-grandfather Jost Hite’s homestead in the Shenandoah Valley, where George Washington once spent the night. 
The search for O’Donnell’s Irish ancestors took an emotional turn when she visited a workhouse similar to the one her impoverished Murtaugh kin lived in during the potato famine. 
“Sex and the City” star Cattrall solved the 70-year-old mystery of her missing grandfather when she traveled to Liverpool, England. 
Musician Richie learned his ancestor helped propel the modern civil rights movement. “WDYTYA?” also explored the stories of a slave liberator, a colonist, a miracle baby and a Civil War prisoner, to name a few. No wonder we just can’t get enough.

“WDYTYA?” by the Numbers

  • 7.4 million viewers of the season 2 premiere starring Vanessa Williams
  • 8 celebrities featured in season 2
  • 23 number of times Vanessa Williams said “wow” during her episode
  • 1 connection to Elvis Presley through Tim McGraw’s eighth-great-grandfather Jost Hite
  • 2004 the year “WDYTYA?” premiered in the United Kingdom
  • 2010 the year “WDYTYA?” was adapted for American audiences
  • 9 countries that have a version of the show, including Norway, Australia and South Africa
  • 1,318 posts on our Facebook page about “WDYTYA?”
  • 3 episodes aired before NBC green-lighted a third season


From the July 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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