PBS, WTTW announce ‘Prehistoric Road Trip’

'Road Trip' host Emily Graslie

‘Road Trip’ host Emily Graslie

New three-part
natural history series
brings life to
extinct worlds
in the Western U.S.
summer 2020

Today at the Television Critics Association press tour, PBS and WTTW Chicago announced Prehistoric Road Trip, a three-part natural history series that combines science, culture and history and brings viewers along for an unforgettable expedition through hundreds of millions of years of history.

The adventure comes to life on PBS stations around the country in summer 2020.

Prehistoric Road Trip is hosted by Chicago Field Museum Chief Curiosity Correspondent Emily Graslie, who is also a popular YouTube personality and creator of The Brain Scoop.

“I could not be more excited to be partnering with PBS and WTTW Chicago on a project that has been a dream of mine for a really long time,” she says. “I am thrilled that I get to share my love of nature, history, paleontology and — in general — really old, really dead stuff with the PBS audience.”

In Prehistoric Road Trip, Graslie guides the audience on a fun and fascinating journey around the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming to explore 2.5 billion years of our planet’s history.

Filmed in stunning 4K resolution and enhanced by state-of-the-art drone technology and dynamic illustrations, the three-episode series examines different eras in time, focusing on the geology, ecology and environment. Along the way, it brings extinct worlds to life.

Prehistoric Road Trip represents an extraordinary opportunity for WTTW and PBS to take our inherently curious audiences on a journey of discovery,” adds Sandra Cordova Micek, President and CEO of WTTW. “At WTTW, our purpose is to enrich lives, engage communities and inspire exploration.”

To discover what the landscape may have resembled millions or even billions of years ago, Graslie examines the fossils of former plants and animals. She uncovers the history of North American dinosaurs and other fascinating prehistoric creatures, including ancient fishes, mammoths and early mammals.

“PBS is proud to partner on this engaging series, which is unlike anything we’ve presented before,” says Perry Simon, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming at PBS. “Emily is a unique talent with a dedicated YouTube fan base, and we are thrilled to emphasize the importance of science literacy and STEM education in a multiplatform new project.”

In addition to viewing the trio of episodes, audiences can experience Prehistoric Road Trip on a companion website and social channels featuring original digital content, behind-the-scenes travel journals, an interactive road trip map and more.

“The Field Museum is honored to be a part of this exciting series with Emily Graslie, which aims to make paleontology and fossil hunting accessible to a wider audience,” says Richard Lariviere, CEO and President of the Field Museum. “Every day, we find new evidence of just how interconnected our world is, and we’re thrilled to see that this will be showcased.”

Prehistoric Road Trip is a production of WTTW Chicago. Host, writer and executive producer is Emily Graslie. The director is Ally Gimbel. Geoffrey Baer and Ally Gimbel are executive producers for WTTW Chicago. Erin E. O’Flaherty will oversee the project for PBS.

Major funding for Prehistoric Road Trip is provided by The Negaunee Foundation. Major funding also comes from The Grainger Foundation, The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation, PBS and WTTW donors and members.

About WTTW
WTTW is the PBS member station in Chicago, committed to creating and presenting unique media content across distinct television and digital channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, WTTW Create/WTTW World, WTTW PBS Kids 24/7, wttw.com and the PBS/WTTW video app. Recognized for award-winning journalism and local productions such as Chicago Tonight, Chicago on Vacation, Check, Please!, digital-first series Urban Nature and Foodphiles and national productions 10 that Changed America and Nature Cat, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary and children’s public media content.

About the Field Museum
Now in its 125th year, the Field Museum is a forward-thinking scientific leader on a mission to explore, protect, and celebrate nature and culture. The Field takes part in groundbreaking research all over the world while maintaining one of the world’s largest collections of artifacts and specimens, used to inspire discovery, spark public engagement with science and uncover solutions for a better world. To share its scientific and educational mission, the Field welcomes 1.3 million visitors every year. For more information about the Field Museum, visit fieldmuseum.org, Facebook and Twitter.

About PBS
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 126 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life.

Send your program updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.