Across the country, in every community, unsung heroes are quietly working to improve the lives of others. Their inspiring efforts often receive little fanfare — until now. AMERICAN ANTHEMS, a new six-episode series from PBS, NBCUniversal Syndication Studios and Believe Entertainment Group, celebrates these everyday heroes with surprise songs from today’s biggest country music stars, including Jennifer Nettles, Lee Brice, The War and Treaty, Lindsay Ell, Cam and Ruston Kelly. AMERICAN ANTHEMS premieres on Friday, June 24, from 10:00-10:30 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video app.
Each episode of AMERICAN ANTHEMS will follow a different featured country star as they meet a local hero and learn about the transformative experience that inspired their commitment to making a positive change in their community. Then, working with a celebrated songwriter — including Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, collaborators Billy Montana and Adam Wood, and Bill Sherman — the country star will secretly turn the hero’s story of kindness, hard work and perseverance into an epic original song. At the end of the episode, the hero will be surprised with a once-in-a-lifetime performance of the powerful anthem by the artist while surrounded by family and friends.
“AMERICAN ANTHEMS is an amazing show that truly captures how simple acts of kindness result in larger-than-life outcomes,” said Academy of Country Music Award winner Lee Brice. “A good country song is like a good deed — they are simple, heartfelt stories with long-lasting impact.”
Among the six heroes honored on AMERICAN ANTHEMS are a father who started a nonprofit to help families of cancer patients while undergoing cancer treatment himself and a former police officer who founded an organization that supports survivors of sexual abuse after struggling to recover from her own attack. Viewers will also meet a service-oriented young woman whose nonprofit provides free laundry days in low-income areas; an enterprising public school board member who has made it her mission to collect books featuring Black characters for children who otherwise would not have access to diverse stories; a military veteran working to save retired police and military K-9s; and a creative performing arts director who teaches theater to intellectually disabled adults.
“There are heroes all around us, and we’re so appreciative to be part of honoring some of our nation’s most overlooked and forgotten — especially the ones on all fours,” said Americana duo The War and Treaty’s Michael Trotter Jr. A veteran himself, Trotter and wife Tanya write and perform an original song for Jason Johnson, a decorated military veteran and the founder of Project K9 Hero.
Directed by two-time Country Music Association Award winner Wes Edwards, AMERICAN ANTHEMS is a co-production of NBCUniversal Syndication Studios and Believe Entertainment Group. Dan Goodman is the executive in charge for Believe Entertainment Group. Brenda Brkusic Milinkovic is the executive in charge for NBCUniversal Syndication Studios. Bill Gardner is the executive in charge for PBS. Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning composer Bill Sherman serves as executive music producer for the series. AMERICAN ANTHEMS was made possible by Chick-fil-A and Heroes Vacation Club, a service of Travel + Leisure Co.