What's new? What's hot? What's next? TLC's celebrity genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? doesn't give a hoot about the zeitgeist — certainly not when the past is so damn dramatic! Executive producer Lisa Kudrow gives the scoop on the new season (premiering Wednesday at 9/8c), kicking off tonight with a former Sex and the City star making a horrifying discovery.
TV Guide Magazine: You guys help Cynthia Nixon research her great-great-great grandmother, who, it turns out, was a victim of domestic violence. To save herself, she killed her husband with an ax between the eyes. Who needs fiction?
Lisa Kudrow: Real life is much more riveting and powerful. We were bug-eyed by that story! And you know what's even crazier? Our other stars this season are Valerie Bertinelli, Rachel McAdams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Kelsey Grammer, and they all had a murderer in the family, except Kelsey. What are the chances?
TV Guide Magazine: Genealogy has exploded in popularity, thanks to the Internet. Is it getting easier for the show to track down info?
Kudrow: In some ways it's harder because archives are closing down due to lack of funding. And we're always limited by time. But this season we uncover documents that are record-breaking for the genealogy community. Our team is thrilled!
TV Guide Magazine: Do stars ever back out because this show is just too personal?
Kudrow: Absolutely, and we respect that. Sometimes they'll talk to their family and the family says, "Nope. Not for us." You gotta be ready for whatever unfolds, and things were so much tougher and shocking back then.
TV Guide Magazine: Isn't that one of the big messages of your show — that we should be grateful for how easy we have it now?
Kudrow: This is a nation of survivors, people who have dealt with unbelievable tragedy and famine and danger and hardship. Then there's all the stuff that irritates us today and makes us freak out and fall apart. No comparison.