TV News

Meryl Streep to Help PBS Celebrate its Golden Anniversary

Meryl Streep will narrate The ‘70s: Bold and Fearless, a new documentary paying homage to the PBS programming of the psychedelic ‘70s.

Sesame Street's Meryl Sheep side by side by Meryl Streep at the Delacorte Theater
Sesame Street’s Meryl Sheep side by side by Meryl Streep at the Delacorte Theater
© Tristan Fuge

After coming off her 27th Golden Globe nomination earlier this month, Meryl Streep is returning to public television where it all began. Airing on January 31 at 9pm, she will be narrating The ‘70s: Bold and Fearless, the second of PBS’s four-part Pioneers of Thirteen documentary series that goes decade by decade to celebrate the station’s 50 years of programming.

Ms. Streep was an up-and-coming actress when she played Leila in PBS’s 1977 production of Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women and Others. Clips of this performance will be included in the documentary, in addition to clips from several other productions whose all-star casts include Tony Award winners Blythe Danner (Nice Work If You Can Get It), James Earl Jones (Driving Miss Daisy), and Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), to name a few. We will also get to see Broadway dame Elaine Stritch be the first to ask, “Does anyone still wear a hat?” in the original 1970 production of Company.

But in case you were wondering–this public television edition of “We Love The ‘70s” has much more than Broadway stars to offer. This 90-minute documentary plans to cram in an amalgamation of journalism almost as trippy as the ‘70s itself. There will be footage of everything from the Watergate hearings to the satirical variety show, The Great American Dream Machine (featuring comedians like Chevy Chase and Albert Brooks), to An American Family, the documentary series that inspired MTV’s The Real World (I think we all owe PBS a big thank you for that one). We also are looking forward to hearing the Academy Award-winning voice of Meryl Streep narrate the history of public television’s first bilingual Latino program, Realidades, hopefully in an authentic Spanish accent.

All in all, this documentary promises to give us plenty—and I mean plenty—of reasons to love PBS (as if we weren’t already sold by Big Bird or Downton Abbey). Take a look here as James Earl Jones explains why nothing cheers him up like a good PBS nature show. Spoiler alert: it involves a bear.