Ken Burns Totally Watches ‘Boardwalk Empire’

The PBS documentarian, whose upcoming “Prohibition” touches on many of the same topics, hasn't missed an episode

Ken Burns began working on his upcoming PBS documentary "Prohibition" years ago — long before, as he puts it, "Boardwalk Empire" was "a gleam in the eye" of its creator, Terence Winter. Still, Burns doesn't think the HBO drama has stolen his thunder. 

"Quite the contrary, I really enjoy watching it," he told reporters at an alcohol-infused panel discussion about "Prohibition" at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Sunday night. "Americans always love to watch people who get to kill the people who piss them off and women who take their clothes off at the drop of a hat."

The three-part documentary, which Burns put together with longtime collaborator Lynn Novick (with an assist from Daniel Okrent and his new book, "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition"), will debut Sunday, October 2, at 8 p.m. Interestingly, part of the premiere installment will go toe-to-toe that night with the second episode of the new season of "Boardwalk Empire."

When asked whether he was a teetotaler or a boozer, Burns joked, "I had my first drink of the year today. I usually don’t drink because I have so much work but I thought, just to make you all happy, I’d have one here."