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‘American Masters’ Creator Susan Lacy Signs Deal With HBO, Is Leaving WNET

Lacy’s doc ”Inventing David Geffen“ just won ”American Masters“ its ninth Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series

Susan Lacy, the creator and executive producer of the celebrated WNET series “American Masters,” shown on PBS nationwide, has signed a multi-year deal to produce and direct documentaries for HBO.

Since Lacy created “American Masters” in 1986, the series has produced more than 190 titles about America’s most enduring writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, filmmakers and dramatists.

Lacy’s documentary “Inventing David Geffen” just won “American Masters” its ninth Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.

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“It’s exciting to have someone as talented as Susan Lacy bring fresh ideas to HBO,” said Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films, in a statement.”I’ve long admired her film portraits, which have been consistently stellar over the years. We look forward to great things from her.”

Lacy was a longtime PBS veteran, first working on “Great Performances” and “American Playhouse.” She later served as head of the East Coast office of Robert Redford‘s Sundance Institute. She rejoined WNET in 1986 to launch “American Masters” as series creator and executive producer. I

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Its subjects have included Charlie Chaplin, Martin Scorsese, Ella Fitzgerald, Lou Reed, Thomas Eakins, Andy Warhol, Edgar Allen Poe, James Baldwin, Edward Curtis, Annie Leibovitz, George Balanchine and Bill T. Jones.

The 200th film in the series, Shane Salerno‘s biography of J.D. Salinger, is now in theaters and will air in 2014.

“It has been my honor to be part of the PBS and WNET family for so many years, and to have had the opportunity to amass a body of work which I hope demonstrates the depth of our unique cultural history and the value of quality documentaries in contributing to understanding our world,” said Lacy in the statement. “I have had the great privilege of working with some of the most talented filmmakers in the field, as well as the extraordinary individuals who have allowed us to tell their stories.

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“I am now thrilled to become part of the HBO family,” she added. “To work with the amazing Sheila Nevins and her team is the dream of most documentary filmmakers, and to be able to focus solely on producing and directing documentary films at a place which is creating some of the best television in history is an opportunity I couldn’t resist.”

“Susan has left an indelible mark recording our nation’s collective history,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “She recognized long ago that the history of our country isn’t told only in the stories of our political leaders, but must also be seen through the eyes of our artists, musicians and dancers. We’re very sad to lose her leadership and vision at ‘American Masters,’ but will continue to build on her legacy with an ongoing commitment to ‘American Masters’ on PBS.”