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Bill Gardner is Vice President of Programming & Development for PBS where he oversees content strategy, development and production for the PBS Primetime schedule in the genres of history, culture, natural history and science. He works closely with flagship PBS strands such as Nature, NOVA and American Experience as well as managing a large portfolio of independent projects. During his time at PBS, his projects have won two Peabody Awards, three Emmy awards, the DuPont Columbia Award, an Imagen award, numerous Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival awards and the NAACP Image Award.
Some of Gardner’s recent projects have been among PBS’s most successful, especially in reaching younger and more diverse audiences. They include documentary series Earth A New Wild; The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr; Africa’s Great Civilizations; Makers; First Peoples; Black America since MLK: And Still I Rise; Your Inner Fish; Latino Americans; How We Got to Now with Stephen Johnson; Twice Born and Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music. He also oversees formatted ongoing series such as Finding Your Roots as well as doc specials A Year in Space; E.O Wilson: Of Ants & Men; The Farthest: Voyager in Space and Hawking in addition to helping bring Brit-Com Vicious starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi and The Great British Baking Show to PBS.
Gardner also oversees the PBS-BBC co production partnership, with successful multi-platform focused output such as BAFTA-winning Big Blue Live, Wild Alaska Live, Earth’s Natural Wonders and Spy in the Wild in the Science and Natural History genres, and 2018 BAFTA winner Basquiat: Rage to Riches in the Arts space. He has also recently wrapped or is in production on marquee projects Civilizations, a reboot of the 1969 classic BBC series on the history of art; Native America, a re-examination of the cultural world that existed in North and South America before European contact, told from the perspective of Native Americans; No Passport Required, which joins Chef Marcus Samuelsson as he explores the diversity of America’s cities through the food and cultures of immigrant communities, Ancient Invisible Cities, which uses VR technology to take viewers beneath ancent cities around the world and The Great American Read, the first ever major television and multiplatform campaign to identify America’s best loved novel.
Gardner joined PBS from Discovery Studios, where he worked on the prestige Curiosity series and as Executive Producer oversaw and developed national productions in the reality, lifestyle and CGI genres for multiple networks with partners such as the NFLPA, Petfinder.com and the Department of Defense.
Prior to moving to Discovery Bill spent over a decade in the independent production world, working as director, producer, writer and show runner on projects for multiple networks both in the US and globally, including National Geographic, CNN, Discovery and The History Channel. He has produced programs in over 30 countries, including spending 2 months in embedded with US Special Forces investigating the looting of Baghdad’s Iraq museum in 2003. During this time he was also the first Westerner allowed to film inside the holy Shi’i shrines of Abbas and Hussein in Karbala.
Before getting into TV Bill earned a Masters Degree in cultural anthropology, worked as a university instructor in Arkansas and taught study abroad students in Marrakech, Morocco.