I’ve learned so much in the three months that I’ve been here at WNED. For example, we actually produce some of the programs you see on WNED-TV and even on PBS (meaning that they get broadcast nationally!) Like any good documentary or program, we have narrators and hosts. Lucky for us, we’ve been able to enlist the cream of the crop to take on this job. Check out my “Top Celebrities Associated with WNED” list. Hopefully it not only surprises you but enlightens you as well!
LeVar Burton- I am a huge LeVar Burton fan. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that many people my age are huge fans too and it’s probably due to the fact that we grew up on Reading Rainbow. The program was truly a successful series for WNED and public television as a whole (WNED founded and co-produced the series.) I’m a prime example of how outstanding this progressive 26-time Emmy award-winning series was. I became an English Literature minor in college due to my love of reading and books that was cultivated by the show.
Christine Baranski- Buffalo has a lot of things to be proud of and Christine Baranski is one of them. Not only has this Buffalonian won an Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award, but she’s a multiple Tony Award winner. So it’s very fitting that we would enlist her as the narrator for Polonia: Western New York’s Polish American Legacy. Anyone who has ever lived here knows about the Broadway Market; this Polish mecca is among many of the spotlights on Buffalo’s Polish heritage featured in the program.
Donald Faison- “Dr. Turk, paging Dr. Turk.” That’s right, Scrubs star Donald Faison was the host of another one of our national productions, Your Life, Your Money. This program focuses on real-life stories of young adults and their economic challenges. Basic advice on credit, savings, insurance and other important topics are featured, as well as an interview with music mogul Russell Simmons.
Joe Mantegna- Mantegna currently stars in CBS’s Criminal Minds as FBI Special Agent David Rossi and he recently lent his voice as the narrator of our newest production, The War of 1812. The two hour documentary premiers nationally on PBS, Monday, October 10 at 9 p.m. Tune in to learn about the war that matched Americans against the British, Canadians against the Americans, and whites against Native Americans.
Stockard Channing- Stockard Channing is probably best known for her role as head Pink Lady, Betty Rizzo, in Grease. The stage, film, and television actress also narrated our national production, Chautauqua: An American Narrative. The program focuses on the “Four Pillars” of Chautauqua: the arts, education, recreation, and religion. The beautiful and historically rich environment of the Chautauqua Institute also has a starring role.
So there you have it; my top choices from the over 40 programs we’ve produced. I’d say that’s a pretty solid list, especially with names like Liev Schreiber, Victor Garber, and Phylicia Rashad that were in the mix.
Were you surprised by any of the names you saw? Feel free to comment below.