PBS Digital Studios (PBSDS) is approaching its tenth anniversary, and after a decade full of insightful videos, the online video arm of the Public Broadcasting Service is still finding ways to innovate its YouTube content. The latest PBSDS series to premiere is a self-explanatory show called Historian’s Take, and it is the flagship program within a new vertical centered around history.
Historian’s Take lives on a channel called PBS Origins, which has been rebranded after previously being known as The Origin of Everything. The old title referred to a series written and directed by historian Danielle Bainbridge, whose Twitter handle explains both her job and her personality.
On The Origin of Everything, Bainbridge traced concepts like gender and middle names back to their roots. Historian’s Take offers a similar package by putting modern trends in their historical context. The first episode, hosted by Bainbridge, discusses the “blaccent” by unraveling the long history of white appropriation of African-American culture.
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Plenty of the historical takes offered on the new show will come from Bainbridge, but she won’t be alone. She is now joined by co-hosts Dolly Li and Adrian De Leon, who previously worked with PBSDS on the documentary miniseries A People’s History of Asian America. PBS Origins’ leading trio will come together to create “lots of new shows,” according to a trailer for the rebranded channel.
The launch of PBS Origins reflects the current content strategy PBSDS is utilizing. When the studio first launched, it created separate channels for each of its original shows. More recently, some of those shows have aired their final episodes, and PBSDS has started consolidating its content network. In addition to Origins, there are three other themed verticals under the PBSDS umbrella: PBS Storied focuses on arts and humanities, PBS Terra gets scientific, and PBS Voices houses original documentaries.
“Looking at the success of our other themed channels, Storied, Voices and Terra, we refreshed the offering of our history content on YouTube to enhance engagement,” said PBS Digital Studios Head Maribel Lopez in a statement. “We’re excited to shake up how our audiences engage with our always informative and inspiring educational content and are thrilled to evolve our working relationships with creators Danielle Bainbridge, Dolly Li, and Adrian De Leon.”
One of PBS Origins’ stated goals is to spotlight BIPOC creators and stories. The channel features contributions from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), which produced Historian’s Take alongside Plum Studios.