New PBS documentary series to explore road to success for world's most influential

Last Updated by Chip Chandler on
Trevor Noah will be profiled in "Breaking Big."
Courtesy of Ozy Media

"Breaking Big" trailer

A new 12-episode documentary series will explores the unexpected journey to success of some notable figures in various fields.

Breaking Big will debut at 7:30 p.m. Friday with a profile of The Daily Show star Trevor Noah. The series is hosted by Emmy-winning journalist Carlos Watson.

A joint venture between PBS and OZY Media, the series of 30-minute documentary films traces the unusual paths followed by 12 talented men and women — from country music superstar Jason Aldean and former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson to Oscar-winning director Lee Daniels and chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang — who overcame nearly insurmountable obstacles and long odds to reach and reimagine their own potential and, ultimately, to break big.

Profiles of some of the world’s most influential artists, innovators, political leaders, athletes, authors and entrepreneurs will include, in broadcast order: 

  • Trevor Noah — Host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central
  • Eddie Huang — Chef and restaurateur, author of Fresh Off the Boat
  • Danai Gurira — Actress and award-winning playwright (Black Panther, The Walking Dead)
  • Jason Aldean — Country music superstar
  • Ruth Zukerman — Co-founder of SoulCycle and Flywheel
  • Christian Siriano — Fashion designer
  • Roxane Gay — Author and cultural critic
  • Michael Strahan — Host of Good Morning America and former NFL star
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — U.S. Senator, New York
  • Lee Daniels — Academy Award-nominated director of Precious and creator of Fox series Empire
  • Gretchen Carlson — Former Fox News anchor and Miss America
  • Carmen Yulín Cruz — Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico

“PBS is known as the home for compelling stories that engage and inspire,” said Marie Nelson, vice president of news and independent film for PBS. “We know audiences will love Breaking Big, a series that offers a compelling look at the many roads to success, pulling back the curtain on the public figures and entertainers we admire to reveal our shared humanity.”

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