Martin, PBS go 'On Record'

Miniseries tuned to cultural impact

PBS and Wildheart Entertainment are producing "On Record: The Soundtrack of Our Lives," an eight-hour miniseries that documents the history of recorded music and popular culture.

"On Record" is scheduled to air in fall 2010 on PBS and will feature interviews and footage with hundreds of artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Jay-Z. Beatles producer George Martin will host, and Kevin Spacey will narrate.

"(This) is a project intrinsically dear to my heart and one that I have been developing with Wildheart Entertainment for over five years," Martin said. "I am just thrilled that PBS has joined us as our primetime broadcaster. 'On Record' affords me the opportunity to work again with so many of the artists I have worked with throughout my life and to tell a story that has never been told in such a comprehensive way.

"Music is the only common thread and universal language that binds us together, regardless of race, nationality, age or income," he said.

Wildheart executives Maxim Langstaff and Michele Langstaff will serve as executive producers, as will veteran music industry executive Phil Quartararo. Alan Benson ("In My Life") will direct.

"So many of us carry in our heads a musical soundtrack that gives our lives meaning and vibrancy," said John Wilson, senior vp and chief TV programming executive at PBS. "Music is such an important art for understanding our shared culture and history; this was a natural for PBS to greenlight." will host a Web site for the documentary, and a companion CD box set, DVD release, books and a radio show are in the works.

Ann Donahue is senior editor at Billboard.