Tom Hanks to Host World War II Documentary Series for History

Tom Hanks, who has helped producer documentary series about U.S. unrest in the 1960s and travels to the moon, will return to some of the most fertile ground in his unscripted career.

The actor and producer will host and narrate a new 20-part documentary series on A+E Networks’ History Channel about World War II, which was also the setting for “Band of Brothers,” the dramatic miniseries he helped produce that aired on HBO in 2001. The new series, untitled and based on new scholarship and archival material, is among a slate of 2,500 hours of new programming that will be unveiled as part of the company’s upfront presentation Wednesday. A+E Networks will also spotlight new work created with collaborators including President Barack Obama and Derek Jeter. A+E Networks has also set up a development partnership with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company that will result in new series being created for the Home.Made.Nation content hub, including “Country House Hunters.”

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“A+E continues to move forward with intention and pace in the ever-evolving media landscape, bringing forth premium quality content for viewers and innovative solutions for advertising partners,” said Paul Buccieri, President & Chairman, A+E, in a prepared statement. “Behind the scenes, we partner with the best talent in the business – in front of and behind the camera – resulting in a diverse roster that resonates emotionally with all audiences everywhere.”

History Channel will also launch a new eight part podcast series produced with President Obama and Michelle Obama, Pushkin Industries and Audible that explores the history and legacy of America’s Reconstruction Era. Derek Jeter’s Cap2 Productions will produce two new series, “History’s Greatest Warriors” and “The Icons That Built America.” Actor Danny Trejo will host and narrate “The UnXplored with Danny Trejo,” which examines hidden histories surrounding buried artifacts and lost civilizations.

Lifetime plans to air a new biopic under the production auspices of Robin Roberts that examines the life of Gloria Gaynor. The network will also debut “Dance Moms: The Reunion,” a two-hour event that convenes past participants in the original title series to examine their time on the program and how it affected them. And Billy Zane will star in a new movie executive produced and directed by Elisabeth Rohm that examines the story of Billy Ray.

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