The American version of Who Do You Think You Are? has apparently been cancelled after three seasons by its parent company NBC. This is a real shame, as I always found it to be really entertaining, if not quite as in-depth as the UK version.
I've just recently been watching the third series of Who Do You Think You Are USA, specifically the episodes with Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe. Since The West Wing is one of my favourite programmes of all time this has been a real joy for me.
Martin Sheen's episode saw him travel to Ireland and Spain to trace his ancestry. His mother's Irish roots saw him investigate an uncle who fought in the Irish Civil War. He then travelled to Spain to investigate a relative from his father's side who fought against Franco's army in the Spanish civil war.
It was interesting to note that Martin Sheen believed that he had inherited since political activism from his ancestors, as did Rob Lowe in his episode. We saw him travel to Germany to research his ancestor who was sent to America to fight against George Washington's forces in the Revolutionary War. Rob would have preferred his ancestor to have fought on the other side, but was proud nonetheless when he discovered that his ancestor settled in America and became a patriot.
Other episodes of note from season 3 of Who Do You Think You Are USA featured actresses Helen Hunt, Edie Falco, Rashida Jones, and Marisa Tomei. Helen's story involved her German Jewish ancestors who made their fortune during the California gold rush, Edie's was about her great-grandfather and how he was estranged from his father, Rashida's was a moving tale of her mother's Jewish ancestry stretching back to Latvia, and how several members of her family were murdered during the holocaust, and finally Marisa's episode was an extremely interesting tale of murder and feud in Italy.
It would be really disappointing if this is the end for Who Do You Think You Are USA. The good news is that the show's producer, Lisa Kudrow (of Friends fame) has stated in interviews that they will definitely be making more, so it seems likely that it may reappear at some point, possibly on one of the cable channels in the States. Lets hope that this is the case, and that the BBC continue to show it on BBC1 and the BBC iPlayer here in the UK.