Golden Globe Stars Get Personal on PBS

Christina Knight | January 4, 2019


If hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh deliver the “joy” they want to provide as co-hosts of the Golden Globe Awards on January 6, we hope it will bring even more attention to Samberg’s appearance in an exciting PBS premiere two days later on Tuesday, January 8.

Andy Samberg, the affable Saturday Night Live alum and star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is among the celebrated and celebrity guests whose family mysteries are solved in Season 5 of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Many entertainers in the 10-part series are Golden Globe regulars, as both nominees and winners.

As he and his team uncover genealogical paper trails around the world and research DNA databases, noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. unearths the family histories of influential people who help shape our national identity.

Andy Samberg and George R.R. Martin

A Golden Globe winner in 2014 for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Samberg is one of two personalities featured in the Finding Your Roots season premiere Tuesday, January 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS. The other is a fellow creative force well known to television audiences and the Golden Globes: author George RR Martin, whose five-book series “Song of Ice and Fire” is the basis of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, for which he is writer and co-executive producer.

Famously private, Samberg agreed to participate in “Finding Your Roots: Grandparents and Other Strangers” if the show would help fulfill his mother’s lifelong dream: to discover the identities of her biological parents. An adoptee, Marjorie Marrow has never been able to discover who they were. For practical purposes, knowing more about his family medical history would be a great benefit for Samberg and his wife Joanna Newsome, who became parents to a baby girl in 2017.

Author George R.R. Martin – who grew up in Bayonne, NJ – wrote an intriguing entry on his blog after his taping for Finding Your Roots:

“I am not the man you think I am.

I am not the man I thought I was.

… I thought I had a pretty good idea of my roots, but Dr. Gates and his crack team of DNA researchers had some revelations in store for me… and one huge shock.”

While you may be excited for the final season of Game of Thrones in April, tune in to Finding Your Roots on January 8 at 8 p.m. for the resolution of this cliffhanger!

Felicity Huffman

Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with actor Felicity Huffman on the set of Finding Your Roots.

Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with actor Felicity Huffman on the set of Finding Your Roots.


Nominated for seven Golden Globes and a winner in 2006 for her performance in Transamerica, Felicity Huffman (American Crime, Desperate Housewives) learned as a teenager that the man she thought was her father was not her biological parent. The paternal lineage of Huffman and of fellow featured guest Michael K. Williams (Vice, The Night Of, The Wire) is the subject of research in “Mystery Men” (January 15). Since Huffman and Williams grew up knowing little about their biological fathers, seeing their lost ancestry restored proves deeply empowering to both actors. Watch the preview.

Marisa Tomei


Two-time Golden Globe nominee Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler, In the Bedroom) appears in “Dreaming of a New Land” (January 29) along with Sheryl Sandberg and Kal Penn (House, Designated Survivor). With immigrant ancestors from Italy, Russia and India, their histories show success could take generations to achieve in America.

S. Epatha Merkerson

Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with actor S. Epatha Merkerson while taping Finding Your Roots.

Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with actor S. Epatha Merkerson while taping Finding Your Roots.


Golden Globe winner S. Epatha Merkerson (Lackawanna Blues) is a guest along with Michael Strahan in the episode “Freedom Tales” (February 5) which reveals unexpected stories that challenge assumptions about black history. Watch the preview.

Laura Linney and Chloë Sevigny

Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with actress Chloë Sevigny while taping Finding Your Roots.

Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with actress Chloë Sevigny while taping Finding Your Roots.


Laura Linney, a Golden Globe winner for The Big C and John Adams, and Chloë Sevigny, a Golden Globe winner for Big Love, are guests along with filmmaker Michael Moore in “Hard Times” (February 26). Each of their distant ancestors overcame great hardships in ways that resonate with their lives today.

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These are just a few of the episodes coming up in the ten-part series that premieres Tuesday, January 8 at 8 p.m. The celebrity-studded series features other notable entertainers, including comedian Sarah Silverman and Late Night host Seth Meyers, host of the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.

Learn more about the series and watch previews of Finding Your Roots episodes, here.