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'Finding Your Roots' returns to TV post Ben Affleck scandal

By Marilyn Malara
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'Finding Your Roots' returns to TV post Ben Affleck scandal
Actors Matt Damon (L) and Ben Affleck attend HBO's "Project Greenlight" Season 4 where they revealed this year's winner at Boulevard3 in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Nov. 7, 2014. Affleck's censorship of his family history from the show last season caused 'Finding Your Roots' host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to re-think the show's policies, causing a delay in its third season. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- PBS will air the third season of celebrity genealogy series Finding Your Roots after it raised controversy when it was revealed Ben Affleck requested censorship.

Announced alongside its winter/spring schedule Monday, the next season of the show will premier Jan. 5 and continue every Tuesday until March. Deadline reports PBS programming chief Beth Hoppe is enthusiastic about the new season's increased transparency after host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the network allowed guest-star Affleck to omit information linking him to a slave-owner relative last season.

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According to Hoppe, Gates' decision to censor Affleck's heritage per the actor's request was a lapse in his judgement, but doesn't provoke further suspicion. "I don't have any reason to be concerned about any other program [by Gates]," she said.

Over the summer, it was revealed Affleck asked network officials to edit-out details about a family member from an on-screen genealogy report the year before. Hacked Sony emails revealed correspondence between the host and Sony executives discussing details ultimately kept out of the show.

In a Facebook post following the email leaks, Affleck released a statement expressing regret over the issue. "I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves," he wrote at the time. "I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth."

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He admitted to lobbying Gates not to include the "embarrassing" information in the episode which aired last October. Defending the episode, however, Gates insisted Affleck's preferences had no influence on the final product. "We focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry," Gates said in a statement at the time.

"It's important to remember that this isn't a news program. Finding Your Roots is a show where you voluntarily provide a great deal of information about your family, making you quite vulnerable."

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