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Ken Burns’ Muhammad Ali documentary series picked up by BBC, Arte, SBS

Muhammad Ali pictured in 1966 (photo: Dutch National Archives via CC)

MIPCOM: International broadcasters including the BBC in the UK, Arte in France and SBS in Australia have acquired Ken Burns’ docuseries about Muhammad Ali from PBS International.

From Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, Muhammad Ali premiered on PBS in the US last month. The eight-hour doc, which looks at the life of the boxing legend, is being presented to global buyers at Mipcom this week.

The BBC and Arte pre-bought the doc, which has subsequently been picked up by SBS, DirectTV in Latin America, Al Arabiya in the MENA region, DR in Denmark, Poland’s Canal+, VPRO in the Netherlands, Finland’s YLE, Israel’s KAN, Foxtel and Via Vision in Australia, and Belgium’s VRT.

“Muhammad Ali was very much an American but he was an American who spoke to a global audience,” said Ken Burns. “Ali’s interest in Africa and other parts of the world helped shape a very international perspective, one influenced early on by his friend and mentor Malcolm X and articulated by Ali throughout his life. We could not be prouder of the film and look forward to sharing it with audiences across the globe.”


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