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The Untold Story of America's First Media Mogul

American Experience explores the life of William Randolph Hearst, the pioneering media mogul and inspiration for Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.

10pm Thursday CITIZEN HEARST: An American Experience Special - Documentary


William Randolph Hearst Sr. was an American businessman, newspaper publisher, and politician known for developing the nation's largest newspaper chain and media company, Hearst Communications.

This two-part documentary traces the 125-year history of the Hearst media empire from William Randolph Hearst to the global impact of the company's many successful media brands today.

American Experience Citizen Hearst

By the 1930s, William Randolph Hearst controlled the largest media empire in the country: 28 newspapers, a movie studio, a syndicated wire service, radio stations, and 13 magazines. He used his communications stronghold to achieve political power unprecedented in the industry, then ran for office himself. A man of prodigious appetites and the model for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, his castle, San Simeon, was a monument to his extravagance. While married to his wife Millicent, with whom he had five sons, he also conducted a decades-long affair with actress Marion Davies, his companion until death. By the time Hearst died in 1951 at the age of 88, he had forever transformed the role of media in American life and politics.

Based on The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst, David Nasaw’s critically acclaimed biography.

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