An epic miniseries about the making of America -- the most ambitious project ever filmed for television -- this filming of James Michener's 1,100-page saga that spanned the decades from the late eighteenth century to the present ended up as a 26 1/2 hour movie irregularly scheduled over four months and molded into nine self-contained TV movies, each of which could be shown later independently of the others. Heralded in network publicity as "a story of reckless daring and reckless loving, of struggle and pain, of laughter and triumph; it's the story of the land, and the people who turned it into a nation."
"Centennial" not only was (at the time) the most expensive film ever made for television -- its $25 million budget was four times that of "Roots" -- but had the biggest "name" cast ever assembled for a dramatic presentation, with David Janssen tying the whole project together as the overall narrator and star of the final "chapter" as the current day descendant of those who founded the fictional town of Centennial, Colorado. "Centennial" received Emmy Award nominations for film editing (Chapter 1) and art direction/set decoration (Chapter 7).
Shown in two- and three-hour segments over a period of five months.
Virgil W. Vogel replaced Sam O'Steen as a director.