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Docu-series 'Local, USA,' co-produced by WTTW, debuts this week

A weekly docu-series highlighting people and places — including Chicago, featured in the premiere — bows Monday on the WORLD channel and Thursday on WTTW-Channel 11, which co-produced the 13-part program.

Each half-hour episode of “Local, USA” showcases stories by public television stations across the country as well as independent producers and other content creators.

The program is co-hosted by local producer, writer and director Evan Allen-Gessesse, whose previous projects include a 2007 behind-the-scenes documentary of Lollapalooza and work as a production assistant for a WTTW’s “Paper Trail: 100 Years of the Chicago Defender” and the PBS documentary “DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis.”

Chicago-based actress Niccole Thurman co-hosts the program. She’s currently appearing in “What the Tour Guide Didn’t Tell You” in the UP Comedy Club at The Second City.

The premiere’s theme revolves around the past. Chicago is one of the locations featured in four stories that, according to the episode description, connect us to times gone by: a family business that started a fast food innovation; a man trying to keep a legacy alive; a muralist who keeps the iconic images of yesteryear around for generations to come; and the fragility of life is examined through the memories we keep, and the ones we forget.

A different theme is explored each week from varying and interrelated viewpoints. According to press materials, “The stories build on one another to provide not only a better understanding of the overall topic, but also of what unites the U.S. in all its diversity — and what makes various places distinctive. Some weeks, five 5-minute segments might be included; programs in other weeks might be comprised of just one or two films.”

“Local, USA” debuts at 8 p.m. on the WORLD channel (WTTW 11.3 over the air/Comcast channel 369/RCN channel 38). It premieres on the Chicago PBS affiliate’s main channel, WTTW-Channel 11, at 11 p.m. Thursday.