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Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomers

About the Show

They were born between 1946 and 1964, a vast and prosperous group of Americans who lived through the Cold War, Vietnam, Watergate and the housing bubble. They wore Buster Browns, played with hula-hoops, ate at the drive-thru and watched the Beatles play on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Raised during a time of unprecedented affluence, they exhibited extraordinary optimism and faith in the future. Now, as the oldest among them approach the age of retirement, they face a world of new challenges and opportunities they never anticipated or dreamed possible.

CNBC presents "TOM BROKAW REPORTS: BOOMER$!" a CNBC original reported by NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw. After defining "The Greatest Generation" in his bestselling book, Brokaw now turns his sights to their successors, the generation that vowed to change the world.

"Now, at this critical crossroads in the nation and in their lives, what do boomers do next – and how do they get there? It's a question that affects all of us and will for a long time to come," said Brokaw.

In a landmark two-hour documentary, CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and Brokaw take viewers on a provocative and evocative journey down memory lane and peer into an uncertain future. From Woodstock to the civil rights movement, in war and politics, Brokaw chronicles the extraordinary impact 78 million baby boomers have had on American society over the past six decades. He sits down with a fascinating cross-section of boomers to talk about their generation's life and legacy, including U.S. Senator and Vietnam veteran James Webb; Anne Mulcahy and Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO, respectively, of Xerox Corporation; author and critic Michael Eric Dyson; and political satirist P.J. O'Rourke. Brokaw also profiles quintessential boomer actor Tom Hanks, and has an intimate and gripping conversation with the parents of Denise McNair, the 11 year-old girl slain, along with three friends, in the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. That infamous episode brought the first casualties of the boomer generation in a civil rights struggle that led to the election of the nation's first black president. That transformation, together with historic advances made by women in all aspects of American life, is captured as part of the story of a generation that has delivered on some of its promises but not – as yet – on others.

Brokaw also introduces viewers to everyday boomers and their children -- real people who have lived through unprecedented prosperity and now find themselves facing significant financial, physical and social challenges. For years, by their sheer heft in numbers, baby boomers altered the economy, and now, it has altered them. After experiencing historic wealth, many boomers now find themselves likely to outlive their money. Brokaw captures the stunned disbelief of a downsized generation that never saw it coming and that now confronts rising unemployment and dashed dreams of retirement. He also examines the boomers' unique and unyielding quest to preserve their youth, leading one writer to describe these children of Woodstock as, "Generation Ageless."

Program Highlights

  • Woodstock     Monday, 1 Mar 2010 | 12:06 AM ET

    Walker Smith, a Baby Boomer expert, discusses the many misconceptions about Boomers, as well as the many similarities among this powerful generation.

  • Vietnam     Monday, 1 Mar 2010 | 12:05 AM ET

    Sgt. Don Nicholas, a Vietnam veteran, re-enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves after 9/11. He also served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Tom Hanks     Monday, 1 Mar 2010 | 12:07 AM ET

    Quintessential boomer actor Tom Hanks discusses the impact baby boomers have had on the economy during their lifetime.

Web Extras

  • Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomers!     Wednesday, 3 Mar 2010 | 12:00 AM ET

    Tom Brokaw defined the "Greatest Generation" and now he tells the story of their children -- the largest, most influential generation ever.

  • 1960s Boomer Culture Friday, 19 Feb 2010 | 3:17 PM ET

    How well do you know the time when Bob Dylan went electric, LSD went mainstream and "Laugh-In" made sense of it all? Take our 1960s Boomer culture quiz and find out.

  • Growing Up Boomer: A Generation's Joy & Angst Monday, 1 Mar 2010 | 4:49 PM ET
    Boomers. They're part of the most significant demographic event in American history... a population explosion that rocked the nation between 1946 and 1964. They remember hula hoops, coonskin caps and have lived through a hurricane of social change. Today, this largest and richest generation in history controls the US Presidency and Congress. And three quarters of fortune 500 CEOs are baby boomers. They are at the top, just as financial bottom has fallen out of many of their dreams. Here we take

    Here we take a look at some of the most significant events to shape the lives of boomers, and some of the individual stories behind those events.

  • Dream Cars of the Boomer Generation Friday, 5 Mar 2010 | 11:02 AM ET
    Automobiles have played a major role in the lives of those born from 1946-1963, and with the majority of baby boomers making their way through young adulthood during the 60s and 70s, they were extremely impressionable during the golden age of performance cars. To get a taste of Boomer “Dream Cars,” CNBC.com asked Steve Davis, collectable car expert and President of the , to give his take on the most sought-after classic cars of the generation. According to him, “baby boomers are reliving their y

    CNBC.com asked Steve Davis, collectable car expert and president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, to give his take on the most sought-after classic cars of the generation.

  • Best States For Boomers To Retire Friday, 5 Feb 2010 | 4:33 PM ET
    As the Baby Boomer generation begins to hit retirement age, millions will be searching for places to retire. So what's the best location to settle down? The answer to that question is just as diverse as the needs, desires and expectations of Boomers themselves.Although certain destinations may be particularly attractive - for reasons ranging from the weather and availability of health care to tax advantages and property values - there's a wide variety of cities and towns consistently considered

    As the Baby Boomer generation begins to hit retirement age, millions will be searching for places to retire. So what's the best location to settle down?

  • Most Influential Movies of the Boomer Generation Friday, 12 Feb 2010 | 2:53 PM ET
    The baby boom generation - 80 million strong - is a powerful force in the economy, and it pays to know some of their biggest cultural influences, one of the most important being the movies they grew up watching., nationally known film/theater critic and author of Jeffrey Lyons’ 101 Great Movies for Kids, identified the films which he considers to be the most influential, most popular and best among those that boomers grew up watching. He also offered his personal take on why these films, in part

    Jeffrey Lyons, nationally known film/theater critic, identified the films which he considers to be the most influential, most popular and best among those that boomers grew up watching.

  • Favorite Brands of the Boomer Generation Monday, 1 Mar 2010 | 10:14 AM ET
    For the nearly 80 million American baby boomers, the choices and brand preferences of the generation has, and continues to have a major economic impact. Their estimated $3 trillion in spending power has the ability to generate big revenues for the companies who own the boomer's favorite brands., Managing Editor of , brand expert and member of the Boomer generation, put together her top picks for the most significant brands and products that have defined the buying habits of a generation.So, what

    For the nearly 80 million American baby boomers, the choices and brand preferences of the generation has a major economic impact. So, what are the favorite brands of the boomer generation? Click to find out!

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