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Make some room, Maggie Smith: The newest distinguished face on PBS is actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci, who EW can exclusively report has been tapped as the host of the network’s long-running documentary series Independent Lens.

The Hunger Games and Devil Wears Prada star follows in a long time of distinguished past Independent Lens hosts, including Mary-Louise Parker, America Ferrera, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Susan Sarandon, Terrence Howard, Edie Falco, Angela Bassett, and Don Cheadle.

“Stanley Tucci truly embodies the spirit and essence of Independent Lens,” says Lois Vossen, Lens’ senior producer. “Incapable of giving a bad performance, he owns each role, yet continues to surprise audiences with every new character. His acclaimed work as an actor, director, producer, and screenwriter demonstrates how much he understands what it means to be an independent filmmaker. We are deeply honored that he chose to support our series.”

Independent Lens launched in August 1999, and the coming Tucci-hosted season — which features Brad Lichtenstein’s As Goes Janesville on Oct. 8, before fully launching on Oct. 29 with Macky Alston’s Sundance award-winning documentary Love Free or Die — will be its eleventh. The series airs at 10 p.m. on Monday.

To mark the announcement of his new hosting duties, Tucci recorded a short video, which EW has exclusively below.

“I’ve been on both sides of the camera, and I can tell you: There’s no easy way to make these films,” Tucci says of the series’ documentaries. “Behind every risk-taking expose and intimate portrait is an independent filmmaker who has spent years building trust, gaining access, and getting the story right. In the end, you get a great film told with passion told with passion and perspective.”

Watch the clip here:

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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