At a time when the broadcast and cable news networks have essentially walked away from true documentary development, CNN continues to invest in enterprise and investigative reporting that is critical to the future of quality journalism. Over the next six months, over a dozen hours of original documentaries and special series will debut on the only news network still dedicated to non-partisan reporting. Upcoming, CNN will present the following long-form original programs on education, the environment, terrorism, culture, Haiti and others:
Premiere: Sat. May 8, & Sun., May 9, 8 p.m., 11 p.m., 2 a.m. (one hour; all times Eastern)
CNN anchor & special correspondent Soledad O’Brien investigates the plight of those left most vulnerable in the wake of Haiti’s devastating earthquake – Haiti’s children. Told through the eyes of 7-year-old Cendy Jeune and former child slave Marckenson Oliphi, O’Brien reports on how Haiti’s orphans struggle to overcome immense obstacles – crushing poverty and the shame of child slavery. Along the way, O’Brien interviews people connected to Haiti’s almost 400,000+ orphans – missionaries, aid workers, and relatives, all who themselves must overcome bureaucracies and a frail recovery from the powerful earthquake.
FIXING AMERICA’S SCHOOLS
Sat., Apr. 17 at 7 p.m., Sun., Apr. 18, at 6 p.m. (one hour; all times Eastern)
CNN Newsroom anchor Don Lemon interviews U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a dynamic town hall about America’s schools. Sec. Duncan will answer questions straight from parents, teachers and students in Atlanta on the realities they face everyday ranging from school facilities and safety to standardized testing.
AN ANDERSON COOPER 360°INVESTIGATION – AMERICAN AL QAEDA
Week-long series begins the week of May 10, followed by one hour special on Sat., May 15, & Sun., May 16, at 8 p.m., 11 p.m., 2 a.m. (one hour; all times Eastern)
Bryant Neal Vinas, born and raised in New York, a once friendly, baseball-playing Catholic altar boy, is now a sworn enemy of the U.S. CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson spent a year tracing Vinas’ life’s journey, learning how and why he became a hate-filled terrorist helping al Qaeda plan a bomb attack on New York City. Exclusive images and first-time interviews yield the most intimate portrait ever of an American homegrown terrorist.
CNN DOCUMENTARY: THE ATLANTA CHILD MURDERS (w.t.)
Coming in June 2010 (two hours)
Almost thirty years after the murders of over 25 Black children, teens and young adults, CNN anchor & special correspondent Soledad O’Brien investigates the nearly 2-year siege of fear that gripped the city of Atlanta. Although Wayne Williams continues to profess his innocence from behind bars, with his arrest and conviction, he was described as both a “monster”– and the nation’s first Black serial killer. With exclusive access, O’Brien examines new evidence to offer viewers a new look at the persistent doubts, and decide for themselves who was responsible for all those lost young lives. Viewers will be able to vote for their verdict on this case on CNN.com.
AN ANDERSON COOPER 360°INVESTIGATION – BLACK AND WHITE: KIDS ON RACE
Multi-part series coming in June 2010
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper revisits the watershed 1947 “Doll Test,” conducted by married African-American psychologists Mamie and Kenneth Clark. The study explored how children interpret race and discrimination, and their original research was included in the arguments for the plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown vs. Board of Education (1954). CNN anchor & special correspondent Soledad O’Brien and Cooper engage a 21st-century team of child psychologists to design and analyze this culturally pivotal social experiment. They explore what has changed in the 60 years since those original children taught the nation powerful lessons about prejudice and segregation that helped to desegregate America.
A SANJAY GUPTA, MD SPECIAL--TOXIC TOWNS USA
Coming in June 2010 (one hour)
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta presents a year-long investigation into toxic chemicals and public health. With a focus on once-rural Mossville, Louisiana, Gupta investigates citizen’s complaints that the nearby plastics’ industry and other chemical plants are responsible for widespread cancers, respiratory diseases, and other ailments. Gupta talks to residents organizing to face down a frustrating bureaucracy as they seek help – and a local grandmother chemist who says she was taking on industry long before Erin Brockovich.
IN AMERICA – GARY & TONY HAVE A BABY
Coming in June 2010 (two hours)
Gary and Tony are life-long gay activists. They also share a classic, traditional dream – marriage and a baby. Unable to legally marry in the U.S., they travel to Canada, get married, and spend thousands on an arduous journey toward parenthood via surrogacy and in vitro fertilization. CNN anchor & special correspondent Soledad O’Brien finds that though Gary and Tony had hoped for a happy extended family, they discover instead ambivalence about same sex marriage. With court battles, and struggles against their hometown community – can these men achieve a life as mainstream as their parents?
A SANJAY GUPTA MD SPECIAL-- DADS FOR MY DAUGHTERS (w.t)
Coming in June 2010 (one hour)
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on best selling author Bruce Feiler (“Walking the Bible”), who after a devastating diagnosis in 2008 of osteosarcoma (a rare and aggressive bone cancer), thought he was going to die. He endured brutal treatments and decided to form a “Council of Dads” for his twin girls. A group of his closest male friends would in effect take his place as father to his girls should he not make it. Each father represents a special gift and value which Feiler feels is important to pass on to his daughters who are soon to turn five years old. Feiler,author of the forthcoming book “Council of Dads” continues to fight his cancer.
IN AMERICA – KATRINA PLUS FIVE (w.t.)
Coming in August 2010 (one hour)
Five years after the famous hurricane that nearly destroyed the city of New Orleans, CNN anchor & special correspondent Soledad O’Brien investigates what progress has been made and what, if any, lessons have been learned from the events that followed the storm. O’Brien reveals what has happened to survivors and what officials are doing to prevent “another Katrina” from ever happening again.
BLACK IN AMERICA – CHURCHED
Coming in October 2010 (two hours)
Martin Luther King, Jr. described 11-o’clock on Sunday mornings as “the most segregated hour in America.” He hoped the Black Church would become a “Beloved Community,” where everyone – sharecropper to businessman – would be treated equally, working together for social justice. Indeed, the Black Church provided the vision and the foot power for the movement that reshaped America. Churches have long been central to African-American community life, supplying food, money, and social connections. Four decades after the Civil Rights Movement, CNN anchor & special correspondent Soledad O’Brien uncovers how close the Black Church remains to this vision and talks to church leaders and believers about today’s role of the Black Church in America
*Turner Press Release 4/13/10