CNN has begun promoting its 2018 slate of new Original Series with an ad featuring the voice of CNN, James Earl Jones. The new spot features Kennedys: the American Dynasty, Pope: the Most Powerful Man in History, The Radical Story of Patty Hearst, and 1968: the Year that Changed America.
CNN announced several of these programs earlier in the year, but a fifth CNN Original Series was also announced at the time, Detroit 1963: Once in a Great City. An email to production company Zero Point Zero went unanswered, but CNN spokesperson Heather Brown said in an email, “We don’t have a locked date yet for Detroit.” Detroit 1963 was intended to look at the city of Detroit as the auto industry was roaring and Motown was a cultural highpoint.
The Radical Story of Patty Hearst is based on CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin’s book, American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst. The series looks at Hearst’s life and evidence uncovered in the forty years since the event.
1968 comes from Playtone and Herzog and Company, the same production companies behind CNN’s popular decades documentaries. 1968 is familiar ground for the production companies as one episode of The Sixties focused on 1968 and now there will be four additional episodes dedicated to this year. Some of the topics covered will be the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the presidential election.
Kennedys: the American Dynasty follows the family from patriarch Joseph Kennedy on while looking at how their family dynamics impacted history from the Cold War to the Wall Street crash. The series is from the same production company as Race for the White House.
Pope: the Most Powerful Man in History is both a history of the Pope, but also the Catholic Church and how it has grown to over 1 billion members. The series will also investigate the power Popes have held throughout history and how current events in the Church have historical roots.
CNN’s Original Series have been controversial among those who would prefer CNN stick to news coverage. However, they have been embraced by viewers and a magazine cover on CNN’s future featured Original Series hosts W. Kamau Bell and Anthony Bourdain alongside anchor Jake Tapper. Indeed as the new Original Series ad and James Earl Jones remind viewers, even if one is watching the Original Series “this is CNN.”