April 24th, 2014
08:07 PM ET

Series finale of CHICAGOLAND airs TONIGHT at 10pmET and PT

For tonight's exciting conclusion of CHICAGOLAND, Mayor Rahm Emanuel lays out his vision for Chicago’s future – both in his annual budget address and at Chicago Ideas Week, where celebrated chef Mario Batali and renowned artist Hebru Brantley are also featured.  The pension crisis is the next great challenge for the Mayor – and, also for public employees like Chicago Fire Department’s Captain Joel Burns.  Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and the CPD have reduced homicides significantly, but now have to ensure the public’s safety during the city’s marathon – in the wake of the tragic events in Boston.

Early childhood and charter education advocate Dr. Diane Rauner, president of Ounce of Prevention, assists the Mayor’s efforts to expand access to education for young children.  First Lady Michelle Obama shares some wisdom with a young Chicago student getting ready for college.  Meanwhile, Fenger High Principal Liz Dozier receives a helping hand with a fundraiser shepherded by local entrepreneurs Billy Dec and Juanita Jordan.

Viewers can join in the live social media dialogue tonight for the series finale with the producers and featured participants in CHICAGOLAND, by logging into Twitter during the broadcast and using #Chicagoland, by following @CNNOrigSeries, or by visiting www.cnn.com/chicagoland.

CHICAGOLAND is executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, and Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of the Peabody Award-winning team that created BRICK CITY.  CHICAGOLAND explores where politics and policy meet real people’s lives in a beloved heartland American city.

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April 17th, 2014
04:10 PM ET

Chicagoland goes to the 'Back of the Yards'

Tonight on CNN's CHICAGOLAND, a mass shooting leaves 13 wounded and makes national headlines just as Mayor Rahm Emanuel goes on a public relations campaign to bolster Chicago’s image.  The shooting galvanizes the city and community activists, including Sally Hazelgrove, Rob and Amy Castaneda, Father Michael Pfleger, and stars of the Chicago Bulls – who join together in an emotional plea for peace.

Fenger High celebrates homecoming, but Principal Liz Dozier fears violence may become an unwelcome focus of the festivities. Meanwhile, the Mayor and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy campaign for stricter gun laws while pursuing the shooters in a citywide manhunt.

Viewers can join the live social media dialogue with the series producers and participants featured in CHICAGOLAND, by logging into Twitter this evening during the broadcast and using #Chicagoland, by following @CNNOrigSeries, or by visiting www.cnn.com/chicagoland.

Executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, and Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of the Peabody Award-winning team that created BRICK CITYCHICAGOLAND explores where politics and policy meet real people’s lives in the beloved heartland American city of Chicago.  The series airs each Thursday evening on CNN/U.S. at 10:00pm ET and PT.

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April 10th, 2014
06:03 PM ET

CHICAGOLAND: see a whole city come together – 10pmET

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, determined to keep Chicago a world-class city, launches a number of risky and ambitious public works projects.  Richard M. Daley reflects on his own time as a crime-battling mayor.  Community leaders are hard at work to help their neighborhoods.  Roseland community activist and former gangbanger Eric Wilkins works to combat violence and inspire change.  Principal Liz Dozier fears a brewing gang war outside of Fenger High will threaten the safety of her students.  The Cook County Sheriff’s Department’s director of medical operations and trauma surgeon Dr. Andrew Dennis struggles to give one young patient a second chance.

Executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, and Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of the Peabody Award-winning team that created BRICK CITYCHICAGOLAND explores where politics and policy meet real people’s lives in the beloved heartland American city of Chicago.

CHICAGOLAND airs Thursdays at 10:00pm ET and PT on CNN/U.S.  For more information on the series, please visit www.cnn.com/chicagoland, or connect with the series creators via social media by using #Chicagoland.

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April 3rd, 2014
12:04 PM ET

CHICAGOLAND: 1871 tech challenge and Mayor's 'Safe Passage' program put to the test tonight at 10pET/9pCT

All of Chicago is on edge as a new school year begins.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel hits the streets as his controversial ‘Safe Passage’ program is put to the test.  Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy patrols the city with help from Chicago Fire Department Captain Joel Burns, hoping that the first day of school will happen without a hitch.  Fenger High Principal Liz Dozier welcomes her students back to school, but is confronted by an unexpected crisis.  Simultaneously, downtown, the venture capitalists at the technology entrepreneur incubator named ‘1871,’ including 1871 founder J.B. Pritzker, host Chicago’s “Demo Day” where young tech stars compete for venture capital.

Executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, and Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of the Peabody Award-winning team that created BRICK CITYCHICAGOLAND explores where politics and policy meet real people’s lives in the beloved heartland American city of Chicago.

CHICAGOLAND airs Thursdays at 10:00pm ET and PT on CNN/U.S.  For more information on the series, please visit www.cnn.com/chicagoland, or connect with the series creators via social media by using #Chicagoland.

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CHICAGOLAND Tweetchat at 1pm on March 28 explores how to improve our communities
March 27th, 2014
04:18 PM ET

CHICAGOLAND Tweetchat at 1pm on March 28 explores how to improve our communities

The Thursday, March 27th episode of CHICAGOLAND explores the challenges facing the city's youth and neighborhoods as community leaders come together to inspire and encourage young people to make choices that will enrich their futures.

CNN and The Urban Institute have partnered for a dynamic social media discussion on the challenges in education, jobs, and public safety faced by many communities around the country.

Susan Popkin (@SJpopkin), senior fellow of The Urban Institute who studies neighborhoods and youth development, and Jocelyn Fontaine (@jocefontain), senior research associate of The Urban Institute who studies community-based crime reduction programs, will lead the online dialogue on these vital issues on Friday, March 28, at 1:00p.m. ET.  The discussion will explore social policy ideas for improving education and public safety on the local level.

FULL POST

March 27th, 2014
01:03 PM ET

CHICAGOLAND's episode 4, 'Second Chances' debuts at 10pET and PT

In tonight's CHICAGOLAND, Mayor Rahm Emanuel recruits Common, Dwayne Wade, and Magic Johnson to help him promote the city’s youth programs.  After meeting a promising young man at Windy City Hoops, a community basketball program, Mayor Emanuel decides to mentor young Martell Cowan and offers him an internship in his office.  Another young Chicagoan with promise, Chance the Rapper, makes his Lollapalooza music festival debut in front of the biggest crowd of his life, but remains haunted by the murder of his friend, Columbia College student Kevin Ambrose, from earlier in the summer.  Principal Liz Dozier helps former Fenger High School student Jason Barrett secure an early release from prison – and a second chance – but with old temptations looming outside of the prison walls, which path will he take?

Executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, and Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of the Peabody Award-winning team that created BRICK CITY, CHICAGOLAND explores where politics and policy meet real people’s lives in the beloved heartland American city of Chicago.

CHICAGOLAND airs Thursdays at 10:00pm ET and PT on CNN/U.S.  For more information on the series, please visit www.cnn.com/chicagoland, or connect with the series creators via social media by using #Chicagoland.

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March 20th, 2014
07:30 PM ET

CHICAGOLAND Episode 3: Fireworks debuts tonight at 10pET and PT

As the 4th of July approaches, Mayor Emanuel presides over the naturalization of new citizens and reflects on his own heritage as the son of immigrants.  At the Albany Park Theater Project, Lilia Escobar and JP Marquez perform in “Homeland,” a play about their immigrant experiences – taking their work to the big stage at the Goodman Theater.  Fenger High School Principal Liz Dozier takes one of her culinary graduates to meet award-winning chef Grant Achtaz at his renowned restaurant, Alinea, where he gets a life-changing opportunity.  An explosion of holiday shootings keeps the pressure on Superintendent Garry McCarthy, while trauma surgeon Dr. Andrew Dennis struggles to save a young gunshot victim – only to discover his real story.

Executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, and Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of the Peabody Award-winning team that created BRICK CITY, CHICAGOLAND explores where politics and policy meet real people’s lives in the beloved heartland American city of Chicago.

CHICAGOLAND airs Thursdays at 10:00pm ET and PT on CNN/U.S.  For more information on the series, please visit www.cnn.com/chicagoland, or connect with the series creators via social media by using #Chicagoland.

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March 13th, 2014
09:57 PM ET

CHICAGOLAND – Episode 2: The Champs airs Thursday, March 13

Tonight on CHICAGOLAND, the whole city of Chicago is captivated by the historic playoff run and victory of the NHL Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.  As the plans for the schools closures move ahead, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is criticized for using city funds to develop a new basketball arena for DePaul University and revamp the Navy Pier.  As the seniors at Fenger High School get ready for prom, Principal Liz Dozier questions the school’s plans to organize a peace march after a nearby shooting creates a rise in tensions.  Meanwhile, one of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s top commanders, Police Chief Leo Schmitz, works to help serve and protect the community of Englewood from gang activity.

CNN's original series CHICAGOLAND airs Thursdays at 10:00pm ET and PT.

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February 27th, 2014
09:29 AM ET

CHICAGOLAND Roars on CNN March 6 - From Executive Producers Robert Redford, Laura Michalchyshyn, Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin

Viewers will witness the riveting real-life drama of the non-fiction ensemble series CHICAGOLAND beginning March 6 on CNN/U.S.  Executive produced by the Peabody Award-winning team that produced BRICK CITY, CHICAGOLAND explores the challenges and triumphs of a beloved heartland American city, where a mayor, community organizers, business leaders, teachers, entertainers, and residents unite to make a difference in the lives of Chicagoans.

Executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, and award-winning filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of BCTV,  the series will explore where politics and policy meet real people’s lives – in a city generating change and innovation in social policy, education, and public safety on the local level – to meet national and local challenges.

Each episode in the series will air on eight successive Thursdays, beginning March 6, 2014, at 10:00pm ET and PT.  Beginning Saturday, March 8, the prior week’s episode will encore on Saturdays at 8:00pm and 11:00pm ET and on Sundays at 10:00pm and 1:00am ET.

The vibrant, multidimensional character of the city is punctuated by the rich narration of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mark Konkol.  In his 19-year reporting career, Konkol brought his uniquely incisive reportage to covering Chicago’s neighborhoods, City Hall, and the characters that dwell in them for the Chicago Sun-Times and later for DNAInfo.com.  He infuses his strong, authentic sensibility to CHICAGOLAND.

This intimate series explores Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s complex negotiations with the Chicago Public Schools, as he embarks on an historic schools consolidation plan in order to invest resources in modernizing the city.  Viewers will also meet Fenger High School principal Elizabeth Dozier as she mentors her students and attempts to guide them towards making good life choices.  Police superintendent Garry McCarthy works to keep the peace as the school districts are reshaped, and drills his officers in community policing to address a wave of violence that has captivated national headlines and threatens to rob the city of some of its most promising youth.

Among Chicago’s celebrated citizens, the series introduces viewers to up and coming performer Chance the Rapper, entrepreneur Billy Dec, acclaimed chef/restaurateur Grant Achatz, child schools activist Asean Johnson, and Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis.  Chicago Symphony Orchestra maestro Riccardo Muti, investment executive Mellody Hobson, the rapper Common, former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and NBA stars Dwayne Wade and Isaiah Thomas offer their unforgettable perspectives on their beloved Chicago.

In the days leading up to the premiere, CNN will offer excerpts of this exceptional series and articles related to the critical issues central to the series that reflect similar debates across the country at CNN.com.  Personal iReport stories submitted to CNN, and curated from Instagram users, tagged with #mychicagoland will explore what this remarkable city has meant to people who love Chicago.

Throughout the series run, users will be able to learn about the production from producers of CHICAGOLAND, interact with the CNN Original Series team, and engage with people featured in the series via social media.  Users of Facebook and Twitter can join the real-time conversations on the themes explored each week via CNN’s Facebook page and via Twitter at @CNNOrigSeries by tagging comments and questions with #Chicagoland.

About Sundance Productions

Launched and founded in 2012 by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn, Sundance Productions develops and produces innovative, compelling television content for linear and digital platforms in the U.S. and around the world.  Sundance Productions partners with leading story-tellers, directors, and producers for the production of authentic tentpole series and specials across all platforms.

About Brick City TV

BRICK CITY TV is the production company of multi-award winning filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin.  It was founded in 2008 to create the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated series Brick City and continuing with Chicagoland.  Drawing from documentary, reality, and news, Brick City TV has established itself as a truly innovative non-fiction storyteller.

About CNN Originals and CNN Worldwide

CNN develops original content through strategic partnerships and commissioned productions for television.  Amy Entelis, senior vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, and Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president of development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide, oversee the acquisition strategy of documentaries for CNN.  Malhotra manages the day-to-day operations and works directly with filmmakers to develop original projects.

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media. Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company.

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May 8th, 2013
09:15 AM ET

CNN to Launch New Original Series, CHICAGOLAND, with Executive Producer Robert Redford in 2014

Chicagoland title graphic

Sundance Productions’ CHICAGOLAND is produced by BCTV ‘Brick City’ filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin

Executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, and award-winning filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of BCTV, CHICAGOLAND is a non-scripted, eight-part original series about a heartland American city.  It is as authentic an American city as there is, and the series will explore where politics and policy meet real people’s lives – in a city generating change and innovation in social policy, education, and public safety – to meet national and local challenges.  Preview: http://cnn.it/Ly5zCU

Beginning in early 2014, viewers will watch the riveting, real-life drama of a city looking to unite at this critical moment in the city’s history.   In the aftermath of a countrywide economic collapse, Chicago faces the challenges of improving its public education system, and neighborhood and youth safety.  Can the city’s leaders, communities, and residents come together in ways that expand opportunities and allow aspirations to be realized?

“The vibrant culture and opportunities inherent in this 21st century, world-class city run alongside profound daily challenges,” said Redford.  “Much of it falls on the shoulders of its tough, visionary mayor, his team and people doing heroic work in neighborhoods throughout the city,” continued Redford.  “Chicago has always had a rhythm all its own.  It’s a city that wears its heart on its sleeve and I am honored to be a part of telling this story,” he added. FULL POST

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