October 14th, 2014
11:14 AM ET

Before he was ‘King James’ … MORE THAN A GAME to air on CNN/U.S.


LeBron James documentary airs on CNN/U.S.

Friday, Oct. 24 at 10:00pm ET

Before Cleveland Cavalier fans knew him as ‘King James,’ LeBron James was a member of an elite band of young basketball phenoms known collectively as the ‘Fab Four.’  Together, Sian Cotton, Dru Joyce III, Willie McGhee, and LeBron James were the Shooting Stars – a traveling youth basketball team that began in an Akron, Ohio, Salvation Army gymnasium.

CNN Films Presents: MORE THAN A GAME will air Friday, Oct. 24 at 10:00pm ET and PT on CNN/U.S., just prior to the start of the 2014 – 2015 regular season for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  LeBron James returns to the Cavaliers for his very first regular season home game for his former team on Thursday, Oct. 30 against the New York Knicks.

It all began less than an hour’s drive from Cleveland, ‘in a little gym with a linoleum floor on Maple Street…,’ reminds Dru Joyce II, the father of one of the young men.  Joyce became coach, mentor, and father figure to the four – and later five – legendary team mates, testing their mettle on the court and, off the court, molding them into men. FULL POST

October 2nd, 2014
08:54 AM ET

CNN Announces Top 10 Heroes of 2014



CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, Hosted By Anderson Cooper, Airs Sunday, December 7

Collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation will Continue to Provide Hands-On Support to the 2014 Top 10 Heroes

CNN, the worldwide leader in news, announced today the Top 10 Heroes of 2014, recognizing everyday people who are changing the world. The network also announced that online voting for the “CNN Hero of the Year” opened today, October 2nd, and will run through Sunday, November 16th, at midnight PT. Voters can log on to CNNHeroes.com to cast ballots for their favorite Top 10 Heroes once a day, every day. Social media users can also share their votes on Facebook and Twitter.

Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute will air on Sunday, December 7th, at 8:00pm ET on CNN U.S., and will be simulcast on CNN International and CNN en Español. Hosted by Anderson Cooper, and returning to the iconic American Museum of Natural History in New York City, CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute will honor individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to help improve the lives of others.  Since its inception, CNN Heroes has received tens of thousands of submissions from more than 100 countries and profiled over 200heroes.

“It has been CNN’s great honor for the past eight years to shine a spotlight on these remarkable individuals who are making a difference in their communities and the world,” said Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide. “We are proud to provide a platform for these heroes to share their stories and their important work with our global audiences.”  FULL POST

TERROR AT THE MALL airs on CNN Friday, Sept. 26
September 16th, 2014
04:37 PM ET

TERROR AT THE MALL airs on CNN Friday, Sept. 26

HBO Documentary Film’s chilling inside look at the 49-hour siege of Kenya’s Westgate Mall comes to CNN

One year after the world was shocked by a brazen attack upon the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, CNN/U.S. broadcasts the acclaimed HBO Documentary Film, TERROR AT THE MALL, on Friday, Sept. 26 at 9:00pm and 11:00pm. All times Eastern.

Sometime shortly after noon on Sept. 21, 2013, Al-Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group from Somalia, attacked Westgate Mall in neighboring Kenya. The chilling story of the 49 harrowing hours that followed is told from the vantage point of witnesses and rescuers to the attack, film from more than 100 security cameras revealing hours of previously unaired surveillance video, and photos from survivors taken during the attack.

“That Saturday was really a normal Saturday, like any other Saturday,” recalls survivor Amber Prior, who was at the mall with her six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. FULL POST

September 12th, 2014
06:51 PM ET

Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films Acquire North American Rights to "Sunshine Superman"

World Premiere at the 2014 TIFF; U.S. Premiere at the New York Film Festival on Monday, Oct. 6

The Wagner/Cuban Company's Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films announced today that they have acquired North American rights to SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, a heart-racing documentary portrait of Carl Boenish, "the father of BASE jumping," whose early passion for skydiving led him to ever more spectacular — and dangerous — feats of foot-launched human flight by first-time feature filmmaker Marah Strauch at the Toronto International Film Festival.   Magnolia Pictures has acquired the theatrical, VOD and home entertainment rights; CNN Films has acquired the television broadcast distribution rights.

“Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films are the perfect partners for Sunshine Superman, a film about taking risks and following your dreams,” said Director Marah Strauch. “We are very excited to share our film with people all across the country and to be working with a team that understands the power of documentaries that not only change the world, but also entertain.”

A Scissor Kick Films, Flimmer Films, and Submarine Entertainment Production, SUNSHINE SUPERMAN will make its U.S. debut next month at the prestigious New York Film Festival. CNN Films will broadcast the film exclusively on the network in 2016, following a 2015 theatrical release by Magnolia. FULL POST

September 5th, 2014
02:12 PM ET

Death Row Stories Minimarathon airs Sunday, Sept. 7

CNN will air a minimarathon of episodes from it's compelling, provocative series, DEATH ROW STORIES, beginning at 9:00pmET on Sunday,  Sept. 7.  Viewers will see three episodes that explore three death penalty cases that highlight challenges with the application of the ultimate criminal penalty.

DEATH ROW STORIES is executive produced by Academy® Award-winner Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions, together with executive producer and Academy® Award-winner, Alex Gibney.  Each episode is narrated by Academy® Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon.

  • 9:00pm and 11:00pm: Double Jeopardy – On Mother’s Day in 1985, Fayetteville, North Carolina, was shocked by the brutal murder of an U.S. Army wife and her two young daughters. One year later, a mountain of circumstantial evidence sent U.S. Army sergeant Timothy Hennis to death row for the crime. Eventually, Hennis was freed when that verdict was overturned, but his case later took a unique turn in legal history: Hennis became the only American to be tried and sentenced to death, re‐tried and acquitted, and then re‐tried by the military and given the death sentence. This episode includes the first ever on‐camera interview with the U.S. Military prosecutors of this case. (TRT 60min)
  • 10:00pm and 12:00am: Eye for an Eye In December 1993, 19‐year old Nathan Dunlap hid in the bathroom at a Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant in Aurora, Colorado, and emerged after closing time to commit the worst mass murder in the state’s history, up to that point. Four employees were shot dead; one was severely wounded. Sentenced to death two years later, Dunlap was remorseless, and many agreed the only fitting punishment for his crimes was death. But after 20 years, a diagnosis of severe bi‐polar disorder, and claims that Dunlap’s trial attorneys had not properly represented him, Dunlap’s fate lay in the hands of Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper, Jr. (D) Along with Hickenlooper, former Gov. Bill Ritter, Jr. (D) and former 2014 gubernatorial candidate and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) are interviewed. (TRT 60min)
  • 1:00am: Rough Justice in the Big Easy In December 1984, a prominent young businessman was robbed and killed outside of his New Orleans apartment. A month later, police arrested a small-time drug dealer named John Thompson, who had sold the murder weapon on the black market. Prosecutors for the office of District Attorney Harry Connick Sr., quickly secured a conviction for first-degree murder. An unrelated carjacking charge helped ensure Thompson’s ticket to death row. Thompson was just three weeks away from execution when Elisa Abolafia, a private investigator, discovered evidence that would lead to his freedom. (TRT 60min)

Viewers can connect with the series via Twitter by using #DeathRowStories and following @CNNOrigSeries.


September 3rd, 2014
04:53 PM ET

Was Boston’s Most Notorious Gangster an Informant?

WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger set to premiere on CNN on Thursday, Sept. 18

Long before he became the top dog of the “Winter Hill Gang” mob, James “Whitey” Bulger’s ‘resume’ already included tenure as an inmate at Alcatraz – an infamous maximum security federal penitentiary that was reserved for the nation’s most dangerous felons. Later, for nearly 30 years, Bulger frightened, threatened, intimidated, murdered, extorted, dealt drugs to, and robbed residents of Boston. The South Boston native is suspected of taking part in 19 murders – seven by his own hand – executed with such brutality that Bulger was at one point second only to Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list.

CNN Films’ WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger is a revelatory nonfiction feature film that follows the sensational 2013 trial of the notorious mob boss. Produced by Radical Media, in association with Third Eye Motion Picture Company, this riveting, two-hour film is directed and produced by Joe Berlinger and produced by Caroline Suh. It will premiere at 9:00pm and 11:00pm Eastern on Thursday, Sept. 18, on CNN/U.S..

Using the courtroom action as a springboard to examine accusations of multifaceted corruption within our nation’s law enforcement and legal systems, the film explores new evidence that Bulger may have been aided and abetted by our nation’s top law enforcement agencies that knew about his crimes – and even helped cover them up.

The film includes the voice of James Bulger himself, in his first-ever media interview. Bulger, who responds to questions via telephone with his defense attorney J.W. Carney, Jr., for the film, discusses his relationships with investigators, his negotiations with prosecutors, and his proposal to plead guilty in an attempt to absolve his long-time girlfriend, Catherine Greig, with whom he lived as a fugitive for more than 15 years.

“The goal of including Bulger in the film was not to take sides or to diminish his crimes,” says director Joe Berlinger. “Bulger is a brutal killer and deserves to be behind bars. However, the families of the victims deserve to hear why Bulger was allowed to kill with impunity.”

The production team embedded for months with victims’ families, FBI agents, Massachusetts State Police, federal prosecutors, Bulger’s defense attorneys, and former gangsters, for extraordinary access to explore the allegations of corruption within the highest levels of law enforcement. The film pulls back the curtain on long-held Bulger mythology, detailing shocking, new allegations of collusion, and accusations of federal and police corruption.

“What makes this trial extraordinary – and really crazy – is the defense is defending him from an assertion that he was an informant– even though it is not a charge...It’s not about guilt or innocence in this trial. It’s about his legacy – of wanting to establish he wasn’t a tout, a rat, an informant…,” David Boeri, senior reporter for Boston’s WBUR radio says in the film.

“We commissioned this film as a way to present – and challenge – the allegations of conspiracy and government and police corruption that have surrounded this case,” said Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president for development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide.   “Berlinger and his team have masterfully woven multiple perspectives of the Whitey Bulger case into a provocative story of crime and punishment.” FULL POST

August 15th, 2014
11:35 AM ET

Flight from Terror: New CNN special report takes viewers inside dramatic rescue from Iraq's Mt. Sinjar

What started off as an aid drop for a vulnerable population fleeing persecution at the hands of ISIS unexpectedly turned into a dramatic and chaotic rescue mission that has become a defining moment for a country on the brink of collapse.

CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson and his team, which includes Emmy-nominated photojournalist Mark Phillips, were on board the Iraqi relief helicopter making a supply drop to desperate Yazidis seeking refuge from ISIS on Mt. Sinjar. As the chopper touched down, it was rushed by these frantic refugees begging for rescue. Among them, a girl in purple with tears streaming down her face - 15-year-old Aziza. Separated from her father back on Mt. Sinjar, her story has captured the world's attention.

But as Watson reported after the rescue, getting off the mountain – either by air or on foot – is only half the battle. Where do the Yazidis go now? In a breathtaking half hour, CNN takes you behind the scenes of the dramatic rescue from Mt. Sinjar as people embark on a flight from terror.  FULL POST

August 14th, 2014
03:27 PM ET

THE SIXTIES series finale: Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll airs tonight at 9pm Eastern

The final episode of the now Emmy® award-nominated THE SIXTIES explores the counterculture, the legendary music, and the sweeping political change that ushered out the decade.

The fundamental changes in American culture in the 1960s influenced global changes in the ways people viewed authority, war, societal norms, and the practice of populist politics. Tom Wolfe, Jann Wenner, Grace Slick, Graham Nash, Michael Butler and James Rado, Douglas Brinkley, Mark Kurlansky, Ric Burns, Vincent Bugliosi, and others review how the beatniks and folk music scene of the early ‘60s evolved to the hippies and psychedelic rock of the later years. They also explore how Haight-Ashbury, “the Summer of Love” and Woodstock, Andy Warhol, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Yippies, Dead-Heads, Charles Manson, and Hell’s Angels became enduring counter-cultural touchstones.

THE SIXTIES: Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll debuts Thursday, Aug. 14 at 9:00pm Eastern.

During the broadcast, former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank and rock journalist David Wild will answer viewers' questions via Facebook.   Viewers can also interact with the series producers via Twitter by following @TheSixtiesCNN and @HerzogCo and using #TheSixtiesCNN.


August 13th, 2014
11:39 AM ET

Her new mission: retired U.S. Navy SEAL fights for transgender acceptance in new CNN Film

World television premiere of LADY VALOR: The Kristin Beck Story is Thursday, Sept. 4

Despite 20 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, including 13 tours of combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kristin Beck says that her struggles for acceptance and respect as a transgender American represent her most difficult mission.  Beck is a highly-decorated veteran who once stood atop Saddam Hussein’s palace, trained in special tactical warfare, and served on SEAL Team 1, SEAL Team 5, and SEAL Team 6 as senior chief Christopher Beck of the U.S. Navy.

Executive produced by Herzog & Company (HCO) in association with Easy Day Media Group, LADY VALOR: The Kristin Beck Story, is produced by Mark Herzog and Christopher G. Cowen and directed by Sandrine Orabona and Mark Herzog.  The two-hour film will premiere on CNN/U.S. on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 9:00pm and 11:00pm Eastern.

In 2013, approximately 18 months after her retirement from active service, Beck was the first person to come out publicly as a transgender former Navy SEAL in an extended profile on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° – surprising friends, colleagues, and family.  She also disclosed her identity on LinkedIn.   While many around her have been supportive, some have expressed more bigotry than she ever expected.

“CNN Films is proud to have commissioned such a unique and important film.  LADY VALOR is a powerful statement on our preconceived notions and prejudices of transgender Americans.  Kristin Beck is a dynamic individual, whose outspoken voice allows us a deeper understanding of such an emotionally intense, personal transformation,” said Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president of development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide. FULL POST

August 7th, 2014
08:41 PM ET

Then vs. Now: The Times, They are A-Changin' debuts in tonight's SIXTIES at 9pm

The genesis of the social and political currents that dominate today’s headlines began in the 1960s.  The influences of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring influenced environmental activism; Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique influenced feminist activism.  Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative, and the so-called Stonewall riots, were also kickstarters to cultural and political change.   Feminist icons Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, Marlo Thomas, and journalists Gail Collins and Douglas Brinkley, along with Barney Frank, Robert Kennedy, Jr., and others explore the beginnings of the women’s, environmental, conservative, and gay movements – and how the 1960's altered how Americans worked, loved, lived, and looked at each other.

THE SIXTIES: The Times, They are A-Changin' debuts Thursday, Aug. 7 at 9:00pm and will encore at 12:00am.  All times Eastern.

During the broadcast, CNN Crossfire host S.E. Cupp and CNN contributor and ESPN columnist LZ Granderson will answer viewers' questions via Facebook.   Viewers can also interact with the series producers via Twitter by following @TheSixtiesCNN and @HerzogCo and using #TheSixtiesCNN.


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