November 20th, 2020

CNN Films Acquires ‘PRESIDENT IN WAITING’; Sets Dec. 5th Premiere

Now-President-Elect Joe Biden discusses his relationship with President Obama and key events that shaped his Vice Presidency; All Six Living American Vice Presidents interviewed about their roles


CNN Films announced today the acquisition of the documentary feature PRESIDENT IN WAITING from director Jeffrey Roth (41, The Wonder of it All).  Roth also wrote and produced the film with Paul Basta of Playground ProductionsStephen Beck is executive producer.  Now-President-Elect Joe Biden discusses his deliberation in accepting his nomination of Vice President, and explores in detail, his relationship with President Barack Obama, and the key counsel he offered at pivotal moments during their time in office.  CNN Films has acquired linear television rights throughout North America for the feature; the film will premiere Saturday, Dec. 5 at 9:00pm Eastern on CNN.

“CNN Films is known for premiering important stories of the day that impact our country, so I couldn’t be more thrilled for the film to have this opportunity,” said director Jeffrey Roth.

Roth interviewed all six living Vice Presidents, including Joe Biden (now President-Elect),  assembling for the first time in a film, the former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, along with Vice Presidents, Mike Pence, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Dan Quayle, and Walter Mondale.  Exceptionally relevant to the current political moment, PRESIDENT IN WAITING is an intimate and illuminating examination of the relationships between the American President and Vice President, and their views of the power of the Vice Presidency, in their own words.

Each exclusive interview reveals the singular forces that shaped the tenures of these Vice Presidents, from war to diplomacy to political crises and defining decisions, and illustrates how the modern Vice Presidency has evolved to become one of the most powerful political offices in the land.  The documentary is a blend of contemporary interviews, footage of events, and evocative photographs and other archival media that document the central role of the men at the heart of American power.

“Jeffrey Roth’s storytelling and his ability to bring this incredible cast of subjects together on film, make PRESIDENT IN WAITING essential viewing,” said Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films.  “Everyone wanting to better understand contemporary American history will want to see Jeffrey’s thoughtful film,” she said.

The deal announced today was negotiated by Josh Braun, Matt Burke, and Ben Schwartz of Submarine Entertainment, on behalf of the filmmakers, and by Stacey Wolf, senior vice president of business affairs, and Kelly MacLanahan, assistant general counsel, both of CNN Worldwide, on behalf of CNN Films.  Submarine presented the film to international buyers at American Film Market (AFM) last week.

During the Saturday, Dec. 5 television premiere, PRESIDENT IN WAITING will stream live for subscribers via CNNgo ( and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV, and Android TV) and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android.  The film will be available on demand beginning Sunday, Dec. 6, via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms, and CNN mobile apps through Saturday, Dec. 12.

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About CNN Films

CNN Films produces and acquires documentary feature and short films for theatrical and festival exhibition and distribution across CNN’s multiple platforms.  Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development, oversees the strategy for CNN Films; Courtney Sexton, senior vice president for CNN Films, works day-to-day with filmmakers to oversee projects.  For more information about CNN Films, please visit and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter.  Recent acclaimed CNN Films include the Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning RBG, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen; Emmy® Award-nominated LOVE, GILDA, directed by Lisa D’Apolito; the Emmy® Award-nominated Three Identical Strangers, directed by Tim Wardle; and the Emmy® Award-winning APOLLO 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller.


About Playground Productions

Playground Productions is a Los Angeles-based documentary production company founded by Jeffrey Roth. “The Wonder of it All,” a theatrical release about the Apollo astronauts that walked on the moon was followed by “41” for HBO, and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub. The company’s latest film “President in Waiting” is the story of the vice presidency told by every living Vice President and former President.

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