On the heels of bringing in new documentary television series, CNN today announced a new CNN Films division that will bring feature-length documentaries to the news network.
The films division will acquire existing documentaries with a social, political, and economic edge to them in addition to generating original features. The network has already inked deals with Oscar-winner Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side" and "Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room") and Andrew Rossi ("Page One: Inside The New York Times") to create the latter.
“CNN Films will bring distinguished, thought-provoking documentary programming to our global audiences on all our television, online and mobile platforms,” said Mark Whitaker, CNN Worldwide managing editor. “We want these documentaries to tell compelling stories and stimulate important discussions across CNN’s other programs and websites.”
The news network already has deals in place with Travel Channel star Anthony Bourdain ("No Reservations") and "Super Size Me"'s Morgan Spurlock to bring new politically and socially conscious series to the network. While Bourdain's series will continue in the vein of his Travel Channel adventures, Spurlock's "Inside Man" will concentrate on various topics from hospice care workers to migrant farmers. The films division will no doubt expand on this original content and present more diverse programming on the network.
It certainly seems that CNN is feeling the pressure of falling behind in the news network ratings. Is the answer more commentary and less news?