May 08, 2013 5:45am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Robert Redford, CNN Join Forces for Chicago-Centric Series
CNN is heading to the Windy City.
The cable news network has greenlighted Chicagoland, an unscripted series executive produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn of Sundance Productions and Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin of BCTV.
The eight-part series, debuting early next year, aims to "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."
Specifically, CNN says the show will give viewers an inside look at the city's leaders and residents as they work to improve its public education system as well as neighborhood and youth safety.
Redford says Chicago has "a rhythm all its own" and "wears its heart on its sleeve."
"The vibrant culture and opportunities inherent in this 21st century, world-class city run alongside profound daily challenges," he adds. "Much of it falls on the shoulders of its tough, visionary mayor, his team and people doing heroic work in neighborhoods throughout the city."
Amy Entelis, senior vp talent and content development at CNN Worldwide, calls the show "unique," adding that it is "a creative exploration of stories relevant to every city and every American."
Vinnie Malhotra, senior vp development and acquisitions at CNN Worldwide, adds that the show will reach CNN viewers worldwide.
"Chicagoland will be shared with CNN's global audience -- and supported by supplemental reporting on the critical issues explored in the series," he says.
Redford and Michalchyshyn launched Sundance Productions last year to develop and produce content for TV and digital platforms. Credits include Discovery Channel's recent documentary All the President's Men Revisited.
Levin and Benjamin are the filmmakers behind Sundance Channel's Brick City, centering on the efforts of the citizens of Newark, N.J., and Mayor Cory Booker to fight violence, poverty and corruption.