CNN to Air Documentaries Previously Released in Theaters

"March of the Penguins" will be the first film to debut under a new banner for acquisitions.

CNN has launched a new brand for acquired documentaries called "CNN Films Presents."

The sister brand to CNN Films will air feature-length documentaries that have previously played in theaters. All CNN Films Presents documentaries will be acquired. The new banner represents a formalization of CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker's strategy to expand the network's documentary footprint.

The genre this year has performed well for CNN; the TV premiere of Blackfish, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite's feature-length documentary about Sea World's Tilikum and the ethics of captive orcas, brought a much younger audience to CNN when it bowed on the network in early November. And Tom Hanks and Gary Geotzman's JFK assassination installment of The Sixties beat out the cable news competition among viewers 25-54, news' target demographic. Next year, CNN will air more documentary films, which have aired on Thursday nights on the network when they do not conflict with live breaking news needs. And Zucker also is expected to revamp CNN's primetime lineup, which currently includes two iterations of Anderson Cooper's program with Piers Morgan's interview show at 9 p.m.   

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The first CNN Films Presents documentary to air on the network will be the Oscar-winning March of the Penguins, narrated by Morgan Freeman, which will debut on CNN on Jan. 2.

The second CNN Films Presents broadcast will be The Imposter, a British-American co-production about a young Frenchman who pretended to be a Texas teenager who went missing in 1994. The Imposter will air on Jan. 23.

"CNN Films Presents is a curated series of exceptional documentary feature films from the past for a new audience to discover and for fans to enjoy again," Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president of development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide said in a statement. "We will revisit classics like March of the Penguins, and more recent critically acclaimed titles like The Imposter."