CNN Unveils Slate of New Original Shows, Including Vox Media Production

CNN President Jeff Zucker attends CNN Heroes Gala 2016 - Getty-EMBED 2018
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CNN president Jeff Zucker described the current media climate as "the heyday of cable news, there's no question" during a March 22 conference held by the Financial Times

Vox Entertainment is producing a four-part show on fashion called 'American Style.'

On Wednesday, CNN announced plans for six new original series next year, including shows about former President Richard Nixon and the Bush family.

One of the six is a four-part show, American Style, produced by Vox Media's programming division, Vox Entertainment. The show "examines how America’s changing style through the decades has mirrored the political, social, and economic climate of the time, shaping our unique American identity," and represents a high-profile offering for the digital media company's linear programming ambitions.

Longtime CNN fixture Dr. Sanjay Gupta is slated for a six-part travel series called Chasing Life With Sanjay Gupta.

The other shows on tap include Tricky Dick, a four-part show on Nixon, and a new edition of the American Dynasties series that will focus on "the Bush family’s complex internal dynamics, fraternal rivalries, influential matriarchs and extreme competitive spirit."

The network also announced plans for Once in a Great City: Detroit 1962-64 and an eight-part show called The Redemption Project that will bring together the victims and perpetrators of "life-altering" crimes.

CNN Original shows Parts Unknown, United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell, This Is Life With Lisa Ling, The History of Comedy and Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies are also returning for additional seasons.

While CNN's news programming and relentless coverage of Donald Trump's presidency (and the scandals that have emerged from it) dominate the network's airwaves, original entertainment programming is still a big part of the network's strategy, the company has said.

Former CBS News president Andrew Heyward, as part of a feature story about CNN's programming choices, credited the network for continuing a commitment to producing new entertainment programs.

"If they were purely chasing ratings, they could just stay with more Trump coverage," Heyward said. "In a world that lives month to month, quarter to quarter, they also want to make sure there's a reason to stay there when the Trump obsession is no longer relevant."

But, a CNN employee pointed out that Trump's tendency to make news at all times of the day makes it difficult for the network to stick to non-news programming sometimes.

"It's been a challenge for the programming people now with Trump because he breaks news with a tweet on a Sunday night, and all the sudden we're embroiled in a constitutional crisis and we can't not cover that," the longtime senior producer said for the story.