When Al Jazeera America launched in August, it left open the question of how the new cable news network would handle its documentary programming, something fellow news channel CNN has embraced doing with high profile premieres like "Blackfish" and "Pandora's Promise." Al Jazeera America did hire execs Kathy Davidov and Cynthia Kane to produce, commission and acquire docs and doc series on topics like immigration, education, poverty, healthcare and the justice system.
Today, Variety's reporting some of the documentary programming the network has slated, and it includes series from the likes of Alex Gibney and Joe Berlinger. Here are the projects mentioned, the first the channel has directly commissioned.
"The System with Joe Berlinger" kicks off on March 16, with following episodes airing on 23 and 30, and explores cases of alleged injustices in the U.S. system (like the one documented in Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's "Paradise Lost" trilogy), including the points of view of the victims, criminals and members of law-enforcement. It's produced for Al Jazeera America by Radical Media.
"Borderland" is a four-part series following six Americans who attempt to retrace the path taken by three migrants who died trying to cross to the U.S. from Mexico. The series is intended to draw attention to the over 5,000 people who've perished trying to make a similar journey in the past 15 years. It will debut on Sunday, April 6th at 9pm ET, and the network is likely to broadcast a "reunion" show reflecting on the experience. It's produced by Australian independent production company "In Films" in association with Muck Media in L.A.
"Edge of Eighteen" is an investigation of the lives of 18 high school students across the U.S., as reported and recorded by them. It's executive produced by Alex Gibney (who also has a docuseries, "Death Row Stories," at CNN) and Jigsaw Productions. No premiere date was mentioned.