CNN will begin airing more HBO documentaries as a way to bolster its weekend programming. On Saturday, Sept.1, it will start with “41,” which features an interview with Pres. George H.W. Bush at Kennebunkport, Maine and aired on HBO in June.
The next day, CNN will air “Teddy: In His Own Words,” a 2009 documentary about the late Ted Kennedy.
HBO and CNN are both part of the Time Warner family so this is one strong brand helping a troubled one. CNN, whose ratings have flagged of late, is aggressively seeking more interesting weekend programming, adding Anthony Bourdain and Morgan Spurlock to its mix starting next year.
According to the New York Times, CNN has dipped into HBO’s trove of documentaries and sports programming before, with “Citizen USA,” about new American citizens, and “Triangle: Remembering the Fire,” about the fatal 1911 fire at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City.
Mark Whitaker, executive vice president of CNN Worldwide, told the New York Times that HBO is willing to relinquish its documentaries because, unlike its scripted series such as “Game of Thrones” or “True Blood,” they are made for prestige, not ratings or as a massive magnet in subscribers.
“I think their view is that they’ve already made the investment and the filmmakers have made the investment and they’d like to see the work get more exposure,” Mr. Whitaker said.
Here’s the over-arching, big-picture CNN story I wrote over the weekend.
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, CNN
“Teddy: In His Own Words”
8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, CNN
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk