Coming off of a ratings bounce from its documentary premiere “OJ: Trial of a Century,” Investigation Discovery is diving deeper into longform docs with three new titles on tap: “A Question of Innocence,” “The Joe Show” and “Hate in America.”
Each of the films is meant to “act as a catalyst to informed debate” on a controversial issue, says Henry Schleiff, group president of Investigation Discovery, Destination America, American Heroes Channel and Discovery Fit & Health.
The cabler’s ID Films banner is designed to pursue projects that spark discussion and inspire the audience to consider their position on a range of issues.
“We are so busy with our daily lives that sometimes these issues arise and we can have an impact,” remarked Schleiff.
“A Question of Innocence,” which bows July 11, takes a look at the death penalty in the United States by centering on Tommy Zeigler who, now 68, has been on death row in Florida for almost four decades. While new evidence has surfaced that may prove Zeigler’s innocence, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has is campaigning to accelerate the schedule of upcoming executions. Narrated by Bruce Greenwood (“Star Trek Into Darkness”), “A Question of Innocence” does not take a position on the issue, but presents the facts to the audience, exposing the justice system to the public eye. “We want to show examples of arguments that can be made on either side,” said Schleiff.
Premiering later this year, “The Joe Show” tells the story of Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio (pictured), who has become nationally famous for his theatrical approach to law enforcement while critics say he tramples on civil rights. Investigation Discovery has acquired the pic from filmmaker Randy Murray.
“Hate in America,” fronted by Al Jazeera America anchor Tony Harris, takes a look at modern-day racism, speaking to both criminals and victims of hate to shine a light on the reality of race relations. Schleiff cited the recent furor over baldly racist remarks from former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling as an example of the type of issue to be examined in the doc.
“One of the things we want to look at in Hate in America’ is how somebody like that can make a statement — how anyone can make a statement or feel that way in this day and age,” he said.
“Hate in America” is expected to premiere in early 2015.