Vanity Fair To Launch First-Ever TV Series On Investigation Discovery

Vanity Fair is set to launch its first-ever TV series, “Vanity Fair Confidential,” on Discovery Communication’s Investigation Discovery network in the fourth quarter of this year.

To produce the one-hour episodes, ID producers will comb through Vanity Fair’s archives for some of the storied Conde Nast magazine’s most in-depth investigations, and then bring them to television – all with the writer of the story on hand as a primary source. The first cycle will consist of 13 episodes, and ”we are already looking at a second season,” said Henry Schleiff, a Discovery group president who supervises the network, in an interview.

ID’s interest in the series is explained quite simply, said Schleiff: The network, which has been riding a ratings surge in recent years, wanted a show that would offer a complex mystery as well as a deeper look at the circumstances behind it.

“The art of investigative journalism is almost a dying art, if you will – practiced by an increasingly fewer number, and few have the ability or the resources to participate in smart, really in-depth journalism,” he said. “Our audience is a smart audience, and they have the ability to follow an increasingly complicated and complex set of facts.”

Among the Vanity Fair writers slated to appear in episodes are Bryan Burrough, perhaps best known for his seminal work “Barbarians at the Gate,” and investigative journalist Mark Seal.

TV networks have featured Vanity Fair specials in the past, but not an entire series derived from the magazine’s storytelling, said Dawn Ostroff, president of Conde Nast Entertainment, in an interview. Interest in the idea was intense, she said. The publisher had a “bidding war” going on among three different suitors. In the end, Scheliff and his team “felt like their network would really speak to the audience who are interested in these stories, and were looking for very  high-end, quality ways to tell stories,” she said. Schleiff “was very aggressive about wanting to get this show on the air.”

Another relationship may have helped put the program on ID. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and Discovery CEO David Zaslav are acquaintances, both Schleiff and Ostroff said, and their relationship provided a degree of comfort that the new show would have a good home at ID.

Conde Nast will retain foreign rights to distribute the program, Ostroff said, as well as ownership of the program.

The program will strike a different chord among true-crime aficionados, said Schleiff. “To have these stories told in the words and from the perspective of the actual journalist who spent months and maybe years pursuing a particular story – I think what we get there is something that is unique,” he said.

More TV

  • Russell Tovey on His 'Arrogant and

    Russell Tovey on His 'Arrogant and Heroic' 'Years and Years' Character

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the fourth episode of “Years and Years.” Russell T. Davies’ limited series “Years and Years” began with a birth, but it did not wait until the finale to book-end the story with a death. In the fourth episode of the multi-year spanning family drama, [...]

  • Hugh GRant photographed by Shayan Asgharnia

    Listen: Hugh Grant on Why He Would Kill Social Media if He Could

    Hugh Grant has been very active in U.K. press reform initiatives, but he knows the problem is even bigger than the media moguls who control the world’s major news outlets. That’s why Hacked Off, the campaign he’s involved with, is also expanding its scope to include the impact of online propaganda. “It’s particularly terrifying, the [...]

  • Veronica Mars -- "Heads You Lose"

    TV Review: 'Veronica Mars' Season 4

    “Veronica Mars” was a slap to the face of high school dramas when it premiered on UPN in 2004. Creator Rob Thomas took the well-worn “who killed the pretty teenager?” whodunnit and hard-boiled it, following a traumatized girl desperately trying to harden herself to the world’s harsh realities as she tried to solve the case. [...]

  • Norah O'Donnell Invokes Edward R. Murrow

    Norah O'Donnell Invokes Edward R. Murrow to Launch New Era at 'CBS Evening News'

    Though Norah O’Donnell had her first turn as anchor of “CBS Evening News” Monday night, she didn’t rely on any attention-grabbing tricks to carry the day. There was no flashy drawing board, no rattling off of unsettling, urgent headlines and no wrap-up of the day with a mawkish end segment calling up some element of [...]

  • Alton Brown

    TV News Roundup: Food Network Announces Premiere Date of 'Good Eats: The Return'

    In today’s roundup, Showtime releases a full-length trailer for “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” and Food Network announces the return of Alton Brown’s “Good Eats.”  DATES After taking a break from the series, Alton Brown will bring “Good Eats” back to Food Network’s primetime lineup with “Good Eats: The Return.”  In its first [...]

  • 9-1-1: Angela Bassett in the series

    Fox Sees Primetime, Sports Ad Gains As TV Upfront Wraps

    Fox Corporation is the latest to benefit from stronger-than-expected trends in TV ad spending, as the company notched strong gains in advertising commitments for its next cycle of programming – its first since selling off a large chunk of its media assets to Walt Disney. Ad demand was stronger than many executives anticipated, according to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content