CNN and Spacey will debut a six-part documentary series in 2016 that examines individual campaigns for president of the United States, a sign the Time Warner-owned cable-news network will continue to highlight its original programming as TV networks begin to talk more seriously with Madison Avenue for this year’s upfront marketplace.
The series, currently titled “Race for the White House,” will use previously unseen archive footage, interviews with key players and dramatic re-creations to tell the story of a specific campaign for the U.S. presidency. Spacey will narrate each episode.
The original series will be executive produced by Spacey and Dana Brunetti, and co-produced by Raw and Trigger Street Productions.
“When we created the CNN Original Series brand, this is exactly the type of programming we had in mind, and ‘Race for the White House’ will be the perfect complement to our coverage of the 2016 campaigns and election,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, in a prepared statement.
Since Zucker took the reins of the network in 2013, CNN has placed increasing emphasis on a rotating series of documentary-style programs that run in primetime. Under Zucker’s aegis, CNN has enlisted hosts like Mike Rowe, John Walsh, Lisa Ling, Morgan Spurlock and Anthony Bourdain to lead series that rely on nonfiction and investigation. The network has also commissioned or aired a number of documentary films.
Executives believe the original fare may help the network woo more advertising from sponsors who may be leery of appearing during breaking-news coverage. CNN will be one of dozens of TV networks seeking dollars from advertisers as part of the upfront, an annual process during which U.S. TV outlets try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory.
Raw, founded in 2001, is a production house focused on factual entertainment and current affairs. Trigger Street is the production house founded by Spacey and Brunetti.