There’s a lot of mystery in “Forensic Files,” but not too much behind the decision by the cable network that airs the series to keep it going longer.
CNN has renewed its license with the long-running series’ original producer, Medstar, to produce new episodes of “Forensic Files II” through 2024, according to Nancy Duffy, senior vice president of program development for CNN, and executive producer of the series. “It’s a real binge-worthy kind of vehicle,” she says, in an interview — and fares well in both linear showings and on the streaming platforms of parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.
HLN will run eight new half-hour episodes as part of its renewal pact. In the first new one, a 24-year-old old criminology student who left a SoHo bar intoxicated is found raped, murdered handcuffed, gagged, and wrapped in a blanket alongside a road in East New York, Brooklyn. Police investigate everyone at the bar to find the killer.
The original “Forensic Files” series, created by Paul Dowling, stopped production in 2011. Even so, it has become a staple of HLN, which at one point was running 65 to 70 hours of reruns each week. As the network once known as CNN Headline News tilted more towards true-crime programming, with programs such as “Very Scary People” and “How It Really Happened,” executives felt new episodes of the series might just prove as attractive as the old ones. HLN began running new episodes in 2020
“We did not want to reinvent ‘Forensic Files’” says Duffy. “We really wanted to keep to the classic. We really just upgraded it in terms of video — we shoot in 4K — and some of the bells and whistles that TV now uses, but we do keep very strictly to the format.”
Indeed, key to winning the bidding to reintroduce the series in 2020 was a promise to its Dowling’s Medstar Television of Allentown, PA, that HLN would refresh the series without gutting many of its most familiar elements. Most of the new pieces, says Duffy, have to do with modern crimefighting techniques and use of modern technology. One new episode, for example, relied on sonar that is used to find things deep under the ocean.
“The technology just keeps advancing,” she says. “Sometimes, the solution to the crime is a device that’s not even created for crime-solving. That’s what makes the show so interesting.”
“Forensic Files ll” will stream live for pay TV subscribers via CNN.com and CNN OTT and mobile apps under “TV Channels” or CNNgo where available. Ahead of the broadcast premiere and beginning July 22, one episode will be available on demand to pay TV subscribers via CNN.com, CNN apps, and from cable operators. Remaining episodes will be available on demand the day after their broadcast premiere.
HLN will air a Forensic Files “Mega Marathon” where viewers can watch the legacy Forensic Files series from the beginning starting July 18 at 11am eastern. On Sunday, July 24 and Sunday, July 31, HLN viewers can catch up on previous episodes of “Forensic Files II” beginning at 12 noon eastern.
(Above, pictured: Nancy Duffy)