CBS News Launches See It Now Studios, a New In-House Production Shop Led by Susan Zirinsky

By A.J. Katz 

Wondering what Susan Zirinsky has been up to since moving on from the CBS News president role at the end of April?

Today, we found out.

ViacomCBS announced Wednesday that CBS News is launching See It Now Studios, a new content provider that will produce news, documentary and unscripted programming for Paramount+, CBS, the ViacomCBS family of networks, international broadcasters and other content platforms.

Zirinsky will run the operation.

“See It Now Studios will deliver premium, impactful non-fiction series and unscripted programming,” Zirinsky said in a statement. “We’ve got a slate of powerful projects that use immersive storytelling to illuminate people and places that rarely grant access. These are strong, story-driven projects, with engaging narratives and compelling characters that will keep viewers watching. All told through with the high-quality standards set by CBS News.”

See It Now Studios will develop original documentaries and docuseries, and will be an in-house pipeline for Paramount+, CBS and ViacomCBS networks. The unit will also produce for third-party platforms and partner on projects with outside production companies. See It Now Studios’ productions will be distributed globally by the ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.

The studio will also create spinoffs of CBS News brands, building on the reporting and resources of CBS News, and produce “insta-docs” in the wake of monumental current events in collaboration with CBS News presidents and co-heads Neeraj Khemlani and Wendy McMahon.

Joining Zirinsky in See It Now Studios are senior ep of content oversight Terence Wrong, and Aysu Saliba as supervising producer, development. Grace Kim is the unit’s production manager and Amy Gardner is an associate producer. Executive producer Mitch Weitzner, Sasha Reuther and Danielle Levy will also contribute to See It Now Studios.

See It Now Studios has a full slate of productions set for 2021 and beyond, with the first two documentaries focusing on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

On Thursday, Sept. 9, Paramount+ will stream the See It Now Studios production The 26th Street Garage: The FBI’s Untold Story. Narrated by Tom Selleck, who plays New York’s police commissioner on CBS’ Blue Bloods, The 26th Street Garage features the story of how, in the desperate moments after the 9/11 attacks, the FBI was forced to evacuate its New York headquarters and, with no resources, transformed its parking garage into a new command center. There, the agents tackled disturbing questions, such as: Could the attacks have been prevented? But within hours, from the 26th Street garage, agents launched the FBI’s most complex and important investigation in U.S. history. In the days that followed, they rewrote the rules for counter-terrorism operations forever.

On Friday, Sept. 10, CBS News will present a two-hour primetime documentary special, Race Against Time: The CIA and 9/11 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.  The See It Now Studios production will feature interviews from the top officials and elite operatives inside the CIA, who give first-person accounts of their efforts to warn the U.S. about the potential of a cataclysmic attack orchestrated by Osama bin Laden. Sept. 11, 2001 marked the greatest failure in the history of the nation’s premiere spy agency, but also sparked what became its greatest success, helping find Bin Laden. For the spies inside the CIA, it was a race against time to get Bin Laden, and that race began long before 9/11 and ended long after. Emerging from the top-secret corridors of Langley and covert operations in faraway places, they come to tell their story—many for the first time.

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