CNN Announces 2023 CNN Original Series and CNN Films Slate

By Mark Mwachiro 

CNN unwrapped its 2023 programming lineup for its CNN Original Series and CNN Films, comprising six series and films.

“The smart and captivating projects that make up our 2023 lineup are indicative of what we do best, and we look forward to sharing this slate with our audience,” CNN evp of talent and content development Amy Entelis said in a statement. “Our CNN Original Series and CNN Films and teams are incredibly proud of the work we have created over the last decade, and we are grateful to our producing partners for bringing so many memorable stories to life.”

CNN Original Series’ slate kicks off with Giuliani: What Happened to America’s Mayor?, which premieres with two episodes on Sunday, January 8 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.


Other CNN Original Series coming down the pipeline in 2023 include United States of Scandal with Jake Tapper; and Vegas (w/t), Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico; See it Loud: The History of Black Television, a collaboration with LeBron James’ and Maverick Carter’s The SpringHill Company; and The 2010s, a new installment in the Primetime Emmy Award-nominated Decades Series from executive producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, and Mark Herzog.

On the CNN Films front, there’s Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over directed by Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner, which premieres Sunday, Jan. 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT as part of CNN’s annual New Year’s Year programming.

Other films debuting in 2023 include Blue Carbon (w/t), directed by Emmy and BAFTA winner director Nicolas Brown; Chowchilla (w/t), directed by Paul Solet; American Pain, directed by Emmy winner Darren Foster; Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia, directed by Emmy winner, director Salima Koroma, and Little Richard: I Am Everything, directed by Lisa Cortés.

This will be CNN Films’ final collaboration with outside production and distribution partners due to what CNN CEO Chris Licht described as “the ever-increasing cost of commissioning third-party premium content.”

Licht reiterated that long-form content will still remain an important pillar of CNN programming and has tasked Entelis to look into how the network can approach long-form content in house.

The full slate of CNN Original Series and CNN Films can be seen below.

Giuliani: What Happened to America’s Mayor? — From CNN Original Series and Left/Right, Giuliani: What Happened to America’s Mayor? asks how the man some considered a hero in the aftermath of 9/11 became a key architect of President Donald Trump’s election conspiracies. Weaving together a rich tapestry of archival footage and illuminating interviews with influential friends and former colleagues from his multi-decade career, this four-part series goes behind the scenes to witness Giuliani’s operatic life of victories and defeats from his heyday at the Southern District of New York to his mayoralty and key role in the Trump administration. This revealing series is the definitive telling of the Giuliani story, exposing the psyche of one of America’s most iconic politicians. Giuliani: What Happened to America’s Mayor? will air over two consecutive weekends, launching with two episodes on Sunday, January 8 at 9pm and 10pm ET/PT on CNN.

Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico — This exciting new CNN Original Series follows Longoria as she traverses Mexico exploring one of the most popular and diverse global cuisines. Mexican food can be found in every corner of the world, but its origins tell the story of culture and people deeply connected to the land and spirit of their country. From harvesting blue agave for tequila as the Aztecs once did, to slow cooking traditional mole sauce in Oaxaca, join Longoria as she journeys across the many vibrant regions of Mexico to reveal its unique and colorful cuisines. The series is executive produced by Longoria, Ben Spector, and RAW TV, the film and television company behind the two-time Emmy® Award winning Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.

See It Loud: The History of Black Television — See It Loud: The History of Black Television celebrates the achievements of Black actors and creators, examining the historical impact Black culture has on all culture. Today, we are in the midst of what is widely been referred to as the “Golden Age of Black Television;” however, this “Golden Age” is the culmination of an eighty-year struggle for Black artists to find a voice and fight for representation. Executive produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter with their Emmy® Award-winning studio team at The SpringHill Company, this five-part docuseries explores the vast history of Black television through iconic performances across various genres including sitcoms, comedy, drama, unscripted, variety, and science fiction. Showrunner Jodi Gomes will also executive produce alongside Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron with co-executive producer Courtney Whitaker.

The 2010s — From Emmy® Award-winning executive producersTom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, and Mark Herzog comes a new installment of the beloved “Decades” series: The 2010s. This new chapter will revisit the decade that gave us Instagram, President Barack Obama, marriage equality, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and Trumpism and explore the cultural movements, political uprisings, and technological advances that shaped this era to remember.

United States of Scandal with Jake Tapper – Produced by The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC), a part of Sony Pictures Television, United States of Scandal with Jake Tapper plunges viewers into the swampy hamper of America’s dirty laundry to examine what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they are caught. Hosted by CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, this six-part series goes behind the headlines to investigate the stranger than fiction stories of bombastic and sensational American political scandals. Each episode, Tapper sits down with the individuals at the center of these cultural moments, revealing the personal stories behind the unbelievable rises and Shakespearean downfalls.

Vegas: The Story Of Sin (w/t) — Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment, Vegas: The Story Of Sin (w/t) is a four-part series that showcases the past seventy years of America’s cultural maturation, through the lens of its most unique city: Las Vegas. Featuring the entertainment acts, the visionary businessmen, and the infamous mafia figures that put sin city on the map, this lively series showcases the role Las Vegas played in the most important movements and moments which have shaped American culture as we know it today. Executive Producers are Robert Friedman, Stephen J. Morrison and Mike Powers.

2023 CNN Films titles:
Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over — directors Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner profile the artist behind such timeless hits as “That’s What Friends Are For,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” and “Don’t Make Me Over” in this intimate portrait of the velvet-voiced songstress, who rose to music superstardom from humble beginnings in Jim Crow America. Warwick is the first African American female artist to win a Grammy® Award for Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Performance (“Do You Know The Way To San Jose”). Still recording and touring, she also continues to use her voice to fight for humanitarian causes, civil rights, and HIV/AIDS awareness and compassion. The CNN Films documentary Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over premieres Sunday, January 1, at 9pm ET/PT on CNN, with limited commercial interruption.

American Pain — this jaw-dropping true crime story unfolds across a sundrenched Florida landscape as Emmy® Award-winning director Darren Foster traces the rise and fall of Chris and Jeff George, identical twins who are believed to be America’s most prolific opioid kingpins. In just a few short years of operation, the Georges created one of the largest pill mill empires in the country, attracting clients from around the country and spawning a prescription drug trafficking network with an estimated street value of more than $500M. Weaving together hundreds of hours of wiretap recordings, undercover videos, and exclusive jailhouse interviews with the twins themselves, this fast-paced thriller captures in dramatic detail the greatest drug racket to hit the Sunshine State since the cocaine cowboys of the 1980s. The big difference: this time, the suppliers aren’t some Colombian drug cartel; it’s the US pharmaceutical industry pumping out billions of powerful and addictive pills, unleashing the worst drug epidemic in American history. American Pain is produced by Motto Pictures, Muck Media, and Fishbowl Films for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with TIME Studios.

Blue Carbon (w/t) — This film shines a light on one of our greatest unsung allies in the fight against climate change: “Blue carbon”. This is the term given to three coastal ecosystems – seagrass meadows, mangroves, and tidal marshes – that recently have been found to absorb huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Fringing every continent, these ecosystems sequester two to four times more carbon from the atmosphere than tropical forests, but these vital coastal environments are disappearing at an alarming rate. Produced by Make Waves Media and Tangled Bank Studios and directed by Emmy® and BAFTA winner director Nicolas Brown, Blue Carbon follows Grammy® nominated music producer, DJ and biologist, Jayda G, on an international journey to understand how blue carbon can help communities to reverse the changes caused by global warming. The film weaves together music and science, dance-culture and climate justice, in an immersive film score composed by Grammy® winner and Wu Tang Clan founding member, RZA.

Chowchilla (w/t) — on a hot summer day in 1976, three masked men boarded a school bus in the small town of Chowchilla, California and kidnapped the driver and all twenty-six children aboard. They were then loaded onto soundproofed vans, driven to a remote quarry, and buried in an underground chamber. With air rapidly running out and the roof buckling in, the children managed a harrowing escape. Director Paul Solet goes behind the headlines to explore the strangest mass kidnapping in history, with exclusive interviews from those who lived through it. Chowchilla (w/t) is produced by Zipper Bros Films and Sutter Road Picture Company.

Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia — Emmy® Award-winning director Salima Koroma (Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street) documents the tech-fueled rise and Fyre-style fall of HQ Trivia, the revolutionary “game show on your phone” app that went viral, swept the nation, then crashed and burned. The global live-play game sensation drew millions of daily users to its frenetically fun trivia challenges and cash prizes, attracting celebrity fans including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Kimmel, and Kelly Clarkson. But its success was undone by corporate clashes, cast changes, and a tragic death. This is the story of a startup sh*tshow. Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia is produced by Left/Right.

Little Richard: I Am Everything — Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, and directed by Lisa Cortés, the film tells the story of the black queer origins of rock n’ roll. It explodes the whitewashed canon of American pop music to reveal the innovator – the originator – Richard Penniman. Through a wealth of archive and performance that brings us into Richard’s complicated inner world, the film unspools the icon’s life story with all its switchbacks and contradictions. Weaving together never-before-seen archival footage and personal insights from loved ones, colleagues, as well as cutting edge black and queer scholars, the film reveals how Richard created an art form for ultimate self-expression, yet what he gave to the world he was never able to give to himself. Throughout his life, Little Richard careened like a shiny cracked pinball between God, sex, and rock ‘n roll. The world tried to put him in a box, but Richard was an omni being who contained multitudes – he was unabashedly everything. The film is produced by Robert Friedman, Lisa Cortés, Liz Yale Marsh and Caryn Capotosto and Executive Produced by Dee Rees. Little Richard: I Am Everything will world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in the US Documentary Competition.