CNN Begins Adding New Shows at 8pm

By Chris Ariens 

With last week’s announcement that Campbell Brown would be departing CNN, the network has programmed several specials for her 8pmET hour next month.

Next Wednesday and Thursday, the network will air Dr. Sanjay Gupta specials titled “Toxic America.” The two-night investigation looks into the effect toxic chemicals have on our health. Later in the month, Soledad O’Brien’s “In America” unit will debut a documentary called “Gary & Tony Have a Baby” about a gay couple who spend a small fortune to have a child.

In a press release about the new docs, CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein writes, “At a time when the broadcast and cable news networks have essentially walked away from true documentary development, CNN will continue to invest in enterprise and investigative reporting, which we think is critical to the future of quality journalism.”

CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein announced today that in June, CNN will present four landmark documentaries covering such controversial and significant issues as the impact of toxic chemicals on our health, a gay couple’s journey to marriage and a baby, an investigation into one of the nation’s most shocking crime stories, and on Fathers’ Day, a heartwarming look at a dad, who faced with cancer, seeks alternative ways to insure his twin daughters are taken care of in the event he dies. The documentaries will be reported by chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien.

“At a time when the broadcast and cable news networks have essentially walked away from true documentary development, CNN will continue to invest in enterprise and investigative reporting, which we think is critical to the future of quality journalism,” said Klein. “Too often, the other cable news networks either ignore these important topics or reduce them to a partisan argument. Our goal is to offer in-depth documentaries that will inspire smart, thoughtful conversation and debate on significant topics that affect our rapidly changing nation every day.”


CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports an enterprising, two-night investigation into toxic chemicals and health, uncovering ways we’re all exposed and the lax laws that are supposed to protect us:

Wednesday, June 2: TOXIC TOWNS, USA (8p ET and PT) Dr. Sanjay Gupta
reports his year-long investigation into one town’s struggle for survival amidst 14 chemical plants. More than 8 in 10 residents of tiny Mossville, La. report serious health problems such as cancers and kidney disease and claim the toxic chemicals in the air, soil and water are making them sick. Dr. Gupta challenges manufacturers, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explain how residents can live safely in the shadow of chemical plants that spew tons of cancer-causing agents into the atmosphere every year.

Thursday, June 3: TOXIC CHILDHOOD (8p ET and PT) Dr. Gupta shows us how potentially harmful chemicals exist in our air, homes and in the products we use every day — even if we don’t live near a chemical plant — and offers guidance on how we can minimize these risks in our lives. As a father and doctor, he takes his search for answers to an all-star roundtable of experts on the latest neonatal and pediatric sciences on health and chemical exposure. For millions of pregnant American women, Dr. Gupta also leads a conversation about how much of the toxic chemicals they are exposed to are passed along to their babies.

Digital users can submit iReports describing industrial or chemical pollution in their homes and communities. An interactive map will highlight state rankings for emissions of five common toxic chemicals – dioxin, mercury, lead, benzene, and vinyl chloride – reported by manufacturers to the Environmental Protection Agency at


Almost thirty years after the murders of more than 25 black children, teens and young adults, CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien investigates the nearly two-year siege of fear that gripped the city of Atlanta. Although Wayne Williams continues to profess his innocence from behind bars, with his arrest and conviction, he was described as both a “monster” – and the nation’s first Black serial killer. In his first television interview in 10 years, O’Brien has exclusive access to Williams and examines new evidence to offer viewers a new look at the persistent doubts, and decide for themselves who was responsible for all those lost young lives. Viewers will be able to vote online for their verdict on the case at

A SANJAY GUPTA, MD SPECIAL: DADS FOR MY DAUGHTERS/Saturday, June 19 & Sunday, June 20, 8p ET and PT

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on best selling author Bruce Feiler, who after a devastating diagnosis in 2008 of osteosarcoma (a rare and aggressive bone cancer), thought he was going to die. He endured brutal treatments and decided to form a “Council of Dads” for his twin girls. A group of his closest male friends would in effect take his place as father to his girls should he not make it. Each father represents a special gift and value which Feiler feels is important to pass on to his five year old daughters. Feiler, author of the book “Council of Dads” continues to fight his cancer.

IN AMERICA: GARY & TONY HAVE A BABY/Thursday, June 24, 8p ET and PT

Gary Spino and Tony Brown have fought for gay rights all of their lives, but these days one of the most radical things a gay person can do is form a traditional family — and that’s precisely what they want. Soledad O’Brien follows Gary and Tony on their struggle to have a baby that has a biological and legal connection to both of them. They spend a small fortune hiring an egg donor and a surrogate, and face a string of court battles. But all the medical miracles and legal maneuvering can’t guarantee the approval of the people around them… or even a baby. Check out new updates for Gary & Tony Have a Baby and other upcoming In America documentaries on the recently launched In America webpage on