CNN’s Bill Weir: Reporting Around the World, In Part, For His Daughter

By Mark Joyella 


CNN’s Bill Weir has had a lot of time to think. He’s been on flights around the world, and recently spent a night with the crew shooting his new series, “The Wonder List”, on a remote and tiny South Pacific island–no power, just firelight. Weir says the series, which aims to document people and places threatened by a changing world. In those quiet moments, Weir says he was often thinking of his daughter, and the world she will inherit.

“I’m a nostalgic sap on a good day, but the day my 10-year-old entered a room in eye shadow, the world careened off its axis. When I flash forward to her adulthood and flash back to my childhood, the change seems massive,” Weir told TVNewser. “There were maybe three-and-a-half billion people on the planet when I was born. When she’s my age, there will be close to ten billion. Shifting landscapes and values and cultures are inevitable but I’d like to be able to look her in the eye one day and say, I did my best to let them know what they had, when they had it.”

The series, shot by filmmaker Philip Bloom, continues CNN’s investment in producing hourlong documentary programming, something that’s close to Weir’s heart. He says upon his arrival from ABC, Weir brought a lot of ideas, and gradually worked with CNN boss Jeff Zucker, who ultimately signed off on the “Wonder List,” even though that meant Weir being largely off air for several months. “Honestly, when I walked in the door, the options were wide open. Jeff had a need for both studio shows and original series and I had ideas for both. We spent a few months exploring different options but when he said ‘maybe you should just go around the world and go find great stories,’ I became unreasonably excited. Maybe he was trying to get rid of me. Which is totally fine.”