consolidation prizes

CNN+ Is Back (Sort Of)

Illustration: Martin Gee

“The most trusted name in news” has a new streaming home next to venerable programming like The 90 Day Fiancé and Mermaids: The New Evidence. A “CNN Originals” hub (not to be confused with the deceased CNN+) rolls out onto Discovery+ today, the latest stage of the streaming strategy implemented by Warner Bros. Discovery. More than 800 episodes have been loaded up to the service from select CNN Original Series, CNN Films, and HLN Original Series. Some of CNN’s glossiest feature programming is in the mix, like the full run of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy (previously available on HBO Max), The History of Comedy, and Assault on Democracy: The Roots of Trump’s Insurrection from CNN Special Report. The content being pulled in CNN spinoff HLN TV, meanwhile, focuses on true-crime, like The Dead Wives Club, hosted by Lorraine Bracco, and a bunch of episodes from the reenactment-fueled Vengeance series.

Select titles will continue to be added to the hub as they air on CNN and HLN, according to Warner Bros. Discovery’s announcement. This is another attempt by the merged entity and CEO David Zaslav to square the circle of fitting its linear-TV brands into one of the two streaming buckets, Discovery+ and HBO Max, that it currently has on the books — before the two merge into one platform in 2023 — and it hasn’t been easy. In just the past few weeks, HBO Max has canceled franchise films midstream (for, uh, an $825 million tax break), nixed library titles, laid off unscripted staff, and offered steep subscriber discounts — all while trying to roll out a dragon-size IP title. Discovery+’s announcement, meanwhile, comes on the heels of CNN’s ouster of longtime Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter and four months after CNN+ was unceremoniously shut down and its staff laid off. Consolidation comes for us all eventually, but it remains to be seen how this strategy will help Warner Bros. Discovery jockey against its entertainment rivals at Disney and Netflix. For now, Discovery+ subscribers can at least enjoy a CNN doc like The Hunt for Planet B and chase it with something called Very Scary People, hosted by Donnie Wahlberg, which I don’t have the energy to Google right now.

Here’s a bunch of stuff Discovery+ says is now on the service:

CNN Original Series library titles:

• 1968: The Year That Changed America
• American Dynasties: The Kennedys, narrated by Martin Sheen
• American Style
• Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Seasons 1–12)
• The Bush Years: Family, Duty, Power, narrated by Ed Harris
• Chasing Life, with Dr. Sanjay Gupta
• Christiane Amanpour: Sex and Love Around the World
• Crimes of the Century
• Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies (Seasons 1–3)
• Diana
• Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery (Seasons 1–2)
• First Ladies, narrated by Robin Wright
• High Profits
• The History of Comedy (Seasons 1–2)
• History of the Sitcom
• Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury, narrated Ewan McGregor
• LBJ: Triumph and Tragedy
• Lincoln: Divided We Stand, narrated by Sterling K Brown
• Nomad with Carlton McCoy
• Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History, narrated by Liam Neeson
• Race for the White House (Seasons 1–2), narrated by Mahershala Ali
• Reframed: Marilyn Monroe, narrated by Jessica Chastain
• Soundtracks: Songs that Defined History
• Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy (Seasons 1–2)
• The People v. The Klan
• The Radical Story of Patty Hearst
• The Redemption Project, with Van Jones
• The Story of Late Night
• The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty, narrated by Rosamund Pike
• This is Life with Lisa Ling (Seasons 1–8)
• Tricky Dick
• United Shades of America, with W. Kamau Bell (Seasons 1–6)
• The Wonder List, with Bill Weir (Seasons 1–3)
• Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal

HLN Original Series library titles:

• Beyond Reasonable Doubt
• The Dead Wives Club hosted by Lorraine Bracco
• Death Row Stories (Seasons 1–5)
• Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders
• Hell in the Heartland: What Happened to Ashley and Lauria?
• How It Really Happened (Seasons 1–6)
• The Hunt with John Walsh (Seasons 1–5)
• The Killer Truth
• Lies, Crimes & Video (Seasons 1–3)
• Murder Nation: Blood on the Bayou
• Murder Nation: Jersey Gore
• Real Life Nightmare (Seasons 1–3)
• Sex & Murder (Seasons 1–3)
• Unmasking a Killer
• Vengeance: Killer Coworkers
• Vengeance: Killer Families
• Vengeance: Killer Lovers
• Vengeance: Killer Millionaires
• Vengeance: Killer Neighbors
• Vengeance: Killer Newlyweds
• Very Scary People, hosted by Donnie Wahlberg (Seasons 1–4)

Select titles from the award-winning CNN Films library:

• 9/11, directed by Peabody and Emmy award winner Gédéon Naudet, Jules Naudet, and James Hanlon
• The End: Inside the Last Days of the Obama White House, directed by Toby Oppenheimer
• The Flag, directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein
• The Hunt for Planet B, directed by Nathaniel Kahn
• The Lost Sons, directed by Ursula Macfarlane
• Race for the Vaccine, narrated and produced by Sanjay Gupta
• Soul Survivor, directed by Ky Dickens
• We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World featuring Freida Pinto, Isha Sesay, and Meryl Streep

Select titles from the CNN Special Reports collection:

• Assault on Democracy: The Roots of Trump’s Insurrection

CNN+ Is Back (Sort Of)