Morgan Spurlock joins Anthony Bourdain in CNN’s new-look weekend lineup
With its ratings spiraling, CNN continues to add celebrities and entertainment programming to its lineup.
The latest addition to the roster is a weekly series called "Inside Man," in which the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock will "provide an insider’s view into rarely-seen sectors of American life that include gun lovers, marijuana growers, migrant farm workers, and end-of-life caregivers," according to a statement from the network. The show will debut in April 2013.
Spurlock's New York-based production company, Warrior Poets, will produce. The series will air on weekends alongside the Anthony Bourdain food and travel show that CNN announced several months ago.
“We have wanted to make a smart, challenging and entertaining network show for the past few years and we couldn’t have found a better partner to accomplish that with than CNN,” said Spurlock in a statement. “I am energized by this opportunity and am thrilled to be bringing this show to the network.”
“Morgan Spurlock’s name has become synonymous with creative and thought-provoking documentary story-telling,” said Mark Whitaker, executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide. “Like Anthony Bourdain’s new CNN series, Inside Man will carry the distinctive stamp of its host while taking viewers on colorful and informative journeys into fascinating corners of American society.”
The New York Post reported several weeks ago that the network was in the market for "reality show ideas and big name stars." In response, CNN issued a statement downplaying the "reality show" aspect and saying that it was "continuing to explore other nonfiction original series for the weekend."
That exploration is being spearheaded by Whitaker's newly-created "Talent and Development" department, which was also behind the Bourdain series.
Though CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, is profitable, with a strong digital business and a massive international footprint, it's prime-time audience has steadily declined in recent years as viewers have flocked to the more partisan fare of MSNBC and Fox News.
Now the network appears to be at a crossroads: Its longtime president, Jim Walton, announced last month that he would step down by year's end. And Time Warner brass are looking for a new chief to pull CNN out of its ratings slump once and for all.