"Chicagoland" brings fresh depth to documentaries

"Chicagoland," a terrific series, opened March 6 on CNN and continues -- Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays -- for eight weeks. Here's the story I sent to papers.

Wedged in the middle, CNN keeps re-inventing itself

This has been a hectic time for CNN, amid re-shuffling and re-inventing. The latest switch, announced this week, is to HLN (formerly Headline News), its short-form spin-off; it will become social media-oriented, forever watching what is trending,

Nuclear power: Dreams dashed and (maybe) revised

After decades in front of TV sets and movie screens, I've seen all the reasons to fear nuclear power. Now a remarkable documentary -- airing Thursday and Saturday (Nov. 7 and 9) on CNN -- stirs some re-thinking; here's the story I sent to papers: 

The march at 50: A dream persists

Yes, summer TV can be strange and loopy. On Thursday, some semi-lucky viewers will catch a double-feature of "Sharknado" and "Ghost Shark."

Still, it also has strong dramas -- "Broadchurch" and "The Bridge" on Wednesdays, lots of shows on Sundays -- and, occasionally, key documentaries.

Bourdain: New pleasures await in restaurants ... or ice-fishing shacks

Many people find adventures to be great, as long as they're confined to movie theaters, TV sets or the bedroom. They do NOT want eating to be adventurous.

Then there's Anthony Bourdain, who makes everything -- including dinner time -- a grand adventure. His latest show has already been renewed for the fall, halfway through its first season. Here's the story I sent to papers; also, please check the previous blog on this weekend's Gordie Howe movie:


A very funny night ... and more

The good news: This may be the funniest Thursday since Jerry Seinfeld abandoned us, more than a decade ago.

The also-good news: There's an excellent -- and non-funny -- CNN documentary that same night. I'll include a story about it in a moment.

And for people in the Lansing, Mich., area, the best news: The East Lansing Film Festival has started; please read my previous blog. Now about the other two:

Katrina coverage keeps growing ... and then growing some more

As the Katrina anniversary nears, TV's
coverage keeps growing – and then growing some more.

I sent a preview story – included
here – which some papers have already run. During that time:

"Toxic Towns": CNN sticks with strong documentaries

The TV news world may be getting sillier, but CNN keeps making strong, solid documentaries.

A prime example is "Toxic Towns" on Saturday, the first of a string of documentaries this month. Here's the story I sent to papers:

A busy day for moon memories

For one day, viewers can forget current troubles and enjoy a long-ago triumph. Today (Monday, July 20), TV celebrates the first anniversary of man's walk on the moon. That includes:

-- Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room," at 4 p.m. ET on CNN. At 4:17 p.m. -- precisely 40 years after the landing -- Blitzer plans to talk to Buzz Aldrin, who was the second man (after Neil Armstrong) to step out of the lunar module that day and walk the moon.