In this week’s round-up, new non-fiction series and documentaries are slated to debut across HBO, Spike, and PBS doc strands ‘Independent Lens’ and ‘American Masters.’
U.S. premium cable network HBO Documentary Films and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are slated to premiere a cautionary documentary ahead of the holidays that challenges viewers to re-examine their drinking habits.
In Risky Drinking, Oscar- and Emmy-winner Ellen Goosenberg Kent and journalist/producer Perri Peltz take a deep look at the issue of drinking through a series of case studies and expert analysis. Some of the individuals profiled include a young professional who binge drinks on the weekends to cope with work, a single mother who frequently crosses her limit to cope with her stress, an ex-pat whose drinking is risking a relationship with his wife and son, and a young grandfather whose alcoholism has become life threatening. The doc premieres on Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and will also be made available across HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.
Elsewhere, PBS’ long-running doc strand ‘Independent Lens’ returns in 2017 with a look at the infamous 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese in The Witness.
Produced by Five More Minutes Productions, the James Solomon-directed film follows Genovese’s brother Bill Genovese as he seeks the truth behind the legend of his sister’s death. Murdered on Mar. 13, 1964, Kitty Genovese was stabbed near an apartment building as 38 witnesses watched. In what became a symbol of urban apathy, none of the witnesses attempt to help Genovese or call the police. The case went on to become emblematic of the bystander effect, a psychological phenomena in which ordinarily moral people ignore the burden of responsibility when in a large group. The Witness premieres Jan. 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Another film premiering on PBS, this time under arts strand ‘American Masters,’ is By Sidney Lumet (pictured), which looks at the life of the prolific American director.
Lumet directed 44 films throughout his 50-year career, including such classics as Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men, Network and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Director Nancy Buirski tells the story of Lumet’s life, his impact on the entertainment industry, and the themes of his most enduring works. Also featured is a new interview with actor Treat Williams. This Augusta Films and Thirteen Productions-made film premieres Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Finally, Spike is scheduled to premiere a music show on wheels with The Office and Hot Tub Time Machine actor Craig Robinson serving as host.
Caraoke Showdown will take a group of contestants on a musical road trip where they’re challenged to sing their favorite tunes, finish lyrics, or act out songs to win cash prizes. Contestants are occasionally joined by special guests, and sometimes complete strangers, to complete the challenges, while being chauffeured by Robinson. The Core Media Group-made series premieres on Spike Jan. 12 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.