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NBC News launches documentary unit, names Liz Cole president

NBC News has officially unveiled its new documentary-focused production shingle NBC News Studios, to be led by Dateline executive producer Liz Cole (pictured), and has revealed the studio’s initial lineup of ...
January 23, 2020

NBC News has officially unveiled its new documentary-focused production shingle NBC News Studios, to be led by Dateline executive producer Liz Cole (pictured), and has revealed the studio’s initial lineup of partnerships with prodcos and streamers.

The launch comes just a few weeks after the division shuttered Peacock Productions, its in-house, long-form production unit.

NBC News Studios will produce premium documentaries, docuseries and select scripted programming, as well as “content for emerging platforms.” It promises to pair filmmakers and other “premier partners” with NBC News’ resources, which include international news gathering capabilities, archives and production facilities.

In terms of partnerships, Universal Pictures-owned Focus Features (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) will collaborate with NBC News Studios to produce “filmmaker-driven” documentaries about pivotal people and events.

NBC News Studios will also produce a limited docuseries about “one of America’s most notorious serial killers” for NBCUniversal-owned streamer Peacock. The studio has also inked a deal with soon-to-be launched mobile streamer Quibi to provide original signature daily news programs.

In a partnership with Los Angeles-based Blumhouse Television — which has produced documentary films such as How To Dance In Ohio, This is Home: A Refugee Story and Bathtubs Over Broadway — the studio will develop and produce original scripted programs based on Dateline content.

“We are very excited to launch NBC News Studios with such a constellation of major players who share our values of distinctive storytelling,” Cole, president of the studio, said in a statement. “And we look forward to joining forces with others, now that we are officially open for business.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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