Cable news channel CNN is set to premiere two splashy new original series and has partnered with London-based producer Raw TV (Three Identical Strangers) on a documentary feature.
Produced by Raw, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy serves as a six-part CNN Original Series that tracks Academy Award-nominated actor Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones, The Hunger Games) as he travels across Italy to explore the country’s regional cuisines. Viewers will go along with him as he eats his way through a different region or city in each episode, including Rome, Sicily, Milan and Naples.
And Tucci knows Italian food as fans may recall from the 1996 breakout indie hit Big Night that the thesp co-wrote and co-directed. For this series, Tucci comes prepared with a bottomless appetite, showing us how the diversity of Italian cooking offers a gateway through which you can glimpse Italy’s history and culture.
“During a time when everyone wishes they could travel, the series will transport you through Italy’s cultural past and present through its extraordinary cuisine,” said Tucci in a press release. “The food tells the story of this country’s unique history and I’m thrilled to serve as a guide through this journey.”
Executive producers for Searching for Italy are Adam Hawkins, Eve Kay, and Stanley Tucci for Raw, Amy Entelis and Lyle Gamm for CNN Original Series.
On the opposite end of the viewing spectrum comes the timely Lincoln: Divided We Stand, which takes a comprehensive look at the life story of Abraham Lincoln. The series explores Lincoln’s complicated inner world, interweaving his personal life with his history making political career.
Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown (This is Us), the six-part docuseries serves up a mix of expert interviews, cinematic recreations, rare artifacts, and never-before-broadcast photos and letters to take viewers on a transcendent journey into the life and times of the iconic U.S. president.
CNN is to debut the two series on Feb. 14, with Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy broadcasting at 9 p.m. ET/PT and Lincoln: Divided We Stand at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
In the documentary feature category, CNN Films has joined forces with Raw for The Lost Sons. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Ursula Macfarlane (Charlie Hebdo: Three Days That Shook Paris; One Deadly Weekend in America), production on the film began in the summer of 2019.
Produced in association with Ross Dinerstein’s Campfire, he film tells the story of Paul Fronczak, who at the age of 10, while searching for Christmas presents, unearthed a hoard of newspaper clippings about his parents: images of them grieving for a kidnapped baby and then celebrating two years later over a toddler found abandoned and returned to them. Is Paul that kidnapped baby? If so, where was he for two years? The investigation launched a deeper look into a life shrouded in mystery. Decades later, as questions continue to mount, Fronczak embarks on a journey for answers, plunging him into the dark depths of the secrets that families keep.
The story of The Lost Sons is told through a blend of re-enactments, the testimony of close family and first-hand witnesses, news footage and family archive.
“Nothing excites me more than a real storytelling challenge, and this is a mystery tale like no other. The Fronczak story has twists and turns you won’t believe and explores profound themes to which we can all relate: the importance and meaning of identity and family,” said director Macfarlane in a statement.
This film marks the third time that CNN Films and Raw have paired up to bring true stories involving family identity and the meaning of family to viewers. In 2018, a collaboration between CNN Films and Raw yielded the BAFTA-nominated and Emmy-nominated Three Identical Strangers. Previously, CNN Films acquired The Imposter from Raw, the true story of a French trickster who impersonated a Texas boy who disappeared at the age of 13.
CNN Films currently holds all distribution rights.
Amy Entelis, EVP of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, and Courtney Sexton, SVP for CNN Films; Liesel Evans, creative director of UK factual at Raw; and, Ross Dinerstein, Campfire founder and CEO, will be among the executive producers for the film, which is produced in association with Campfire.