A+E Networks has revealed its 2021-2022 programming slate at its virtual Upfront today (March 3), including a two-night, cross-brand documentary event about the life and career of Janet Jackson.
The company touted some 2500 hours of programming in the pipeline, including 70 hours of premium documentaries, across its three larger network brands — A&E, History and Lifetime.
Janet (w/t) — produced for A+E’s flagship channels Lifetime and A&E by Banijay UK’s Workerbee and AEC (Associated Entertainment Corporation) — will mark the 40th anniversary of Jackson’s (pictured) first album.
Workerbee has been filming the documentary for three years, and has been granted access to archival footage including Jackson’s home videos, along with interviews to offer an intimate look at the music icon’s story.
The four-hour project is scheduled to air in 2022.
Jackson and Randy Jackson are executive producers. Executive producer for Workerbee is Rick Murray. Ben Hirsch serves as director. Brie Miranda Bryant serves as executive producer for A+E Networks.
Elsewhere, A&E has greenlit two documentary events: Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution (w/t) and Secret Origins of Hip Hop.
The four-hour long, two-part event Right to Offend (w/t) will explore the evolution of Black comedy and comedians, featuring interviews and a collection of archival material.
Right to Offend is produced by Time Studios. Mario Diaz and Jessica Sherif are co-directors and executive producers. Ian Orefice serves as executive producer for Time Studios. Elaine Frontain Bryant and Brad Abramson serve as executive producers for A&E
Meanwhile, each hour-long episode of Secret Origins of Hip Hop, narrated by rapper Nas and produced by Mass Appeal (Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, Rapture), delves into the origin story of one of hip hop’s iconic stars, including Busta Rhymes, Eve and Ice-T, weaving interviews with archival footage.
Peter Bittenbender and Slane Hatch serve as executive producers for Mass Appeal. Frontain Bryant and Abramson serve as executive producers for A&E.
As for History, it has teamed up with NBA star, author and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the one-hour documentary Fight the Power: The Protests That Changed America from executive producers Abdul-Jabbar and Deborah Morales of Iconomy Multi-Media & Entertainment and the Six West Media Group.
The documentary will look at the impact key protests have had on the evolution of the U.S., from past to present. Steve Ascher, Kristy Sabat, Jessica Conway, Kai Bowe and Stephen Mintz are executive producers for the Six West Media group. Eli Lehrer and Jennifer Wagman are executive producers for History.
History has also greenlit a slate of premium miniseries that extend its popular …That Built franchise. The series starts with the history of the visionaries behind innovations such as: the passenger jet, the television and power tools in The Machines That Built America (8×60); iconic toys and games such as Monopoly and G.I. Joe in The Toys That Built America (4×60); and major builds such as the Panama Canal, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the Hoover Dam in The Engineering That Built the World (8×60).
Also set to debut is the follow-up to the docuseries The Men Who Built America, dubbed The Titans That Built America. Both were executive produced by Appian Way Productions’ Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson and Stephen David Entertainment. This miniseries airs across three consecutive nights starting on May 31 and details the rivalry of American titans –Henry Ford, JP Morgan Jr., William Chrysler, William Boeing and Pierre DuPont.
The lineup also includes a previously announced upcoming series with former President Bill Clinton, unveiled at last spring’s upfront and slated to launch in 2022 on History.
“Our brands have clear identities with a strong foundation of hit series. Across our entire portfolio and in a variety of genres, we continue to have an incredible roster of A-list, diverse talent in-front of and behind the camera,” A+E Networks Group president Paul Buccieri said in a statement. “Our ongoing efforts to launch and invest in best-in-class original programming for our linear properties, as well as further expanding our 360-experiences, demonstrates a deep commitment to being available wherever and however viewers want to be entertained, whether through high-performing podcasts, virtual experiences or digital multi-platform content.”
With files from Kim Izzo and Jillian Morgan.