Press Releases: 12/3/08

MSNBC (1), CNN (1)




NEW YORK- December 3, 2008 – MSNBC will premiere “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father” on Sunday December 7, 2008 at 9:00 PM. This two-hour documentary has emerged as a festival and critic favorite and will make its television premiere this weekend as a part of MSNBC Films. Following the premiere at 11:00 PM, director Kurt Kuenne will be doing a live web chat. To join the conversation visit

The project began as a memorial to Kuenne’s life-long friend Dr. Andrew Bagby, but it took on a whole new meaning when it was revealed that Bagby’s ex-girlfriend and suspected murderer was pregnant with his child. Kuenne travels to dozens of cities in three countries where he meets with virtually every person who ever touched and was touched by Bagby, while Bagby’s parents fight for custody of the baby.

“Dear Zachary” premiered in January at the Slamdance Film Festival to widespread acclaim and has since screened at numerous prestigious festivals including Hot Docs (Top 10 Audience Favorite), SXSW, Sarasota and SilverDocs. It is currently being shown at The Cinema Village in New York City and will open in San Jose, CA; Santa Fe, NM, and Chicago, IL in the coming months.



Planet in Peril Returns to Examine Clash Between Population Growth, Resources

Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Lisa Ling Join Forces for Two-Hour Documentary on Thursday, Dec 11

CNN’s Planet in Peril delves into deepest Africa, dives into shark-infested waters and confronts poachers and corporate greed when the award-winning documentary series returns on Thursday, Dec. 11, with a two-hour examination of the conflict between growing populations and the world’s natural resources.

For Planet in Peril: Battle Lines, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and The Oprah Winfrey Show correspondent and National Geographic host Lisa Ling travel to the front lines of these environmental conflicts where countries, communities and individuals are fighting over oil, land, water and food. The documentary, taped in high definition, will air Thursday, Dec. 11, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET) on CNN/U.S. with a simulcast on CNN International.

The first Planet in Peril, a four-hour investigation that aired in October 2007, explored four compelling issues that impact the environment – overpopulation, deforestation, species loss and climate change. For the second Planet in Peril, CNN again traveled across the globe to some of the most remote regions of the planet and will examine:

· Zoonotics. Cooper and Gupta travel to Central Africa where dwindling food supplies push people into the forest in the hunt for bushmeat to feed their families, exposing them to mysterious viruses that scientists think could lead to the next deadly pandemic.

· Conflicts between oil and poverty in Nigeria. Ling travels to the Niger Delta, where the thirst for oil has created a deadly situation for the world’s eighth largest oil exporter; yet 70 percent of the country lives on less than a dollar a day. Ling confronts a notorious militant group about its battles with oil companies and the Nigerian government.

· Poison in Peru. Gupta investigates a Peru-based company – owned by an American who is one of the wealthiest and most elusive men in the world – that is allegedly responsible for poisoning an entire community.

· Shark finning. Ling travels to Costa Rica and Taiwan – main global sources for the key ingredient in shark fin soup – to reveal how the annual slaughter of 100 million sharks has decimated the population by more than 15 percent over the past 15 years.

· Shark dive tours. Cooper reports about the state of the Great White Shark off the coast of South Africa as he joins a shark tour operation designed to bolster appreciation, and perhaps protection, for the most feared predator of the sea. Cooper ventures into the waters himself and confronts a shark face-to-face, diving without a cage.

· African elephants. Ling visits Zakouma National Park in Eastern Chad, a stone’s throw away from war-ravaged Darfur and home to the last remaining stronghold of African elephants, to reveal the gruesome reality of how this animal is caught in the crossfire of human conflict.

· Mountain gorillas. Cooper travels to Rwanda and reports how the endangered mountain gorilla not only survives but thrives even amid one of the world’s worst conflict zones, which has become a model for how a country in conflict can profit from protecting its natural resources.

Online, offers a companion special report at, complete with interactive maps that enable users to pin-point environmental battle lines across the eight countries on four continents examined in the documentary. The special section also includes photo galleries, audio slideshows, video blogs, commentaries and an “Impact Your World” section that guides users to various charities across the world dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment.

CNN Mobile Live, CNN Mobile’s live streaming video news service, will provide cell phone users with the ability to watch the live broadcast of Planet in Peril. CNN Mobile Live is currently available on live video streaming services from Sprint and AT&T.

CNN Radio will provide affiliates with a 10-part series of Planet in Peril, beginning Monday, Dec. 8. This series will also be featured in many CNN Radio network newscasts through Thursday, Dec. 11.

Additionally, CNN Student News will feature a Planet in Peril: Battle Lines ‘For Educators’ section featuring links to classroom materials for teachers produced by Student News including video explainers, pre- and post-discussion questions and a learning activity. CNN Student News is a 10-minute commercial-free program on Headline News at 4 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, streamed online at or as a free iTunes podcast.

CNN will also make the entire program available as downloadable video on iTunes for $1.99 the day after the documentary airs; as a DVD on at; and as video-on-demand through cable television providers.


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