CBS launches See It Now Studios headed by Susan Zirinsky
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The unit will produce news, documentary and unscripted programming for ViacomCBS properties including CBS and Paramount+.
“This is a studio built on the foundation of the incredible journalism and storytelling of CBS News but with a broader remit,” said George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS and chief content officer of news and sports for Paramount+, in a statement.
“See It Now Studios will have the flexibility to work across a range of production formats and concepts to meet the growing needs of linear and streaming platforms, including producing premium documentary content for Paramount+. There is no one better to lead this new unit than the journalistic and producing force of nature that is Susan Zirinsky. She and her team have already hit the ground running, Cheeks added.
CBS plans to leverage the unit to create original documentaries and docuseries, including spinoffs of CBS News brands, as well as “insta-docs” in collaboration with the news division.
The network says it has a full slate of programming planned for See It Now extending beyond 2021, with content centered around the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks being some of its first projects.
The name “Set It Now” is inspired by the 1951 series of the same name featuring Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly. The broadcast marked the first live simultaneous coast-to-coast broadcast TV transmission and was a key moment in shaping TV news today.
The name is also a nod to the network’s iconic “eye” logo.
Joining Zirinsky in See It Now Studios are Senior Executive Producer of Content Oversight Terence Wrong, an experienced, award-winning storyteller who has produced more than 200 hours of documentaries and docuseries for broadcast, premium and cable, and Aysu Saliba as supervising producer, development.
Grace Kim is the unit’s production manager, and Amy Gardner is an associate producer. Zirinsky’s team also includes executive producer Mitch Weitzner and his established team of Sasha Reuther and Danielle Levy.
Zirinsky was named president of CBS News in 2019. Insiders said she quickly grew tired of the job and its administrative responsibilities. She exited the role in 2021 but inked a deal with the network remain on staff, with CBS committing to set up this production unit for her.