Anderson Cooper to host ‘The Whole Story’ long-form show Sunday nights on CNN

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

CNN is adding a long-form program to its Sunday schedule.

The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper,” will feature “a collection of unique and immersive single subject, one-hour episodes” from the network’s longform storytelling team.

CNN emphasized, however, that “The Whole Story” is not a newsmagazine show, though it’s hard to ignore the similarities to shows such as CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which Cooper also happens to be a correspondent for.

The show will air an hour later than “60 Minutes” in many markets, with CNN planning to offer a separate 8 p.m. Pacific time feed to the west coast.

The program will characterized by “character-driven stories, special interviews, profiles, and investigative deep dives” from CNN’s correspondents.

“Powered by CNN’s unmatched global journalism operation, ‘The Whole Story’ goes behind the headlines, touching every continent and corner of the planet, as we bring our viewers into the heart of the essential stories of our time,” said CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht, in a statement.

The network also announced a preview of the stories that will be featured on the show:

  • “What Happened to San Francisco?”: Anchor Sara Sidner travels to San Francisco, a metropolis that came alive during the technological revolution, to uncover the political and social issues plaguing the city by the bay.
  • “Baby Powder Fears”: Chief Investigative Correspondent and Anchor Pamela Brown examines claims made by some of the thousands of women who say that Johnson & Johnson’s now-discontinued talc baby powder is responsible for their cancer.
  • “Magic Mushrooms”: Used for centuries in ceremonies by traditional cultures, banned in the US for nearly 50 years, and now being re-examined after Oregon just legalized it, Correspondent David Culver surveys the world of psylocibin, taking viewers through the myths, the medicine, and the money surrounding the psychedelic plant.
  • “Charles & Camilla”: CNN Anchor and National Correspondent Erica Hill goes behind the scenes of the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla.
  • “A Migrant’s Journey”: Nick Paton Walsh, Chief International Security Correspondent, embeds with a group of migrants on their arduous journey on foot through the Darien Gap, from South to Central America, on their way to seek asylum in the United States.

Susan Chun will executive produce “The Whole Story.”

It’s possible CNN is emphasizing the show as “not a newsmagazine” in order to avoid any conflicts with Cooper’s contract with CBS. The timeslot and separate west coast feed could also be an attempt to avoid him appearing on two networks at the same time.

Although “The Whole Story” is slated to start an hour later it is possible Cooper could be on the air on both networks at the same time, assuming he’s contributing a story to “60 Minutes” during a particular week that “60” starts late in select time zones due to sports.

Although not confirmed in this case, it is common for network talent to have provisions in their contracts that prohibit them from hosting a similar show for another media outlet or from signing up for other shows that would result in them appearing on-air on two networks at the same time.

For example, Meredith Vieria’s former deal with NBC restricted her from appearing after 9 a.m. eastern on “Today” because some stations would be airing the syndicated “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” at the same time.

That said, there were sometimes exceptions made for when Vieria had to remain on air due to breaking news.

The fact Cooper holds down a full time job at CNN and also contributes to another show on a separate network (much like Vieria’s two contracts) is not unique, though it’s also not commonplace.