27 February 2014 6:30 AM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

CNN has often appeared starved for star power, but Robert Redford probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind. Nevertheless, the news network has tapped two shows from the actor-producer-activist’s Sundance Prods., “Chicagoland” and “Death Row Stories,” to advance its push into documentary series, theoretically to become less reliant on the news cycle’s vagaries to sustain ratings. Despite solid producing pedigrees and compelling subject matter, both shows come with inherent flaws – the first sure to be derided as a valentine to Windy City Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the latter not much different from the average hour on Investigation Discovery.

CNN’s strategy figures to be under a slightly more invasive microscope due to the recent exit of primetime host Piers Morgan, as the network seeks to redefine itself under chief Jeff Zucker without throwing the baby out with the proverbial bath water. Yet while CNN has backed »


- Brian Lowry

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