Scripps News Expands Documentary Production with New Longform Unit

(Image credit: EW Scripps)

ATLANTA—Scripps News has announced plans to significantly expand its documentary programming by creating a new longform unit devoted to producing compelling cinematic offerings for Scripps News platforms and distribution partners.

For the effort, new full-time hires joining Scripps News’ new longform team will include journalists with experience on shows such as CNN’s “This Is Life,” Showtime’s “VICE” and Comedy Central’s “Klepper.” 

Zach Toombs has been promoted to director of longform and will oversee the network’s documentary programming. Toombs, previously the deputy director of programs, will report to Scripps Head of Program Development Ethan Nelson.

“Scripps is proud to be expanding our award-winning documentary programming. Not only is the content engaging, but this kind of compelling longform broadcast journalism is essential to keeping viewers informed and enlightened,” said Scripps News President Kate O’Brian.

“At a time when the ethical lines of documentary production are increasingly blurred, we’re keeping journalism and the journalistic process at the center of our work,” added Toombs. “Our mission is to create documentaries and series that inform, entertain and build trust with our viewers.”

Scripps News’ expanded documentary programming will build existing lineup of documentary programming that includes: 

  • “Scripps News Showcase” (formerly known as “Newsy Docs Presents”), a showcase of documentary films that introduce viewers to captivating characters and impactful issues. Season 4 of “Scripps News Showcase” will premiere March 26 and will feature originally produced projects and documentaries from independent filmmakers.
  • “In Real Life,” a documentary series that dives deep on a different topic in each episode. Season 4 of “In Real Life” will premiere April 2.
  • “Next Level,” an original series that dives into the real-world influence of gaming — from its impact on technology and entertainment to politics and culture at large. Season 2 of “Next Level” will premiere this fall.
  • “Bellingcat,” a series that brings viewers open-source visual investigations that use satellite imagery, social media and online tools to shed light on international conflict — from tracking weapon supplies to debunking government claims. This Emmy-nominated series is a partnership of Scripps News and the investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat.
George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.