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Corey Williams is the kind of person who makes you want to root for him. Sincere, honest and open, he’s a hard worker and a man of few words.  And 20 years ago he was sent to death row after a house party ended in the murder of a pizza delivery man.  Corey was a mere child of 16, a victim of poverty and intellectually disabled.  He was living in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, notorious for its tough-on-crime approach to justice where African American teens were labeled “super predators.”  In short, Corey never had a chance.  And yet, details of the case didn’t add up. Read More

Death Row Stories explores the fallibility of the ultimate criminal penalty, capital punishment. Told by current and former death row inmates, each episode of Death Row Stories seeks to unravel the truth behind a different capital murder case and poses tough questions about the U.S. capital punishment system. Sundays at 8pm, ET/PT on HLN.  My episode “Body of Evidence” premieres June 30.

I directed two episodes of the series for Jigsaw Productions. This was my first foray into the true crime genre, which I’ve been following as a growing phenomenon over the past few years.  Studies show that women consume the most media about true crime.  There are many theories about why: whether it’s escapism or it’s a way to interact with our worst fears, many people are looking for reasons to why bad things happen. Death Row Stories premiered in 2014, and has since been at the forefront of true crime’s popularity exploring capital punishment in a way that’s more palatable for people who might not think they’re interested in social justice issues.

On the set of “Death Row Stories” for CNN.

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Samin Nosrat accepts the James Beard Media Award for “Best Television Program on Location” on behalf of the Salt Fat Acid Heat team. April 2019.

We won a James Beard Media Award for Salt Fat Acid Heat, our four-part documentary series on Netflix!  Coming from the food community means a lot.

I am thrilled, honored, humbled, and happy for everyone who gave so much of themselves to make this beautiful show.

Thank you for watching, and thank you for loving it as much as we do!

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Death Row Stories, Bari Pearlman and Keith Davis. Photo credit – Bethany Dettmore.

I have been dying to write a blog about the growing demand for True Crime stories. From Serial, to The Jinx, to Making of a Murderer, nearly every outlet has an episodic investigative series. And now my friend Bari Pearlman and I have organized a panel discussion dedicated to the genre!  Bari, who has directed and produced two episodes of CNN Death Row Stories, will be joined by Kelly Laudenberg, creator of the Netflix series The Confession Tapes, and Stephanie Steele VP of current Production for Oxygen Media for an in-depth conversation about making crime stories that matter.  The panel will be moderated by journalist Andrea Marks. For more information about True Crime Stories: Relationships and Responsibilities on Wednesday Oct 25, 2017 at the Tribeca Film Center and to register, click here.    *This Q&A is published simultaneously on Huffington Post. Read More

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It’s January, and that means it’s time for a new season of Friday Night Tykes. The fourth season kicks off Tuesday, January 17 at 9p ET on Esquire Network.  While it’s a show about youth football, it’s really a show about parenting — and it’s sparked debate from the US Senate to living rooms across the country. Once again, we ask the questions: how hard should we be pushing our kids? How far is too far? And is youth sports really about the kids or the adults running it?
Check out the new season of Friday Night Tykes starting this Tuesday night at 9p ET on Esquire Network.
PS After working on this show for 4 years, shouldn’t I have some sort of honorary degree in youth sports storytelling?  Special thanks to the first person who mocks that up for me.
Esquire Network

Esquire Network

Didn’t get enough peewee football as Friday Night Tykes wraps up in Texas on March 22?  Don’t worry, there’s a brand new season in a brand new location.  Check out Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country set in the Western Pennsylvania heartland, immediately following the Texas finale.  Tuesday MARCH 22 at 10|9c
 
Our team was embedded in a community of football legends for five months and followed six teams as they marched toward the championship. Once again, I’ve had the privilege of editing (two series at once!) with a super-talented post team.  I couldn’t ask to be stuck in Newark with better people.
 
“Follow six teams in the Beaver County Youth Football League in what was once the backbone of industrial America, where jobs have vanished, the bridges that connect communities rusted over, but everyone is still drawn together by a great tradition… football.”
Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country
FNT PA2

Friday Night Tykes Season 2 begins January 20.

Jennifer Whitney for The New York Times

Jennifer Whitney for The New York Times

They’re back!  Big hits, unruly parents, grandstanding coaches.  Season two of Friday Night Tykes, as 11 and 12 year olds, the kids are a year older, but the game is the same.  In the wake of two coaches being suspended last year for bad behavior, this season continues to ask the big question in youth sports: should the focus be on winning above all else?

 

 

Tune in to Esquire Network Tuesdays at 9pm ET for this 10-part series.
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Walter Iooss/Esquire Network

Walter Iooss/Esquire Network

For the last few months, I’ve been working with a very talented group of people to produce a 10-part documentary series for the new Esquire Network “Friday Night Tykes.” 

“With exclusive access to the 8 to 9 year-old Rookies division of the Texas Youth Football Association (TYFA), this 10-part docuseries follows five teams on and off the field during the 2013 season.”

The first two episodes will air back-to-back on Tuesday, January 14, at 9 pm ET.

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