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CBS News Will Launch Primetime Series ‘On Assignment’ from Streaming-Video CBSN

Variety logo Variety 6/28/2017 Brian Steinberg
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CBS News said it would launch a new, limited-run primetime TV series based on reports prepared in the style of its streaming-video news outlet, CBSN. “CBSN: On Assignment” will air on four consecutive Monday evenings starting July 31 at 10 p.m. eastern, and attempt to bring a more on-the-ground perspective to an audience more accustomed to CBS News mainstays like “48 Hours” and “60 Minutes.”

“The stories are intense, interesting and immersive,” said Mosheh Oinounou, the executive producer, in a prepared statement.

The maneuver aims to bolster CBSN, a live-streaming outlet launched by CBS News in November, 2014. Once seen primarily as a vehicle for repurposing reporting done for “CBS This Morning” and “CBS Evening News,” CBS News has in recent months steadily introduced more original programming to CBSN, including political-news programs lead by Elaine Quijano and Major Garrett. CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers, for example, has explored volatile suburbs around Paris and Brussels in the wake of terrorism for CBSN documentaries.

CBS is the latest network to test a newsmagazine that emulates some of the “you-are-there” feel that has become the signature of Vice Media’s streaming-video reports and HBO documentaries. ABC’s “Nightline” has used the style for several years now, while NBC News attempted last year to launch “On Assignment”– yes, the name is similar to the new CBSN program. The “Dateline” spin-off relied on stories of innovation and adventure – including foreign correspondent Richard Engel making an effort to rescue a chimpanzee.

More than a dozen CBS News correspondents will participate in the series’ hour-long episodes. Seth Doane, Reena Ninan, Elaine Quijano, James Brown and Ryan Chilcote are among the reporters who will be seen on the program. Reports will include a look at grassroots efforts to combat inner-city gun violence; interviews with those risking their lives to expose corruption; and investigations into new terrorist threats.

“This is an opportunity to showcase the voices and original storytelling from CBSN to an entirely new audience,” said Nancy Lane, senior executive producer for CBS News Digital, in a statement. “Our long-form programming enhances our live, anchored coverage throughout the day.”

CBSN: On Assignment will be streamed simultaneously on CBSN and to subscribers of CBS’ subscription video hub, “CBS All Access,” through the service’s live streaming offering of local CBS stations.

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