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HLN’s ‘How It Really Happened’ Series Topics: OJ, JonBenet, Prince, JFK Jr & More

Deadline logo Deadline 1/9/2017 Patrick Hipes
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HLN said today its new anthology true-crime series How It Really Happened With Hill Harper will dig into notorious high-profile cases, mysteries and celeb tragedies including OJ Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey, Prince, Michael Jackson, JFK Jr and more it its first season. The two-hour premiere of the 12-episode series is set for Friday, January 27 at 8 PM ET, with the Lyle and Erk Menendez murders the first topic.

The debut episode will revisit the infamous trial and serve as a lead-out to The Menendez Brothers: Murder In Beverly Hills The Aftermath, a one-hour show featuring a one-on-one interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Lyle Menendez. It comes after ABC’s two-hour special on the Menendez Brothers murders January 5 that also featured an interview with Lyle Menendez. It drew solid ratings and delivered the network its best results in the two-hour time slot in almost a year.

How It Really Happened will normally air Fridays at 9 PM ET as part of HLN Spotlight, the network’s Friday primetime programming block.

Check out the trailer above and HLN’s episode descriptions below.

The Menendez Brothers: Murder in Beverly Hills (Airdate: Jan. 27)

A wealthy couple was found shot dead in their own home while watching TV and the nation was shocked when investigators later charged the couple’s sons, Lyle and Erik, with their murder. The case was a first of its kind – a sensational murder trial with camera-ready players that seemed made for Hollywood. This episode reveals the twists and turns of this trial including the shocking motive for the murders.

The Menendez Brothers: Murder in Beverly Hills The Aftermath

Lyle Menendez speaks out from behind bars to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, more than 25 years after he and his brother Erik were convicted of first degree murder for killing their parents.

The O.J. Simpson Case: Other Killer Theories (Airdate: Feb. 3)

Twenty years after the trial of the century and its aftermath, new theories are still emerging about who brutally killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. This episode explores a serial killer’s confession, a possible hit man who claims responsibility, and O.J.’s eldest son, Jason Simpson.

Prince: The End (Airdate: Feb. 10)

What led to the sudden death of one of music’s most talented and most private superstars? Tragically, Prince was found dead and alone in the elevator of his home just days after his last live performance. This episode pulls back the curtain to expose the secret struggles the music genius faced and traces the early years of his life up to his final days.

JFK Jr.’s Tragic Final Flight (Airdate: Feb. 17)

When the plane John F. Kennedy, Jr. was piloting crashed near Martha’s Vineyard, it seemed as though the “Kennedy Curse” had claimed another victim. The country was stunned. How could this have happened? This hour examines what factors led to that fateful flight and features a never-before-seen interview with the person who may have been the last to speak with JFK Jr. just moments before the tragic accident.

Who Killed JonBenet? (Airdate: March 3)

The shocking murder of JonBenet Ramsey remains unsolved and dogged investigators

continue to work the case – looking at clues and tips to generate new theories about who killed her. A wide range of suspects are brought to light in this episode, including the Ramsey’s maid and the man who portrayed Santa Claus at a holiday party, days before JonBenet was found murdered.

The Death of Michael Jackson (Airdate: March 10)

The “King of Pop” was found dead in his home under mysterious circumstances. What did Michael Jackson’s children and trusted staff witness prior to his sudden death?

Did his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, cause Jackson’s demise? Some suggest Jackson took his own life and others claim he was murdered by those who thought Jackson’s worth was more dead than alive.

The Strange Case of Jeffrey Dahmer (Airdate: March 17)

In the Spring of 1991, police had no idea a serial killer was on the loose. This gripping hour explores how Dahmer carefully selected his victims and how he evaded police scrutiny for years. The episode includes a chilling account by one of his victims who lived to tell his harrowing story.

The Final Days of Whitney Houston (Airdate: March 24)

This episode takes a closer look at the final days of Whitney Houston who was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The pop star was on the brink of a comeback and scheduled to perform at a Grammy Awards party that night. What were the circumstances that led to her misfortune? This episode uncovers details of Houston’s last days and her tumultuous relationship with Bobby Brown.

The Life and Death of Anna Nicole Smith (Airdate: April 7)

Anna Nicole Smith was an American model, actress, and 1993’s Playboy Playmate of the Year, who was best known for her public court battle over her late husband’s multimillion-dollar estate. She lived a glamorous life that was cut short when she was found dead at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. This episode examines what led to her mysterious death and how it happened.

What Killed Heath Ledger? (Airdate: April 14)

To many Heath Ledger had it all – wife, baby, and burgeoning career, but this episode reveals things are not as they seem. Ledger finished filming his Oscar-worthy performance of his gritty portrayal of the Joker in the “The Dark Knight.” Ledger’s body was found in his apartment and investigators were led to discover bizarre drawings and puzzling clues, including a diary Ledger created detailing his immersion of the Joker persona. Did this dark role impact his real life and what was his connection to Mary-Kate Olsen?

Capturing The Unabomber (Airdate: April 28)

This episode takes viewers inside the FBI’s investigation of one of America’s most notorious terrorists, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski. The nation was on edge as a string of bombings killed and injured innocent Americans. How did the Unabomber choose his targets and elude capture for so long? Also featured is a new interview with his brother, the man who ultimately turned him in to authorities.

DC Madam: The Woman Who Knew Too Much (Airdate: May 5)

“DC Madam” Deborah Jean Palfrey, ran a high-end escort service who catered to DC’s most powerful players. She was charged with racketeering and threatened to expose names on her client list. Palfrey was found hanging on her mother’s property. Investigators ruled it a suicide, but was her death something more sinister?

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