Scripps News to expand documentary programming by creating new longform units

March 23, 2023
By Molly Miossi

ATLANTA – Scripps News will significantly expand its documentary programming by creating a new long-form unit dedicated to producing compelling cinematic offerings for Scripps News platforms and distribution partners.

Scripps News, a division of The EW Scripps Company, is the nation’s only 24/7 TV news network available for free over the air.

New full-time hires joining Scripps News’ 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 long form 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 News’ expanded documentary programming will build on its award-winning lineup 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.
  • NextLevel,” 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.

“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,” said Toombs. “Our mission is to create documentaries and series that inform, entertain and build trust with our viewers.”

Some of the planned documents:

  • April 2, “In Real Life: Crypto Crash”
    What was behind the collapse of crypto giant FTX? And what does it say about digital currencies, celebrity endorsements, and the collision of tech and finance? Insider accounts and creative animation take viewers beyond the headlines.
  • April 16, “In Real Life: Next Gen Stunts”
    A new generation of Hollywood stunt workers is changing the industry from the ground up. Featuring the stunt team behind “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” this documentary shows the behind-the-scenes reality for a new crop of stunt workers making Hollywood’s biggest hits.
  • May 7, Scripps News Showcase, “No Greater Love”
    An Army chaplain looks at combat deployment in Afghanistan and the various struggles that returning soldiers face in this award-winning documentary film.
  • May 14, “In Real Life: Ukrainian Sniper”
    A Ukrainian sniper navigates a warzone and a pregnancy, creating a space for more women on the frontlines.
  • May 21, “In Real Life: Voices of Nature”
    Artificial intelligence opens up new possibilities for scientists communicating with animals — from sending messages to elephants on the plains of Kenya to mimicking honey bees and bat sounds.

Media contacts: Michael Perry, (513) 259-4718, [email protected]

About Scripps News
Scripps News (@ScrippsNews) is the nation’s only free 24/7 broadcast news network, serving viewers opinion-free national news from 16 news bureaus across the US and Scripps’ Local Media national desk. Scripps News is available in more than 94% of US television homes free and over the air with a digital antenna, on mobile with the Scripps News app and online at It is also carried on streaming platforms and services, including Samsung TV Plus, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Pluto TV, Apple TV, Sling, Vizio and Xumo. Scripps News is part of The EW Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).