TV Documentary

An original program that presents factual, or supposedly factual, information. Often an hour long, sometimes are part of a series or Mini Series. Many Cooking Show, Home Improvement and News Magazine specials fall in this category.

The format can either feature one long film in each episode like Frontline or multiple shorter segments like 60 Minutes.

The Discovery and History channels at one time specialized in this form, as did A&E before that same company created History. PBS has a tradition with this format as well.

Note that using this format does not make the content of the program necessarily "factual".

Examples:

Series of Unrelated Subjects:

Thematically Consistent Subjects:

Extended Single Subject Mini Series:

Back in the "Golden Age" of TV news, CBS used to do special documentaries called CBS Reports:
  • Harvest of Shame is a 1960 made for television documentary presented by broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow. It shows the plight of American migrant agricultural workers. Allegedly, the Coca-Cola Company (which owned agricultural interests) refused to advertise on CBS for many years after it aired. For this reason, among others, the TV documentary rarely exists anymore, and when it does, is almost always a uncontroversial (at least to advertisers) subject.

Single show