“What is Non-Fiction?” to go Online

Popular panel of network execs and producers to be made available on Academy's web site
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A lively discussion among television’s top innovators on the evolution of non-fiction programming is now streaming live on the Television Academy’s web site.

What is Non-Fiction drew a packed house when it was presented at the Academy’s Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on Jan. 8. The panelists included HBO documentary and family president Sheila Nevins, TLC president and GM Eileen O’Neill, National Geographic Channel EVP Steve Burns, History Channel EVP and GM Nancy Dubuc, American Masters executive producer Susan Lacy, and American Experience executive producer Mark Samels. Television Academy governor Daniel H. Birman called the group the “rock stars of non-fiction.”

The panel discussed whether or not recreations were necessary in nonfiction as well as the incredible changes to the format of non-fiction programming over the past decade. 

“Not many people cared much about non-fiction programming, probably because we didn’t bring in much money,” Birman said at the event. “But things changed a little bit. This poor stepchild of drama now probably employs half of this town.”

The program can be streamed online at www.emmys.tv.