During the Jeff Zucker era at CNN, the network has made the decision to dedicate more time and resources to taped documentaries and special reports.
Hosts Pamela Brown and Gloria Borger provided The Hill with a preview of what viewers can expect in profiling two presidential nominees who have been in the public spotlight for decades in very different capacities: Trump, the Republican nominee, as a longtime businessman and reality TV host; Clinton, the Democratic nominee, as a first lady, senator, secretary of State and presidential candidate.
“What we tried to do in the Donald Trump documentary is provide a full portrait of the man — from his childhood, through his successes and difficult times, to his prominence as a national celebrity on television, to the current campaign," explained Borger, the network's chief political analyst. "So it's really a biography of his life.
"Hopefully, viewers will learn more about the man himself, what drives him and his relationship with his children," she continued. "The story of Donald Trump is truly one of a kind.”
Brown said that despite Clinton's high profile, the audience can expect the unexpected.
“I think people will be surprised by how much they learn about the personal side of Hillary Clinton beyond policy and politics in this documentary," said Brown. "This is a comprehensive look at her life starting from childhood, and seeing it laid out in two hours provides a more well-rounded look at her as a person.
"Viewers will learn everything from what made her hesitant to marry Bill ClintonBill ClintonWe must act now and pass the American Health Care Act Trump's message: Russia First or America First? Senate Democrats should grill Judge Gorsuch on antitrust. Here's how. MORE at first to her most difficult moment in the White House.”
All told, Borger and Brown sat down with more than 60 family members, childhood and lifelong friends, former colleagues, and analysts of the nominees to help tell Clinton's and Trump's stories.
"What's interesting about this is that since Trump has not been a political figure his entire life, we interview a whole host of people you do not ordinarily see on TV," said Borger. "His childhood friends, people he has done business with and worked with in all parts of his life and, of course, his three oldest children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump — who talk about growing up with Donald Trump as their father.”
Brown, meanwhile, said her team was also able to find new faces who had never spoken about Clinton publicly.
“We reached back to her elementary school friends and worked our way up to the present day talking to those who were with her during pivotal moments in her life," said Brown, whose primary role with the network is as justice correspondent. "They provide invaluable insight about Hillary Clinton as a person during the highs and lows of her life.
"We also interviewed Chelsea Clinton, who has rarely done any interviews this year," said Brown. "And she gives a unique perspective about how Hillary Clinton is as a mother and grandmother.”
The network said the decision to give Clinton the more coveted 8 p.m. time slot initially happened via a coin flip. In an effort to be fair, CNN will give each documentary an equal number of airings and reverse their order each time they air together.
For example, the documentaries will air in reverse on Saturday, Sept. 10, with "All Business: The Essential Donald Trump" airing at 8 p.m. and "Unfinished Business: The Essential Hillary Clinton" airing at 10 p.m.
And what do Borger and Brown hope will be the main takeaways after watching?
“I'm hoping the viewers will come away with an understanding of who Donald Trump is, how he grew up, his passions in his life, and what drives him to succeed,” said Borger.
“There are so many different narratives about Hillary Clinton out there," said Brown.
"I hope people will walk away with a better understanding of who she really is and what is driving her to seek the highest office in the land for a second time.”