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“Citizen Hearst” debuts April 23 on BIO

Melissa Hayer Modified: April 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm •  Published: April 19, 2013

The new documentary “Citizen Hearst,” centering on the story of William Randolph Hearst and the  Hearst Corporation premieres at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, on BIO.

Details on “Citizen Hearst,” provided by the network, are as follows:

In “Citizen Hearst,” Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated director Leslie Iwerks ( The Pixar Story, Pipe Dreams, Recycled Life) explores the 125-year history of Hearst Corporation, from William Randolph Hearst’s conviction that print newspapers could boldly inform public opinion, to the global impact of the company’s multimedia brands and diversified businesses today. The film is narrated by Academy Award-nominated actor William H. Macy.

The iconic nature of W.R. Hearst – an important and indelible part of American history – has long enthralled the public, and was famously dramatized in the 1941 film Citizen Kane starring Orson Welles. “Citizen Hearst,” produced by Iwerks and Jane Kelly Kosek, is the first in-depth look at how the company has navigated the changing times over the span of two centuries.

Crafted from interviews and historical footage, “Citizen Hearst” features the personal stories and trials and tribulations that have made today’s Hearst Corporation. Featured interviews include Hearst executives and editors, including Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst, who has led the company longer than any Hearst executive other than W.R. Hearst himself; Oprah Winfrey; Mark Burnett; Ralph Lauren; Donna Karan; Dan Rather; Bob Iger; Leonard Maltin; Dr. Oz; Heidi Klum; Nina Garcia; Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; and several descendants of W.R. Hearst, among others.

The documentary chronicles the rise of American journalism and Hearst’s newspaper rivalry with Joseph Pulitzer; traces the beginnings of newsreels and films, and later magazine brands and cable; glimpses into the personal lives of W.R. Hearst and Marion Davies (including reactions to  Citizen Kane); explores the influences of media on politics through the decades; investigates Hearst’s steadfast pursuit of creative expansion; and examines the bold commitment the company made in a changed media world to building Hearst Tower in the wake of 9/11. Viewers will get a never-before-seen view of the company, from behind the glass exterior of New York’s Hearst Tower to inside the famous Hearst Castle near San Simeon, California.

“’Citizen Hearst’ explores the creative genius and sharp foresight that has been handed down from one Hearst leader to the next, all in the pursuit of innovation across all media platforms,” Iwerks says. “Hearst has always believed in its creative people to build and expand the organization. The film follows the thread that began with the unprecedented vision and risks of William Randolph Hearst and continues under the leadership of CEO Frank Bennack today.”

Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation, says, “It is clear today that we are a very different company than 125 years ago, but in one sense Hearst has not changed at all: our mission is still to inform, entertain and inspire. This is the first time our story is told in film, from William Randolph Hearst’s first Examiner edition to the global information company we are today. ‘Citizen Hearst’ is a documentary 125 years in the making – we are all ‘Citizen Hearsts’ in a sense, informed by journalism and media that W.R. Hearst is responsible for creating.”

Follow me on Twitter: @MelissaHayer



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