The second season of “This Is Life with Lisa Ling” premieres on CNN on Wednesday, and the journalist is excited about the powerful stories that she has prepared for viewers.
“We just got so much incredible, unprecedented access to different worlds,” Ling told TheWrap ahead of the premiere. “People know we are going to treat their stories in a dignified way, we were just able to penetrate worlds that the media have never allowed media in before.”
In the season premiere, Ling delves deep into the history of Warren Jeffs, the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints’ prophet and convicted felon, with rare interviews with family members and promised revelations that could shake his followers’ faith in him.
“Warren Jeffs is one of the most notorious figures alive in America today,” she said. “Just because he’s in prison, just because he has a life sentence, doesn’t mean he doesn’t exert tremendous control over his people… What we try to do with this episode is understand a little bit better who this guy was before he became the prophet, and if people knew more about him, knew about the things that are going to be revealed, would they still have followed him as blindly?”
Other worlds Ling explores includes an episode about the secretive “one-percent” Mongols Biker club, which has never offered press access and has come under intense government targeting in the wake of the Waco, Texas shootout between several motorcycle clubs.
Another group she penetrated is the male pickup artist community — a global phenomenon and multi-million dollar business, according to Ling.
“Unfortunately we live in a culture that glorifies consumerism and stuff,” she said. “How does a man who may not outwardly or inwardly possess all the resources to provide excesses, how does someone survive in the dating world today?”
Despite seemingly “sensationalist” investigations, Ling and “This Is Life” executive producer Amy Bucher are cognizant that being informative is just as important as being entertaining.
“We actually learned that people are coming to our show not just to be entertained but to be informed about things that are relevant to them,” said Bucher.
“We don’t ever finger wag,” added Ling. “We don’t ever approach these topics from an omniscient perspective, it’s really just experiential.”
“This Is Life” premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.