Discovery Orders Steven Spielberg, Alex Gibney Docuseries ‘Why We Hate’

Six-part television event will explore human capacity for hatred and how to overcome it

Last Updated: April 6, 2018 @ 10:59 AM

The Discovery Channel is about to tackle a tricky topic with filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney: hatred.

The network has ordered a six-part docuseries, with the working title “Why We Hate,” from the pair, which examines the origins and dangers of hate, Discovery announced Friday.

“Getting to the root of the human condition is something I find not only fascinating, but absolutely necessary in understanding who we are,” states Spielberg. “With the team in place, we delve into historical and modern-day stories of hate, traveling around the globe to uncover its mystery in others and in ourselves. If we understand why we act the way we do, we can change the way we act. That is what we are uniquely capable of as human beings.”

The project hails from Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions in association with Escape Artists for Discovery Channel, and went into production earlier this year. Sam Pollard (“Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me”) and Geeta Gandbhir (“Love the Sinner”) will co-direct the docuseries, which is slated to air on Discovery in 2019.

“When I think about the name of the network Discovery, it connotes a sense of curiosity about the world,” said Gibney. “This is not a series that simply documents something that’s happening, it’s an inquiry –  an attempt to understand why we hate, through the science, and through a sense of common humanity. Hate is in our DNA. If we begin to understand this, that’s how we begin to get to a point of being able to hope that we can overcome hate.”

“Why We Hate” will draw on research in psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and history, to trace the evolutionary basis of hate and use stories from both the past and present to reveal the nature of this primal and universal emotion.

The television event aims to reveal contemporary links to ancient behavior and use science as a basis for explaining the nature of hatred and the human mind.  At the heart of the show is this question: If we can figure out why we hate, where hate originates, and how it is amplified, can we find a way to prevent it?

“This is exactly the kind of story Discovery should be telling,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery, Inc. “‘Why We Hate’ has been a four-year discussion with Steven and Alex on how to best capture the domestic and global trends that are growing around the world and bring those facts and stories to a worldwide audience. Our aspiration is to be working with great storytellers like Steven and Alex all over the world on the most important and consequential stories and issues. ‘Why We Hate’ is even more relevant today, and the Discovery team and I are “all in” on this project. It is Discovery’s commitment and a critical part of our heritage and mission. I really look forward to collaborating on such an important topic and bringing it to over 1 billion people across our domestic and global platforms in over 220 countries.”

“To say we are excited to work with Steven, Alex, Geeta, and Sam is an understatement,” said Nancy Daniels, chief brand officer, Discovery and Factual. “Understanding the why behind our actions can help us change those actions. That leads to a hopeful future for us and generations to come.”

“Why We Hate” is executive produced by Spielberg, Gibney, Frank Marshall, Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Yael Melamede, Erica Sashin and Steve Tisch. Jon Bardin and David McKillop will executive produce for Discovery.

Variety first reported the news.