With immigration debates dominating the national conversation, the Discovery channel is introducing a six-part series that will air live from the U.S.-Mexico border region.
"Border Live," announced on Friday, will premiere in the first week of December. Lilia Luciano will report live from a different location along the border each week and Bill Weir will host the show from a studio in New York.
"There's so much conversation about what happens" along the border, Luciano said in an interview with CNN Business. "But it's rare to be able to immerse yourself for a lengthy period of time there."
Discovery executives said "Border Live" will not be a "political" show. But with President Trump stoking fears about migrants and making more promises about a southern border wall, it is bound to get attention. In the crowded cable TV space, that's surely the goal.
Nancy Daniels, the executive in charge of Discovery, said the series "will turn the lens on a group of people who live and work along the border that you wouldn't otherwise hear from."
Luciano and production crews will embed with border agents for taped pieces and live segments.
Daniels said "Border Live" is not directly tied to the so-called "caravan" of Central American migrants that is currently generating so much news coverage.
"It's been in the works for close to a year," Daniels said. "At the time there was no talk of a caravan, so that did not play into our proceeding with the project. But obviously there has tremendous amount of focus on the border the last several years and more interest in what is actually going on there."
The "live" aspect of "Border Live" is something channels are trying more often these days: A live hook that's meant to help get potential viewers to tune in.
One of Discovery's rivals, A&E, has a hit show following police officers, "Live PD," on Friday and Saturday nights.
"Border Live" will be live for two hours on Wednesday nights. Discovery has ordered six episodes.
It is an additional project for Weir, who's an anchor and special correspondent for CNN. He was recently lauded for his reporting about the caravan in Guatemala and southern Mexico. He got involved with Discovery when the production company behind the show, Lucky 8, reached out to him.
Weir said border issues are "incredibly misunderstood," and the show is an opportunity to address that.
"What does a night on the border look like these days?" he said. "Is it the picture the president is painting, something out of 'Game of Thrones,' where hordes of people are crashing at the gates? Or is it something much more complex? Who are the characters on both sides?"
Luciano's day job is at ABC10, a local TV station in Sacramento, California. She is taking time off from the station for "Border Live."
"We'll talk to immigrants, we'll talk to locals, we'll talk to law enforcement," Luciano said, describing her goal as "bringing you there."
When asked if she hopes the president will watch, Daniels said, "I run a network â€” I hope everyone will watch."
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