To celebrate two decades of delivering important news you can use, Teen Kids News is dedicating its entire first program of the new 20th season to looking at past highlights, as well as hearing from many former teens who helped launch the critically acclaimed series.
The ground-breaking Emmy Award-winning program was the brainchild of Albert T. Primo. He’s the man credited with creating the popular Eyewitness News format back in the 1960s. “The 9/11 attacks, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia – the early 2000s were very scary times. Especially for teens,” says Co-Executive Producer Primo, adding: “They needed a program that kept them informed, without traumatizing them.”
In late 2003, Teen Kids News debuted with a team of young newscasters. While some had famous parents, most were ordinary kids. But according to Co-Executive Producer Alan J. Weiss, “they all brought a level of professionalism beyond their years”. The former senior program producer at WABC-TV’s highly rated Eyewitness News, Weiss says “These kids did a better job at reporting the news than some of the adult journalists I’ve worked with.”
The initial anchor team was headed by Mwanzaa Brown, who played young Simba on Broadway along with co-anchor Haley Cohen, the daughter of network news anchor Paula Zahn. Sports were delivered by Cody Gifford, son of football great Frank Gifford and wife Katie Lee. Later, Gabe Cohen, son of TV personality Meredith Viera and Jenna Ruggiero, daughter of journalist Rosanna Scotto, and would join the staff.
The original news team are no longer teens, but adults – some are even parents. “We’re rather proud that a number of our reporters became professional journalists,” says Program Producer Marilou Yacoub. “And we’re equally proud of the others who as you’ll see in the half-hour Special, have pursued a variety of careers…architects, doctors, scientists, international humanitarian consultants, as well as members of the U.S. Military,” she adds.
Shooting stories around the country, as well as around the world, Teen Kids News helps its young viewers understand important issues that directly concern them: avoiding internet predators, dealing with bullies, the importance of exercise & healthy eating, preparing for a job interview, choosing the right college or a career you don’t need a college degree for.
Along the way, interviewing well-known personalities like BTS, Jonas Bros, Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Jay Z, Rhianna, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Stephen King, Avril Lavigne, Channing Tatum, Michael Phelps and the cast of the Harry Potter movies.
Syndicated to more than 160 TV stations, Teen Kids News is also carried by educational channels to thousands of schools. It’s a regular feature on the American Forces Network, available to all U.S. Military families stationed around the world.