Wed., Dec. 13, at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, will revisit this year's most prominent celebrities and memorable events—and give viewers an exclusive look at the extraordinary lives of some of the ordinary people we wrote about in the past 12 months.
"PEOPLE is a natural for television," Jeremy Koch, 42, who was named vice president of the magazine last month and who supervised the three-month-long TV project. "We're about hot celebrities," he notes. "But we're also about real people living through dramatic, real-life events." Adds Peter Kaminsky, who produced the show with his brother Robert: "The secret is you don't put the magazine on TV You put the magazine's sensibilities on TV You work closely with the people who understand what PEOPLE is—its tone, feel and emphasis."
Highlighting the show is a one-on-one chat between First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and managing editor Landon Jones. "It sounds like a talk between two friends," says assistant managing editor Hal Wingo, who helped organize the show. "And what she talks about—her family, summer vacation, world events, tragedies—reflects on the kinds of ups and downs we all had this past year."
Hosted by CBS anchor Paula Zahn, the program is divided into segments introduced by a panel of PEOPLE staffers who offer their picks for the year's sexiest celebs, the hottest romances,
the stormiest splits and the most captivating human dramas. "No obvious big themes emerged during the year, so our discussion was a lively one," says assistant managing editor Charles Leerhsen. "Topics were all over the map, from O.J. and Bosnia to celebrity divorce and body piercing."
Special guests like Dennis Franz of NYPD Blue, comic Drew Carey, actress Bonnie Hunt and tennis great Monica Seles weigh in on what stories moved them most in 1995. And Nicole Kidman, Friends star Courteney Cox Arquette and Mary Tyler Moore welcome us into their homes for intimate portraits of their personal lives.
We also interview some of the everyday heroes who inspired us with acts of courage and generosity. Leading the list is Oseola McCarty, the retired laundress who donated the $150,000 she saved in her 87 years to send needy African-American students to the University of Southern Mississippi. And we chronicle some of the human losses that also defined 1995, among them the deaths of Ginger Rogers and Jerry Garcia, the murder of superstar singer Selena and the tragic bombing and healing of Oklahoma City.
Koch, who heads our circulation staff as well as managing other television projects, our New Media department and our international ventures, says, "There's no reason why PEOPLE has to be contained in a magazine format. When you say PEOPLE, everyone has a sense of what you're talking about. You're talking about compelling personality journalism."
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