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What’s ‘Next’ for CNN’s Gupta

11/21/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Nov. 6 marked the launch of a new CNN news/documentary
series called The Next List, starring Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The show,
which profiles unsung people on the cutting edge of technological
innovations that could shape the future of how we live and look at
everyday things was the topic on tap with the veteran CNN anchor
and chief medical correspondent. In an interview with Multichannel News programming
editor R. Thomas Umstead, Gupta tells what makes the show different, and
sheds light on his next project.

MCN:
What prompted
you create
The Next List?


Sanjay Gupta: Because
we’re a big news channel
we travel all over the
world reporting on newsworthy
events, and I realized
that we come across
a lot of people that are not
necessarily known and
have been working in obscurity
that have incredible
stories. They’re creating
change in their own
way, whether it is something
that they’re doing
specifically in naturaldisaster
stricken areas or,
if they’ve seen particular
problems in our society,
basically decided to find
ways to address those problems.

I thought their stories were always so interesting
so that was the genesis of The Next
List
— these are people that we think are
agents of change, and they’re solving some
of society’s problems, tackling big issues or
looking at things in ways that we have not
looked at them before. We wanted to tell
their stories.

MCN: With the news dominated by sensationalist
stories and celebrity news, do
you think that audiences will gravitate to
the subject matter in The Next List?


SG: I think so. These people are very relatable
— viewers will look at them and say,
“I get that person’s story and understand
them — they’re more like me than the famous,
well-known celebrities are.” They are
also addressing issues that we’re all looking
at in our own lives and maybe have not addressed.
Now, we get a chance to look at a
totally different way of solving a problem.

From a curiosity standpoint, it’ll be very
interesting for people. Finally, The Next List
is aspirational to the extent that we get inspired
by people whose backgrounds are
not as well known a lot of people we hear
about on television. You’ll learn a lot in addition
to getting a glimpse of the future.

MCN: Who are some of
the innovators that you’ll
be profiling on the show?

SG: We’re looking at
someone who looks at
the way we communicate
with all of our senses. For
example, the perfume industry
is caught up in the
idea that it’s the fragrance
that makes the difference.
But what this person is realizing,
from an evolutionary
standpoint, is that it is
a feeling that is conjured
up when you actually have
a sense of smell. It’s possible
that you smell nothing,
but instead a totally different
feeling envelops your
body. Why is that? What
did you just smell so to speak that caused
that? I think what he is doing is teaching us
about how the human body has evolved
and how people are going to advertise completely
differently in the future as a result of
this and how we determine the products
that we seek out.


MCN: Besides The Next List,
what other
projects are you working on?


SG: I’m working on a documentary that’s
right up my alley, which is concussions and
football. As a neurosurgeon, I’ve been interested
in this for a long time — we’ve been
following a high school team for the entire
season and learning how significant this is
even at that level. Everyone seems to recognize
that this is a problem and it’s a much
more life-long problem than people realize,
but there are strategies that are working.
We’re basically going to bring you the story
of their season, and how they turned some
of those awful statistics around.

September