REELZ today announced its August 2021 premieres highlighted by REELZFest celebrating the music, mayhem and mojo of Jim Morrison, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Metallica and AC/DC in a massive lineup of new music themed stories. REELZFest also includes the REELZ premieres of music documentaries Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage.
“With a staggering lineup of music themed shows REELZFest taps into the phenomenon of rock music celebrating its fandom, the wild lives of rock stars and the real stories about why the music stops,” said Steve Cheskin, SVP of Programming at REELZ. “And REELZFest isn’t all blistering guitar riffs, big hair and bandmate squabbles as our Michael Jackson and Jim Morrison original documentaries give viewers an insightful look into the real lives of two enduring music legends and their contributions to culture and complicated personalities that spawned their genius and their troubles.”
A look at the remarkable life of a true comedy giant leads August 2021 premieres with Autopsy: The Last Hours of…“Jerry Lewis” on Sunday, August 1 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. His trademark physical humor inspired generations of comedians and earned him the nickname the ‘King of Comedy’ but behind his image as a benevolent clown who raised billions for charity there were rumors of a different Lewis. Was there a secret hiding behind the funny façade Lewis so successfully perfected over the years and did his signature pratfall comedy style play a role in what eventually took his life?
Kicking off REELZFest programming on Saturday, August 14 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT is Jim Morrison: Rider on the Storm exploring the mercurial journey of The Doors frontman whose electrifying performances, rebel spirit and provocative lyrics changed rock music. But behind his mysterious rock star poet persona was a troubled and restless soul trapped in a life damaged by heavy substance abuse and eventually mired in controversy after he became the first ever rock star arrested on stage during a live performance. Now in rare archive interviews hear Morrison in his own words discuss fame, becoming a sex symbol and how he pushed back against any label. While Morrison symbolized the psychedelic rock star of the ‘60s the band with the mind-bending sound was Pink Floyd. On Sunday, August 15 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT Pink Floyd: Breaking the Band examines the rapid ascent and trickling breakup of the wildly successful group that sold more than 250 million albums. But before Pink Floyd took off their lead singer and co-founder was ousted from the band for excessive and debilitating drug use. The band would not derail and with the release of their iconic “The Dark Side of the Moon” album everything changed. Huge money, global fame and power struggles chipped away at Pink Floyd but what exactly made this unique mega selling band finally fall apart? Meteoric success, toxic jealousy and creative rivalries are also pillars in the story of progressive rock juggernaut Genesis. On Sunday, August 15 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT Genesis: Breaking the Band former lead guitarist Steve Hackett shares his first-hand experiences of the band’s incredible success, the story behind his departure and witnessing the clashes between singer Peter Gabriel and drummer Phil Collins that would spawn their remarkable solo careers.
Then on Saturday, August 21 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT it’s the REELZ premiere of music documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey exploring heavy metal music as a cultural phenomenon with its legends Tony Iommi, Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie among others giving their take on the genre, its global fanbase and wild stories from decades of performing. Within the heavy metal music family is a branch of glam metal epitomized by the band Whitesnake with its lead singer David Coverdale’s big voice, searing guitar riffs, tight leather pants and big hair. On Sunday, August 22 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT Whitesnake: Breaking the Band see the band that emerged from English badlands hungry to conquer the world but to hone the sound that would rock America it would take 10 years and a constantly changing lineup. With more than 15 million albums sold Whitesnake was a success but it was all built on Coverdale’s ruthless and singular ambition and at height of their power he threw it all away. The pantheon of hard rock is not complete without Alice Cooper. Dubbed “The Godfather of Shock Rock” Alice Cooper’s signature brand of heavy metal included a wild and often controversial stage show that involved pyrotechnics, live animals and fake blood. Before its lead singer legally changed his name to Alice Cooper, the name was for a rock band that achieved huge success in record time but the pressure to keep performing turned toxic. In Alice Cooper: Breaking the Band on Sunday, August 22 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT see the story of the legendary group whose story went from a party to a horror show.
As possibly the most fascinating, successful and troubled superstars of all time Michael Jackson was a singular talent who captivated crowds and stirred strong reactions among fans and observers. Alongside the remarkable performances and die hard fans was a deeply damaged man. In Michael Jackson: Inside His Mind on Thursday, August 26 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT psychiatrist Dr. Bob Johnson psychologically profiles the complex mind of the pop icon from his abusive childhood to his insatiable need for attention and the origins for compulsions that drove his often erratic behavior. On Saturday, August 28 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage makes its REELZ premiere with the story of the Canadian rock band power trio exploring their 40 years of rock and roll success, setbacks and soaring popularity. From the Rush’s working class roots and struggle to land a record deal to globetrotting tours with legends including KISS this is the complete inside story of one of the most influential bands of all time. Closing out REELZFest on Sunday, August 29 are the back-to-back premieres of Metallica: Breaking the Band at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT and AC/DC: Breaking the Band at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT about the fabled bands who share stories of pushing through heartbreaking tragedies on their way to making music history. Metallica is the highest selling heavy metal bands in history with five consecutive chart-topping albums along with 1,600 shows and nearly $1.5 billion in gross sales. But their massive musical success came with destructive excess and intra-band rivalries led to mayhem with extreme personalities battling for the spotlight. But as the young band ascended to its lofty status tragedy struck when bassist Cliff Burton dies after the band’s motorhome crashes. The death would reverberate through Metallica for years and it would take hundreds of thousands of dollars in therapy to get the band back on track. Selling more than 200 million records and playing more than 2,500 concerts worldwide explosive Australian rockers AC/DC blew away everything in front of them. The band’s two founding brothers Malcolm and Angus Young had a relentless drive to succeed that would leave carnage in its wake and splinter the band. Former bassist Mark Evans shares his experiences from the legendary in-studio guitar solo by Angus that literally lit the studio on fire to his fallout with Angus that led to Evans leaving the band.
Below is August 2021 programming listed by premiere date and time. Full synopses for every show follow this list.
Sunday, August 1
*NEW* Autopsy: The Last Hours of…“Jerry Lewis” at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Saturday, August 14
*NEW* Jim Morrison: Rider on the Storm at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Sunday, August 15
*NEW* Pink Floyd: Breaking the Band at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
*NEW* Genesis: Breaking the Band at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Saturday, August 21
Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Sunday, August 22
*NEW* Whitesnake: Breaking the Band at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
*NEW* Alice Cooper: Breaking the Band at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Thursday, August 26
*NEW* Michael Jackson: Inside His Mind at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Saturday, August 28
Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Sunday, August 29
*NEW* Metallica: Breaking the Band at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
*NEW* AC/DC: Breaking the Band at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
Below are detailed descriptions for August 2021 programming listed by premiere date and time:
Autopsy: The Last Hours of… “Jerry Lewis” Premieres on Sunday, August 1 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. Jerry Lewis was still working into his 90s up until just a few months before his death. But 75 years in the limelight took its toll on this comic legend. His body paid the price for his knockabout clown image which centered around elaborate and frequent pratfalls after he suffered a permanent back injury at just 38 years old that would cause him a lifetime of chronic pain and led to an addiction to opioid painkillers. He was a heavy smoker for more than 40 years and the doctors discovered congenital heart issues when he was just a teenager. He died at the age of 91 of cardiac disease but what was it that kept Lewis living and working so long? Renowned forensic pathologist and medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter doesn’t think his cardiac failure is the whole story behind his death. Dr. Hunter delves deep into Lewis’ records to discover whether there was something else going on in his body that contributed to his eventual demise. Sharing their personal stories of Lewis are his daughter Danielle Lewis and widow Sandra Lewis. Autopsy: The Last Hours of… is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Jim Morrison: Rider on the Storm Premieres on Saturday, August 14 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. In July 1965 Jim Morrison ran into classmate and keyboardist Ray Manzarek on a beach in Venice California and the two decided to start a rock band. Just two short years later The Doors hit “Light My Fire” topped the Billboard Hot 100. As one of the most memorable artists of the 20th century the creative rebel brilliance of Morrison was only matched by his penchant for raw self-destruction which culminated in his untimely death at just 27 years old. Jim Morrison: Rider on the Storm explores every chapter of the mysterious rocker’s life and his search for his true identity. Did Morrison himself even know who he wanted to be? Morrison’s extraordinary story reveals the rock icon as a chameleon constantly shifting personalities and personas to manifest his wild artistic sparks. From the seeds of his anti-authority spirit planted in his youth from clashes with his strict U.S. Navy Rear Admiral father to the excesses of ‘60s rock stardom hear Morrison in his own words discuss his youth and becoming a celebrity. Morrison could be a sensitive friend, an aspiring poet, a caring lover or an out of control alcoholic hell bent on confrontation which was all seen by The Doors road manager Vince Treaner who shares his experience with the complex rocker. Did Morrison’s constant quest to express his artistic urges and rebel against any authority become the catalyst for his untimely death? Jim Morrison: Rider on the Storm is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Pink Floyd: Breaking the Band Premieres on Sunday, August 15 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. With their astounding 250 million albums sold Pink Floyd is among the most successful rock bands of all time but the band was nearly broken before they rocketed to success. The British rockers had always been at the center of ‘60s psychedelic rock era with their experimental sound incorporating sound effects and playing live gigs with long and improvised sets but lead guitarist and singer Syd Barrett took it too far. Barrett became so engulfed in his addiction to drugs the band ousted him and were back to the drawing board. The band’s bass player Roger Waters picked up the reigns and began writing the album that would become “The Dark Side of the Moon”. Upon its release in 1973 the album went straight to the top of the Billboard 100 and stayed in the charts for a record setting 18 years and would go on to sell more than 45 million copies alone making Pink Floyd certified superstars. But the extreme swing in fortune for the band after toiling for years began to rip them at the seams. Add on the pressure of trying to follow up an iconic album and mix in intra-band power struggles and Pink Floyd was a powder keg. “The Dark Side of the Moon” like the four records that followed it was the brainchild of Waters who became so convinced Pink Floyd’s success was only down to him that he tried to bury the band so he could prosper alone. Breaking the Band is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Genesis: Breaking the Band Premieres on Sunday, August 15 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. One of the biggest bands of the 20th century Genesis sold more 100 million albums worldwide and sold out thousands of shows. But their story is as remarkable for the band’s success as it is for their extraordinary transformation from cult progressive rockers to pop-rock superstars. Along the way power struggles saw the band fragment with lead singer Peter Gabriel and eventually drummer Phil Collins both leaving to launch massively successful solo careers. See the band’s remarkable creation and survival story from their early beginnings in a sleepy part of England to sold out global tours and chart topping hits as they infused a decade with their iconic sound. Genesis lead guitarist Steve Hackett shares his personal experience detailing his reaction to Gabriel getting a hot Hollywood offer that saw him leave the band on a whim as well as the intense creative clashes that led to Gabriel’s final departure from Genesis to start his solo career. When Gabriel left Genesis was bankrupt, without its lead singer and written off by the music press as yesterday’s news. What followed was an amazing turn of fortune driven by a refocused group with Collins as the lead singer as the band recorded their most commercially successful album ever. Still, creative differences remained as did financial struggles. Hackett also reveals what prompted his own departure from the band leaving Genesis to just three members before yet another and final breakup. Breaking the Band is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey Makes Its REELZ Premiere on Saturday, August 21 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. An illuminating examination of the heavy metal music subculture through the lens of anthropologist and lifelong heavy metal music fan Sam Dunn who takes viewers on a global journey asking why this music has been consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned yet loved so passionately by millions of fans. The documentary dives into the defining details of the genre answering the questions: What group is considered the first heavy metal band? What sounds define heavy metal? Who is really behind the popularization of the heavy metal horn hand gesture? Viewers also see why heavy metal artists have long had an obsession with some of life's most provocative subjects including sexuality, religion, violence and death. This groundbreaking documentary is the first of its kind presenting both a defense of a long-misunderstood art form and a window for the outsider into the spectacle that is heavy metal. Sharing their first hand experiences as legends of the genre are Tony Iommi, Alice Cooper, Dio, Dee Snider as well as Tom Morello and Rob Zombie among others. Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey is produced by Banger Films.
Whitesnake: Breaking the Band Premieres on Sunday, August 22 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. Whitesnake was the brainchild of former Deep Purple frontman David Coverdale. They appeared on the English music scene in 1978 with raunchy lyrics and a big blues rock sound. Over the next 12 years Coverdale’s grit and determination went on to drive the band to become one of the biggest successes of the “Hair Metal Age”. But there were plenty of casualties on the way with a host of lineup changes as Coverdale ruthlessly searched for the winning formula. Hit songs like “Here I Go Again” and “Fool For Your Loving” along with famously big hair, Coverdale’s unique voice and stellar guitar playing pushed them to the forefront of the glam rock consciousness. With an image that went from blues musicians with tailored moustaches to leather clad rockers with bouffant hair Whitesnake sold millions of albums worldwide and their sexy glamourous videos defined an era but the band’s story is one filled with personal rifts and an epic meltdown. Breaking the Band is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Alice Cooper: Breaking the Band Premieres on Sunday, August 22 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. The band Alice Cooper rose from total anonymity to become one of the highest grossing groups in the world capturing the imagination of a generation with iconic hits including “School’s Out” and their provocative often controversial stage show. But the pressure to continue their success was immense. And when their intriguing frontman began to monopolize the spotlight it rankled the other band members. Mix in addictions, jealousy and greed and it would only be three years after their first hit that the band Alice Cooper would implode. The lead singer changed his name to Alice Cooper and became a cultural icon while the other members of the group quietly moved into the background. Breaking the Band is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
Michael Jackson: Inside His Mind Premieres on Thursday, August 26 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. Innocent or guilty? Black or white? Man or child? Extrovert or introvert? Michael Jackson left many questions about his life unanswered. His controversial decisions involving personal relationships, child care, spending habits and drug dependency make his story one of the great riddles of pop culture and music. So who was this man and why did he operate in such strange ways with such bizarre consequences? In Michael Jackson: Inside His Mind psychiatrist Dr. Bob Johnson examines Jackson’s childhood, relationship with his father and siblings, incredible early superstardom followed by an adult life of untold riches, horrific accusations and exile. In doing so he stitches together the man behind the mask of plastic surgery, misinformation and mystery. What led Jackson to a strange lifelong obsession with childhood that eventually contributed to his own self-destruction? Did his life as a global star where normal boundaries didn’t exist make him believe he was untouchable and influence his own moral compass? How did his experiences of childhood shape his own seemingly disturbed reality? Go inside the complex and controversial mind of Michael Jackson with insight from several people who knew Jackson personally including former manager Dieter Wiesner, friend Mark Lester, The Jackson 5 keyboard player Ronnie Rancifer and Jackson family neighbor Reynaud Jones among others. Michael Jackson: Inside His Mind is produced by Honey Bee.
Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage Makes Its REELZ Premiere on Saturday, August 28 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. As one of the most influential rock bands ever Rush ranks third in consecutive gold or platinum albums after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The band’s devoted following numbers in the millions worldwide and their music is revered by generations of musicians. Now their story is the focus of Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage chronicling the group’s 40-year history in a comprehensive exploration of the extraordinary power trio, the evolution of their sound and celebrating their continuing popularity. Using extensive archival footage see the resilient rockers lead guitarist Alex Lifeson along with singer and bassist Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart from when they started the band in the late ‘60s through to the present. Interviewees include colleagues and contemporaries Billy Corgan, Gene Simmons, Trent Reznor and South Park creator Matt Stone who share what they believe makes the band so special. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is produced by Banger Films.
Metallica: Breaking the Band Premieres on Sunday, August 29 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. With a combined fortune of more than $900 million and a band life spanning four decades Metallica are undisputed royalty in heavy metal history. Their 1991 album “Metallica” also known as “The Black Album” was certified 16x platinum and changed the course of heavy metal along with plunging the young quartet into mega stardom. But it wasn’t always an easy road. Struggles with aggression, addiction, jealousy and the death of a beloved band member have sent Metallica in and out of darkness since the band’s inception and yet they continue to thrive. Metallica: Breaking the Band reveals the inside story of the trials and tribulations of one of the biggest, baddest metal bands on earth. Sharing his first-hand experiences working with the band is their former manager Jon Zazula and studio producer Flemming Rasmussen. Breaking the Band is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.
AC/DC: Breaking the Band Premieres on Sunday, August 29 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. Brothers Malcolm and Angus Young are the heart and co-founders of Australian rock band AC/DC. The two were the youngest of eight siblings and grew up in a working-class family where rock and roll was the only life they ever knew. Both brothers had a relentless and take no prisoners attitude towards success and they shared the dream to get to the top and become guitar toting multi-millionaires. Their desire to conquer the world with their singular brand of heavy rock came before everything including family relationships and over 35 years many of those around them would be chewed up and spat out as AC/DC rose to world domination. But even as its members achieved global success beyond their wildest dreams AC/DC would be haunted by tragedy after tragedy. Breaking the Band is produced by Potato, part of ITV Studios.