Producer Michael Kirk
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Kirk has produced more than 200 national television programs. A former Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, Kirk was the senior producer of FRONTLINE from the series’ inception in 1983 until the fall of 1987, when he created his own production company, the Kirk Documentary Group.
His most recent FRONTLINE productions include League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, a two-hour investigation revealing how, for years, the NFL worked to refute scientific evidence that the violent collisions at the heart of the game are linked to alarming incidence of early-onset dementia; Cliffhanger, a look into the nation’s fiscal crises and the inside history of how Washington has failed to solve the country’s problems of debt and deficit; The Choice 2012, the quadrennial FRONTLINE special that examines the political and personal biographies of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (he also produced the special in 2008, which featured Barack Obama and John McCain, and the 2000 version on George W. Bush and Al Gore); Money, Power and Wall Street (Emmy Award, George Polk Award), the four-hour series that tells the inside story of the financial crisis; Top Secret America, a yearlong examination into the huge, unwieldy, top-secret world the government has created since 9/11; The Anthrax Files, a reinvestigation into the anthrax case a decade after the attacks; and Obama’s Deal, a look at the push to reform health care. Prior to Money, Power and Wall Street, he produced three other investigations of the recent financial crisis: the Emmy Award-winning The Warning, the unique story of a regulator’s warning about the dangers of derivatives in the 1990s; Breaking the Bank, an inside look into the complicated financial and political web threatening Bank of America; and Inside the Meltdown, a major investigation into the collapse of the American economy. In the spring of 2008 he produced, directed and wrote the four-and-a-half-hour, two-part special Bush’s War, which won an Emmy. He has produced 10 films on the war on terror, including Cheney’s Law (Peabody Award); Endgame; The Lost Year in Iraq (Emmy Award); Rumsfeld’s War; The Torture Question (Emmy Award); The Dark Side; The War Behind Closed Doors, an analysis of the political infighting that led to the war with Iraq; and The Man Who Knew, the extraordinary saga of FBI Agent John O’Neill. During Kirk’s long relationship with FRONTLINE, he also made the Peabody Award-winning Waco — The Inside Story (1995), a behind-the-scenes look at the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound; and the Emmy Award-winning The Kevorkian File (1994), an in-depth examination of Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s controversial record and cases.
In addition, Kirk produces programs focused on social and cultural issues in America. Death by Fire details the controversial case of one man at the center of the death penalty debate; Caring for Your Parents follows five families caring for their elderly parents; Navy Blues (Emmy Award) examines gender politics in the military; The Way the Music Died goes behind the scenes of the recording industry; and the groundbreaking Misunderstood Minds shares the personal stories of five families confronting the challenges of their children’s learning disabilities, filmed over the course of two years.
The winner of every major award in journalism, including two Peabody Awards, two duPont-Columbia Awards, the George Polk Award, twelve Emmy Awards, and seven Writers Guild of America Awards. Kirk frequently lectures on topics ranging from current events to issues confronting journalism. He has appeared on a number of television programs, including Charlie Rose, the Today show, Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor, CNN/MSNBC/FOX news programs, and hundreds of radio broadcasts, among them Fresh Air on National Public Radio.
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