Michael Kirk

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.

The winner of every major award in broadcast journalism, including four Peabody Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, two George Polk Awards, 16 Emmy Awards, and 11 Writers Guild of America Awards, Kirk has produced, directed and written more than 100 hours of FRONTLINE, the PBS flagship long-form documentary series.

In 2018 Kirk produced and directed four hours of national television programming:

  • Trump’s Showdown — An examination of President Trump’s fight against the Justice Department’s investigation of his campaign. (2 hours)
  • Trump’s Takeover — The inside story of the takeover of the GOP by President Trump. (1 hour)
  • McCain — The political biography of Senator John McCain. (1 hour)

2017 —

2016 —

  • The Choice 2016The personal narrative and political history of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (2 hours)
  • President Trump The personal story of Donald Trump. (1 hour)
  • The Secret History of ISIS The growth of ISIS and how the US missed the warning signs. (1 hour)
  • Netanyahu at War The clash between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barrack Obama. (2 hours)

2015 —

2014 —

2013 —

  • League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion CrisisAn investigation of the NFL’s effort to refute scientific evidence that concussions are linked to alarming incidents of long-term brain damage. (2 hours)
  • CliffhangerA 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. (1 hour)

2012 —

2011 —

  • Top Secret AmericaAn examination of the huge, unwieldy, top-secret counter-terrorism apparatus the government has created since 9/11. (2 hours)
  • The Anthrax FilesA reinvestigation into the anthrax case a decade after the attacks. (1 hour)

Decades of Documentaries

Kirk’s long career has yielded two other “CHOICE” biographies — Obama and John McCain (2008) and George W. Bush and Al Gore (2000). He produced, directed and wrote three investigations of the 2008 financial crisis: 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.

He has produced a number of films on the war on terror, including Cheney's Law; Endgame; The Lost Year in Iraq; Rumsfeld's War; The Torture Question; The Dark Side; The War Behind Closed Doors; and The Man Who Knew.

During Kirk's long relationship with FRONTLINE (beginning in 1982), he has made a variety of widely acclaimed films: Waco — The Inside Story, a behind-the-scenes look at the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound; The Kevorkian File, an in-depth examination of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's controversial cases; Death by Fire, which details the arson/murder case of one man at the center of the death penalty debate; Caring for Your Parents, which followed five families caring for their elderly parents; Navy Blues, an examination of gender politics in the military; The Way the Music Died, a behind-the-scenes look at the recording industry; and the groundbreaking Misunderstood Minds, an exploration of the personal stories of five families confronting the challenges of their children's learning disabilities.

Kirk frequently speaks to academic and corporate institutions on topics ranging from current events to issues confronting journalism. He has appeared on a number of television programs, including Morning Joe, The Today Show, CNN/MSNBC/FOX news programs, and hundreds of radio broadcasts, among them Fresh Air on National Public Radio.

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