National Geographic Announces "The Stanford Prison Experiment: Unlocking the Truth" (w.t.)

National Geographic Unravels the Culture-Defining Stanford Prison Experiment and Its Controversial Legacy in "The Stanford Prison Experiment: Unlocking the Truth" (w.t.)


National Geographic Channel

(WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 17, 2024) - National Geographic announced today the greenlight of THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT: UNLOCKING THE TRUTH (W.T.), an electrifying documentary series that explores the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment like never before. From director Juliette Eisner, executive producer Alex Braverman and Muck Media, the three-part series unravels the layers of intrigue and controversy surrounding one of psychology's most debated studies from the past 50 years.

The Stanford Prison Experiment was born from psychology professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo's quest to understand the power of situation over human behavior. In 1971, Dr. Zimbardo paid two dozen college-aged participants to live in a mock prison, observing how randomly assigned "prisoner" and "guard" roles influenced behavior. What started out as a self-contained university experiment turned into a media spectacle that captured the imagination and attention of the world, defining our understanding of human nature and forever changing the course of psychology.

There was only one problem: We were never told the whole story of what happened in that "prison."

THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT: UNLOCKING THE TRUTH (W.T.) embarks on a gripping, ticking-clock journey through the six-day Stanford Prison Experiment with a deluge of reveals, new characters and a smoking-gun archive. The series captures the iconic study and its cultural impact like never before, upending the audience's fundamental understanding of human nature and confronting a collective fascination with myth over truth. It takes an innovative approach to this decades-old study by centering the stories of the participants, many of whom are speaking out in detail for the first time. Then, in an unexpected turn, the series brings the participants to a replica film set of the "prison," where they revisit pivotal moments, explore the power of perspective, and attempt to find consensus about what really happened over the course of those six days.

"THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT: UNLOCKING THE TRUTH (W.T.) is an unprecedented documentary series that pushes the boundaries of storytelling while shedding new light on a pivotal moment in psychological history," said Tom McDonald, EVP of Global Factual and Unscripted Content, National Geographic. "Through the voices of those who lived it, we, along with our longtime partners at Muck Media, invite audiences to reexamine the Stanford Prison Experiment and confront the truths that lie beneath the surface."

Through unparalleled access, the series weaves together emotional, poignant and often humorous firsthand accounts from the very participants who were at the heart of the experiment. For the first time ever, original "guards" and "prisoners" are breaking their 50-year silence to offer a candid and unfiltered account of their experiences within the confines of that fateful hallway. The participants come back together for the very first time in an emotional, revelatory reunion to discuss and recreate pivotal moments from the experiment. Additionally, Dr. Zimbardo and his wife, Dr. Christina Maslach, who encouraged him to shut down the project, sit down for interviews that call into question the nature of truth itself. The series offers an unflinching look at Zimbardo's childhood, his motivations for beginning the project, and the notoriety he found in the aftermath.

Directed by Juliette Eisner. Executive Produced by Alex Braverman and Juliette Eisner. For Muck Media, Darren Foster, Cristina Costantini, Jenn Wood and Krista Manis are executive producers. For National Geographic, Josh Cole is executive producer, Bengt Anderson is senior vice president of Unscripted Content, and Tom McDonald is executive vice president of Global Factual and Unscripted Content.

April 18, 2024 9:00am ET by National Geographic Channel  

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