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How It Really Happened

How It Really Happened

  • Premiered: 
    January 27, 2017
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: HLN
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Crime
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Plot Synopsis

Hosted by Hill Harper, HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED is a true-crime series that re-opens high-profile cases and mysteries that grabbed the headlines. In addition to taking a fresh look at each story for missed clues and new conspiracies, the series also includes new accounts from witnesses that have never spoken publicly -- and who now give new perspective to these stories that shocked America. The two-hour premiere of the 12-episode series revisits the infamous trial of The Menendez Brothers, two brothers facing charges for the brutal murder of their wealthy parents. Following the series debut, Lyle Menendez speaks out from behind bars to Chris Cuomo in "The Menendez Brothers: Murder in Beverly Hills The Aftermath," a one-hour interview special at 10pm ET. Subsequent episodes focus on the JFK Jr. plane crash, the DC Madam Sex Scandal, the sudden deaths of music royalty Prince, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston, and more.

Season 5 of HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED premiered on Sunday, August 23, 2020 from 9-11pm ET/PT on HLN, with a two-part expose on the baffling case of The Atlanta Serial Killer. Also profiled in this six-episode season are enduring and timely stories on Siegfried & Roy, the Boston bombing, the murder of Michael Jordan's father, the mysterious death of rock legend Tom Petty, and the bizarre case of the Yosemite Mountain Murders.

HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED returned for its sixth season on Sunday, March 14, 2021 from 9-11pm ET/PT on HLN. Episodes include: "Finding Susan Powell"; "Escape from Dannemora"; "Bernie Madoff"; "The Last Days of Glenn Frey"; "The Dartmouth Murders"; and "The Jenny Jones Show".

The seventh season of HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED premiered on Sunday, August 28, 2022 from 9-11pm ET/PT on HLN, with with Jesse L. Martin joining as host. Season 7 kicks off with a two-hour comprehensive look at the baffling case of The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The new season includes another two-hour episode that explores the tragic death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant. Part one will air Sunday, September 4 at 9pm, and part two will air Monday, September 5 at 8pm ET. The rest of the season premieres episodes at 9pm ET on Sundays. Other stories profiled include the murder of actress Adrienne Shelley, the disturbing case of the Hollywood Ripper, and the still baffling story of Lorena Bobbitt.
Moving to CNN for its eighth season, HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED debuted with back-to-back new episodes on Sunday, April 28, 2024 from 9-11pm ET/PT. Hosted by Jesse L. Martin, Season 8 launches with a special two-hour episode investigating both the Titanic shipwreck of 1912 and the more recent underwater voyage to its ruins that cost even more human lives. Episodes include:
"Titanic" (Sunday, April 28, 2024 from 9-11pm): Diving to Titanic is similar to preparing for space travel - it's a very hostile environment and less than 50 people have ever done it. Even more than 100 years later, the Titanic is still leading people to their death. Recent advances in science and technology have led to brilliant new discoveries and uncovered move of Titanic's hidden secrets, and this episode of HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED examines how the latest Titanic learnings upend our previous thinking about many of the ship's mysteries and myths. Weaving together the narratives of the shipwreck on April 14, 1912 and a recent underwater Oceangate voyage to the wreck that cost more human lives, this episode features interviews with Titanic historians, wreck analysts, descendants of Titanic passengers, and writer and producer Julian Fellowes.

"Anthrax: Terror by Mail" (Sunday, May 5, 2024 at 9pm): Following the 2001 terror attacks on 9/11 which shook the country to its core came a second wave of threats, potentially even more deadly. Anthrax has been called "the poor man's nuclear bomb" - it is a spore-forming bacteria that is only a few microns in size and has the capability to kill millions. Both easy to make and easy to weaponize, these biological attacks gripped the nation with fear and launched one of the largest investigations in FBI history. This episode of How It Really Happened features interviews with former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former Senate Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, Dr. Jean Malecki who identified the case in the Anthrax attacks, and US postal workers and members of the media who survived exposure to Anthrax.

"Oscar Pistorius: The Bladerunner" (Sunday, May 12, 2024 at 9pm): The shocking shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp at the hands of Olympic superstar and convicted murder Oscar Pistorius on Valentine's Day of 2013 pulled the curtain back on the storybook romance of a celebrated Hollywood couple. It started as a charming love affair between a world-famous athlete and a fashion model and ended with four hollow-point bullets through the bathroom door. This episode of How It Really Happened investigates whether this was a terrible accident, or a callous murder. Did Pistorius shoot Steenkamp mistaking her for a home invader, or did he intentionally shoot to kill? This episode features footage from the court in Pretoria, South Africa during Pistorius's 2013 murder trial and 2023 parole hearing and original interviews with Steenkamp's mother, modeling agent and family attorney.

"Gardner Art Heist: Stealing Beauty" (Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 9pm): Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is known for its vibrant art collection depicting renaissance scenes. But on the night of Saint Patrick's Day in 1990, robbers swept in, terrorizing the guards and taking 13 pieces of art which have never been recovered and are now worth half a billion dollars. This episode of How It Really Happened includes an interview with the museum security guard on duty who details the events of that night and his experience being held captive by the intruders, with never-before-seen museum security footage. FBI special agents, government officials and local journalists who covered the case provide expert insight into the international undercover operation attempting to recover the missing art and the key players in organized crime who have been suspected of the heist.


Other Titles

  • Also known as: How It Really Happened with Hill Harper