Documentary series weren’t typically pop culture phenomena until almost exactly 3 years ago, when ‘Making a Murderer’ dropped on Netflix. The buzz from that series--about Steven Avery, a man imprisoned for a rape he definitely did not commit, and then years later imprisoned again for a murder he may or may not have committed--consumed many binged hours that year and made many viewers critics of the Wisconsin legal system.
Fans of ‘Making a Murderer’ or this year’s Emmy-winning series, ‘Wild Wild Country’ have Netflix’s Lisa Nishimura to thank. As head of original documentaries and comedy programming for the streamer, she oversees all kinds of formats--documentary shorts, features, and series--as well as the stand-up specials.
KCRW’s Matt Holzman recently sat down with Nishimura at the Netflix offices in Hollywood. They talk about how documentaries fit in to Netflix’s overall business model and how Nishimura picks which projects to pursue.