New Originals Top November 2021 Lineup with Stories About the Deadliest Standoffs in America, The Texting Suicide and Grim Sleeper Cases Along with a Reelz Premiere About the Life of a Wrestling Icon
Documentary “Rob Van Dam: Headstrong” follows the professional wrestling legend known as RVD on a standup comedy tour that is derailed when unexpected concussion symptoms cause a dramatic shift in his priorities.
[via press release from Reelz]
NEW ORIGINALS TOP NOVEMBER 2021 LINEUP WITH STORIES ABOUT THE DEADLIEST STANDOFFS IN AMERICA, THE TEXTING SUICIDE AND GRIM SLEEPER CASES ALONG WITH A REELZ PREMIERE ABOUT THE LIFE OF A WRESTLING ICON
New Original Specials ‘Deadly Standoff’ Presents the Infamous Encounters of Fringe Groups Clashing with U.S. Law Enforcement Including the Stories of Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Montana Freemen, the Republic of Texas, the MOVE Bombing and Rainbow Farm
‘Rob Van Dam: Headstrong’ Makes Its REELZ Premiere with the Beloved Professional Wrestler Sharing a Candid and Uncompromising Look at the Unexpected Mental Health Scare That Dramatically Shifted His Life
‘The Friends Speak’ Returns with Two New Original Stories About the Texting Suicide Case Involving Two Massachusetts Teenagers and the Grisly Crimes of the “Grim Sleeper” Lonnie Franklin
(Albuquerque, NM) Tuesday, October 19, 2021 – REELZ today announced its November 2021 lineup led by new original specials Deadly Standoff presenting the real stories of separatist and religious groups that ran afoul of American law enforcement to tragic ends. The Friends Speak original specials return with friends and family members sharing their stories of the texting suicide case involving the death of teen Conrad Roy and the case of the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer Lonnie Franklin. November 2021 also marks the REELZ premiere of documentary Rob Van Dam: Headstrong following the professional wrestling legend known as RVD on a standup comedy tour that is derailed when unexpected concussion symptoms cause a dramatic shift in his priorities.
“November premieres showcase the riveting real stories of people who went against U.S. law enforcement and paid the price with their lives,” said Steve Cheskin, SVP of Programming at REELZ. “We also look forward to showing viewers the powerful and intimate accounts of family members and friends impacted by headline grabbing crimes as well as Rob Van Dam: Headstrong tapping into the enduring fascination with professional wrestling and its larger than life characters with Van Dam himself giving a candid look into his life beyond the ring.”
November 2021 premieres begin Saturday, November 6 with three back-to-back Deadly Standoff specials. Waco Burning: Deadly Standoff at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT recounts the infamous 1993 FBI siege of a Branch Davidian compound and what led to the doomed standoff including the shocking stories of abuse and weapons stockpiling under depraved leader David Koresh. At 9pm ET/ 6pm PT it’s Ruby Ridge: Deadly Standoff with the story of a pivotal event in American history that would change the rules of engagement and redefine police tactics for use of deadly force. The Ruby Ridge standoff lasted 11 days but one of the longest standoffs ever in the 113 year history of the FBI was with the Montana Freemen Militia in rural Jordan Montana. In Montana Freemen Militia: Deadly Standoff at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT former FBI special agent Tim Healy shares his riveting first-hand account of going undercover inside the extremist group and the fallout that sparked the standoff.
On Saturday, November 13 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT Rob Van Dam: Headstrong makes its REELZ premiere with the incredible real story of the fan favorite professional wrestler who sets out to document his comedy tour but instead must suddenly grapple with the physical toll of a career in wrestling when troublesome concussion symptoms arise. What follows is a real time account of Van Dam’s personal experience of concussion damage and his intimate journey to understand mental health. While living by his own rules made Van Dam a wrestling megastar for others like Republic of Texas separatist group leader Richard McLaren it led to being hunted down by authorities. McLaren’s Republic of Texas militia group doesn’t recognize Texas as a part of the U.S. and thus according to them are not subject to its laws. In War of the Republic of Texas: Deadly Standoff on Saturday, November 20 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT see what happened when McLaren declared war against Texas law enforcement. Immediately following at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT is The MOVE Bombing: Deadly Standoff about the shocking incidents between Philadelphia based black liberation group MOVE and the Philadelphia police department that culminated in a tragic fatal siege by authorities that resulted in the deaths of 11 people and the burning of 65 homes. Whereas MOVE members were helpless to control the fire that engulfed their property the burning of Rainbow Farm Campground in Michigan was intentionally set by its owners and marijuana activists Tom Crosslin and his partner Rollie Rohm in order to destroy it before authorities could seize it. Burning Rainbow Farm: Deadly Standoff at 10pm ET/ 7pm presents the story of the blaze that put Crosslin and Rohm on a collision course with deadly force.
Wrapping November premieres are two new original The Friends Speak specials. On Saturday, November 27 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT Texting Killer: The Friends Speak features the family members of Conrad Roy discussing his 2014 suicide and the role they believe his girlfriend Michelle Carter played in encouraging him through tens of thousands of text messages they shared over a two year period. Finally, in Grim Sleeper: The Friends Speak on Sunday, November 28 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT friends and former partners of Lonnie Franklin reveal personal details about their relationships with the man who unbeknownst to them committed 10 murders and suspected of many more over a 20 year period in Los Angeles.
Below is November 2021 programming listed by premiere date and time. Full synopses for every show follow this list.
Saturday, November 6
*NEW* Waco Burning: Deadly Standoff at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
*NEW* Ruby Ridge: Deadly Standoff at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
*NEW* Montana Freemen Militia: Deadly Standoff at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT
Saturday, November 13
Rob Van Dam: Headstrong at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Saturday, November 20
*NEW* War of the Republic of Texas: Deadly Standoff at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
*NEW* The MOVE Bombing: Deadly Standoff at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT
*NEW* Burning Rainbow Farm: Deadly Standoff at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT
Saturday, November 27
*NEW* Texting Killer: The Friends Speak at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Sunday, November 28
*NEW* Grim Sleeper: The Friends Speak at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Below are detailed descriptions for November 2021 programming listed by premiere date and time:
Waco Burning: Deadly Standoff premieres on Saturday, November 6 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. For decades the Branch Davidians existed peacefully on the outskirts of Waco Texas. It’s not until David Koresh takes over leadership that things turn malignant for the splinter religious group. Rumors begin to swirl around Waco that Koresh is breaking several laws including very serious allegations of pedophilia and illegal modifications to rifles. These allegations put him and his followers on a collision course with law enforcement. Religion and the government often do not see eye to eye and when they do collide it can be disastrous and in the case of the Branch Davidians outside Waco it would become one of the biggest gun battles in U.S. history and along with a massive blaze that overtook the compound 76 Branch Davidians including Koresh himself would die in one of the most infamous sieges in history. Sharing his story of surviving the Waco compound disaster is Branch Davidian Clive Doyle, former FBI Chief Negotiator Gary Noesner and cult specialist Rick Ross. Deadly Standoff is produced by NorthSouth Productions and Pyramid Productions.
Ruby Ridge: Deadly Standoff premieres on Saturday, November 6 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. Randy and his wife Vicki Weaver are religious extremists who decide to seclude themselves and their children on the side of a mountain in rural Idaho. They must adjust to a new way of life being completely off the grid and socially isolated. After a chance altercation with one of their few neighbors Randy is flagged by the FBI. Agents who are also investigating other extremists from an Aryan Nation compound try to pull Randy into an undercover operation. When he refuses to cooperate it kicks off a series of tragic events that would become pivotal in redefining rules of engagement for law enforcement and when officers can use deadly force. The federal government would spend millions of dollars, employ hundreds of personnel and use tons of military equipment to trap, track, retrieve and prosecute Randy and family friend Kevin Harris. When officials close in on the Weaver property they kill the family dog and Randy’s 14-year-old son Sam pushing Randy over the edge. Sharing her powerful first-hand experience of the events of Ruby Ridge is Randy’s daughter Sara Weaver. Deadly Standoff is produced by NorthSouth Productions and Pyramid Productions.
Montana Freemen Militia: Deadly Standoff premieres on Saturday, November 6 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT. After a downturn in the economy many ranchers begin losing their farms or taking out loans that they can’t pay back. Desperate times leave many feeling dissatisfied with the U.S. government. Among them is LeRoy Schweitzer who takes the opportunity to in his mind break away from the United States and take advantage of everyone who decides to follow him. Millions of dollars later he begins to feel untouchable but money isn’t the only problem. Will the FBI take him and his followers down when things turn violent before anyone gets hurt? Sharing his riveting undercover experience of infiltrating deep inside the Montana Freemen is FBI special agent Tim Healy along with former FBI special agent Tom Kubic who was in charge of the Montana Freemen standoff negotiations which at 81 days became one of the longest standoffs in the history of the FBI. Deadly Standoff is produced by NorthSouth Productions and Pyramid Productions.
Rob Van Dam: Headstrong makes its REELZ premiere on Saturday, November 13 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. Rob Van Dam aka RVD is a pro wrestling legend and member of the WWE Hall of Fame. In addition to holding titles around the world he made history when he became the first person to simultaneously hold the WWE and ECW championships. Now he is the subject of the candid and uncompromising documentary Rob Van Dam: Headstrong as he embarks on a life changing journey across the country with cameras capturing his life on the road performing standup comedy and connecting with his fans while presenting an honest look into the life of a legend known to millions around the world. While touring an unexpected roadblock paves the way for an exploratory journey into the harsh and sometimes devastating realities of concussions in professional wrestling. It is an unforgettable rollercoaster ride that is a testament to Rob Van Dam’s unique life strategy for personal success and happiness. Rob Van Dam: Headstrong ¬¬¬¬is produced by Backrow Studios.
War of the Republic of Texas: Deadly Standoff premieres on Saturday, November 20 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. It’s said that everything is bigger in Texas and for members of the Republic of Texas separatist group nothing is bigger than their belief that Texas should be an independent country. Republic of Texas members gained notoriety for their disregard of federal and Texas state laws. Their unusual sense of autonomy arose from a twisted reading of Texas state history. The group is infamous for “paper terrorism” flooding the Texas court system with thousands of false leads against neighbors and government officials. When the group splits into factions and take hostages it forces the Texas Rangers elite law enforcement agency to intervene and bring the Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren to justice and release hostages. After the fallout lives are lost but justice is served. Sharing their experiences of being on the frontlines of the standoff are former Texas Ranger Jess Malone and former captain of the Texas Rangers Barry Caver. Deadly Standoff is produced by NorthSouth Productions and Pyramid Productions.
The MOVE Bombing: Deadly Standoff premieres on Saturday, November 20 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. MOVE, originally the Christian Movement for Life, is a communal organization founded in 1972 in Philadelphia. Described as a unique blend of flower power natural living and black liberationists. The group lives in a commune style townhouse and blast messages over loudspeakers irking neighbors and prompting the mayor to intervene with police force. After the botched eviction of MOVE members from their home in 1978 that resulted in the death of a police officer tensions are boiling among police and MOVE members. When MOVE members refuse to leave their townhouse the police with the help of the FBI create an explosive device and drop it onto the roof to blow open a hole for tear gas. The resulting fire would incinerate 65 homes and in the chaos 11 MOVE members would lose their lives including five children. Sharing their first-hand experiences are former Philadelphia Tribune reporter Linn Washington and MOVE member Mike Africa Jr. Deadly Standoff is produced by NorthSouth Productions and Pyramid Productions.
Burning Rainbow Farm: Deadly Standoff premieres on Saturday, November 20 at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT. Rainbow Farm is a marijuana farm and campground nestled in the Newberg Township of southern Michigan. The campground is run by Tom Crosslin and his partner Rolland “Rollie” Rohm who held two popular annual marijuana festivals on the farm. After an intoxicated festival goer causes a fatal car accident involving a local teenager the farm falls under investigation for months. Armed with a warrant authorities discover marijuana plants on the farm and charges are brought against Crosslin and Rohm. When they fail to appear for their trial date the FBI arrives but before they could seize the property Crosslin and Rohm burn it to the ground and remain holed up. The standoff sparks a fatal confrontation that would raise questions about whether Crosslin and Rohm actually did aim guns at authorities. Deadly Standoff is produced by NorthSouth Productions and Pyramid Productions.
Texting Killer: The Friends Speak premieres on Saturday, November 27 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. In 2012 while on vacation in Florida teenagers Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy started an innocent friendship that would twist into a fatal story that would break new ground in court cases involving digital communications, First Amendment rights and mental health. Roy committed suicide in 2014 just miles from his childhood home in Fairhaven Massachusetts. In the aftermath authorities discovered tens of thousands of text messages between Roy and Carter that showed a dark bond between them in which Carter advocates and encourages Roy to commit suicide. In 2017 Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. At the crux of the case was the question: Can your words actually make someone kill themselves? Sharing their deeply personal experience is Roy’s mother Lynn St. Denis and sisters Camdyn and Morgan who discuss their life with Conrad, what they knew of relationship with Carter, the trial and whether they feel Carter’s punishment was justice served. Discussing his time reporting on the case and trial is retired Massachusetts reporter Curt Brown along with Dr. Eric Bender who works as an Adolescent Forensic Psychologist and gives viewers insight into the mental health aspects of the story. The Friends Speak is produced by Kinetic Content and Pyramid Productions.
Grim Sleeper: The Friends Speak premieres on Sunday, November 28 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT. Friends close to Lonnie Franklin Jr. recall he was a great single father known for making reasonable deals fixing neighbor’s cars in his backyard garage. What they didn’t know was that he had a murderous alter ego. For more than 20 years Franklin preyed on sex workers in Los Angeles and is responsible for at least 10 murders. As deaths mounted local media referred to the killer as the Southside Slayer, the .25 Caliber Killer and the Strawberry Killer but it was Franklin’s ominous 14 year break from killing that earned him the final nickname as the Grim Sleeper. In Grim Sleeper: The Friends Speak five of Franklin’s former friends and neighbors speak out about their experiences with him including his live-in nanny Charlene Smith who shares details of their personal relationship and the scary changes in his behavior over time. Joining Smith are other former sex workers who crossed paths with Franklin including Dominique Smith who dated him for years and neighbor Richard Harris who shares his stories of Franklin’s disturbing hobby collecting nude photos of women as well as Franklin’s hardline rules about no personal friendships or allowing anyone inside of his house. Giving viewers first-hand insight into the Grim Sleeper case is retired LAPD investigator Cliff Shepard. The Friends Speak is produced by Kinetic Content and Pyramid Productions.
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