Guiliani Time: Time Studios Launches Docu-Series On Former New York Mayor

New York’s erstwhile mayor Rudy Guiliani is being scrutinized in a four-part documentary by Time titled: "When Truth Isn’t Truth: The Rudy Guiliani Story." It is the latest creation by Time Studios, an Emmy winning in-house unit that now accounts for 25% of Time’s revenue. 

The Guiliani docu-series is largely the work of Time correspondent Simon Shuster and colleagues Brian Bennett and Vera Bergengruen, and Rebecca Gitlitz, the executive producer of Time Studios, director of "When Truth Isn’t Truth: The Rudy Guiliani Story."  

Shuster is a seasoned foreign correspondent, who has served in Moscow, Kyiv and Berlin. He has been focused almost exclusively on the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the past year, reporting on President Zelensky and his team and working on a book that should be out in a few months. 



But he is well plugged-in to the need to produce other forms of content besides prose. 

“I was always on the lookout for opportunities based on my reporting, and around 2019, when Rudy was famously involved in the Trump impeachment 1.0, I did a lot of reporting on his role in that, with shady characters in Kyev providing information about the Biden family, much of it dubious.”

Gitlitz noted, “This a fully home-grown project, devised and pitched in-house.”

It sure is: “We do sit next to each other, a really exciting experience,” Shuster said. “I spent all my career where you’re on your own in whatever city, really.” 

The pandemic interrupted that camaraderie to a degree, but the team had formed “enough connections to keep the conversations going on a rolling basis.” 

Work then proceeded in a deliberate way. There were months of research before a single interview was conducted. One team went to Ukraine and did deep research, and there was “an archive team that dug through everything they could possibly find,” Gitlitz said.  

Shuster was in touch with Guiliani by text on occasion, and the team had an interview set up at a campaign stop in Buffalo, the opening scene, but that was cancelled just before he was to sit down. 

What did it all cost? Shuster laughed, “That’s above my pay grade,” and Gitlitz replied that the budget was “not very high, there was not a lot of flying. She added, “We have to work around the parameters.” 

Gitlitz continued, “Time Studios is small and mighty. We don’t have a very large staff, but we have teams of freelancers.”

Time Studios has produced such docu-series as "Black Gold," featuring Time climate reporter Justin Worland, on the conspiracy to alter the public perception on climate change. 

The unit has brought in over $100 million since its inception in 2020.

Over 25 of its projects have been sold to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Paramount+, and to television networks and fellow distributors like HBO, Showtime, Nickelodeon, ABC, A&E, CBS, NBC, PBS, Magnolia and CNN Films.  

As for Gitlitz, she has been “in the Time orbit for a long time.” She has also worked for networks and nonprofits, one of her accomplishments being a TV special on Princess Diana.

One benefit for Gitlitz and Shuster and others who work in Time’s office near Bryant Park in New York is access to Time’s entire archive going back to launch in 1923. The team hopes to “revitalize and revive” this living symbol in different media, Gitlitz said. 



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