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Not so long ago, there wasn’t much room for good news on television.
The stories were there, says CNN‘s Kelly Flynn, but getting them on the air was difficult.
That changed a little when CNN created “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” a star-studded special that launched a year ago.
The second “CNN Heroes” special airs tonight at 9.
“We’re in a time right now where it’s not so bad to see good stories on television,” says Flynn, senior executive producer for the “CNN Heroes” initiative.
The show, recorded last weekend, honors 10 regular people who have devoted their lives to helping others.
They were selected by a blue-ribbon panel from nearly 4,000 nominations CNN received from 75 countries. Each honoree will get a $25,000 grant, and the person named the Hero of the Year will receive an additional $100,000.
Flynn points to David Puckett, one of the honorees, as the model for a CNN Hero.
“He went on a trip to Mexico when he was a teenager. He never forgot the sight of people crawling around there who were amputees or born limbless,” Flynn says.
When he was older, he created the PIPO Missions, an organization that gives prosthetic and orthotic devices to those in need.
Puckett, Flynn says, uses his own money to fund the missions and distributes used or discarded prosthetic limbs to people in Mexico.
“It’s really about looking at the story, who they impact, what they’re doing,” Flynn said. “We’re not into featuring people who are part of a larger organization.”
Flynn admits that, given the stories, the risk is that the show will become a sap fest.
“I think we’re fortunate that the stories we get have a bit of grit to them and are not all sappy. The heroes all have powerful personalities,” Flynn says. “Certainly there are emotions tugged, and the reaction from the crowd is very enthusiastic. It doesn’t feel sappy.”
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