[07/11/11 - 09:49 AM]
"There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane" Examines the Mysterious 2009 Taconic State Parkway Tragedy when It Debuts July 25 on HBO
The project comes from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus, director of "The Farm: Angola, USA."

[via press release from HBO]


On Sunday, July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler left the campgrounds in upstate New York where she was vacationing with her family and set off towards home on Long Island, a drive she had made numerous times before. With her were five young children: her son, her daughter and three nieces. Four hours later, she drove the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway for nearly two miles - eventually crashing into an oncoming SUV, killing herself and seven others. One of the worst motor-vehicle accidents in New York State history, the tragedy quickly became national news and her actions on that day, and in the past, were thrust under a microscope in a desperate search for answers.

In the aftermath, Diane Schuler was portrayed as a reckless drunk and a mother who cracked. But was she the monster the public made her out to be? Or the perfect wife and mother described by so many who knew her?

Filmmaker Liz Garbus (the Oscar(R)-nominated "The Farm: Angola, USA"; HBO's "Bobby Fischer Against the World") explores this puzzling tragedy through interviews with never-before-heard witnesses and with Diane's friends, as well as chronicling what transpired minute-by-minute, when THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH AUNT DIANE debuts MONDAY, JULY 25 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: July 28 (9:30 a.m.) and 30 (3:45 p.m.), and Aug. 2 (4:00 p.m., 12:30 a.m.), 5 (12:45 p.m.) and 7 (2:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: July 27 (8:00 p.m.) and Aug. 10 (4:15 a.m.) and 17 (1:00 p.m.)

HBO Documentary Films presents another weekly series this summer, debuting a provocative new special every Monday through Aug. 15. Other upcoming July films include: "Love Crimes of Kabul" (July 11) and "Mann V. Ford" (July 18).

Nine days after her deadly crash, Diane's toxicology report revealed she had a blood-alcohol content of .19% - the equivalent of ten drinks and more than twice the legal limit - as well as a high blood level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. In sharp contrast to the toxicology report, Schuler had no known history of substance abuse or psychological problems and was generally known as a loving and stable wife and mother.

Nearly two years after the accident, THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH AUNT DIANE reveals previously unknown information about that day and sheds light on the unknown side of Diane. This wife and mother, who was also a cable TV executive, emerges in the film as a woman who strove to be perfect, often referred to as "supermom" by friends and family. As friend Sue Troccoli points out, "She seemed to be good at whatever she attempted... she was very good at her job, and she was a take-charge person, too."

Beneath the "perfect" veneer, however, Diane had a tendency to hide whatever pain she experienced, both physical and psychological. Diane's mother abandoned the family when she was just nine years old, leaving her with her father and three brothers. According to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Harold Bursztajn, such an event could be very traumatic for a young girl. It was obviously a wound that didn't heal - since Diane had no contact with her mother, even as an adult - but one she never spoke about. As one friend explains, "She never complained about it [her mother leaving the family]. She never talked about it... almost like she wasn't even there."

In addition to exclusive interviews with family and friends - including Diane's childhood friends, a co-worker and husband Daniel's parents, who have never spoken out before - eyewitnesses, first responders, investigators and medical and psychiatric experts, the documentary draws on surveillance footage, family photos, news clips and expert testimony to explore events surrounding the crash. Piecing together that fateful day with a minute-by-minute retelling, the film seeks to understand how things could have gone so terribly wrong.

Just before the accident, Diane and her husband, Daniel, had been camping in upstate New York at Hunter Lake Campground with their two children and three nieces, ages two through eight. When the family left that morning, camp owner Ann Scott recalls thinking that nothing was amiss, saying, "[Diane] seemed sober to me." Daniel left with their dog in his pickup truck, as previously planned, and Diane took the kids in her brother's minivan, which she had borrowed for that purpose.

The film follows Diane's husband, Daniel, and sister-in-law, Jay Schuler, who have been trying to clear Diane's name ever since her death. Although they say she would occasionally have a social drink, and sometimes smoked marijuana in the evenings to relax, they simply cannot reconcile the toxicology results with the loving mother and aunt who would never knowingly endanger the children.

Assuming that Diane may have been impaired by a medical emergency that precipitated the crash, they hire a lawyer and a private investigator to pursue the possibility of an alternate explanation, however unlikely. As part of the investigation, the filmmakers were able to obtain Diane's dental records, which Jay says they had been trying to get for over a year. As they look over dates of Diane's dental appointments, Daniel says Diane had been rubbing her cheek often, but never complained of pain - an observation that others echo.

Guy Bastardi, 43, his father Michael Bastardi, 81, and family friend Daniel Longo, 72, were in the car that crashed head-on into Diane's vehicle. Bastardi's daughters, Roseanne Guzzo and Margaret Nicotina, say they have forgiven Diane but find it harder to forgive Daniel and Jay, who seem to them to be in denial about Diane's culpability.

Diane's five-year-old son Bryan was the sole survivor of the accident, sustaining a serious head injury that has left him with oculomotor nerve palsy, which affects movement in his right eye, for which he is receiving treatment. Jay has been helping Daniel take care of Bryan, and says the boy doesn't remember the accident. When asked about it, he is said to reply, "Mommy's head hurt. She couldn't see."

The need to make sense of a mysterious and shattering tragedy such as this is a natural impulse, which in many cases can never be fully fulfilled. THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH AUNT DIANE reveals a complex and complicated case - as opposed to one solved by simple or reductive analysis - that has left all those involved still wondering what really happened to Aunt Diane.

Liz Garbus' HBO credits include the Emmy(R)-winning "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib," plus "Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech," "The Execution of Wanda Jean," "Xiara's Song," "Coma," segments of the "Addiction" series and, most recently, "Bobby Fischer Against the World," which kicked off this year's summer documentary films series in June.

THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH AUNT DIANE is produced and directed by Liz Garbus; produced by Julie Gaither; edited by M. Watanabe Milmore; cinematography by Michael Tucker; original music by Jonathan Zalben. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

  [july 2011]  

(series past and present)
(series in development)
(tv movies and mini-series)

[10/27/16 - 02:40 PM]
A&E Network to Premiere New Original Docuseries "Leah Remini: Scientology and The Aftermath"
Remini, along with high level former Scientology executives and Church members, delves deep into shocking stories of abuse, heartbreak and harassment experienced by those who have left the church and spoken publicly about their experiences.

[10/27/16 - 02:06 PM]
Unexpected Motherhood Explored in Lifetime's Two New Series, "30 Something Grandma" and "Knocked Up"
Look for the newcomers on November 15 and December 6, respectively.

[10/27/16 - 02:05 PM]
truTV's Short-Form Comedy Series "Rachel Dratch's Late Night Snack" Returns Wednesday, Nov. 2
In this weekly showcase, comedy fans will be treated to a lineup of original offerings from some of the biggest and brightest creators spanning a variety of styles from character-driven shorts to animation to music videos and much more.

[10/27/16 - 01:06 PM]
Universal Cable Productions Announces Multiple Licensed Product Partners for "Mr. Robot"
Available just in time for Halloween, Rasta Imposta's iconic fsociety mask is available now at retailers nationwide including Amazon, Costume Super Center, Hot Topic, Party City, Spirit Halloween and Spencers.

[10/27/16 - 12:49 PM]
WE tv Announces New Paranormal Docu-Series "Ghosts in the Hood" Premiering on Thursday, January 5, 2017
The show follows the ghost-hunting team of O.P.O. (Official Paranormal Operations), who go where other ghost hunters typically don't - from the LBC to Altadena - bringing their signature humor along with them.

[10/27/16 - 12:46 PM]
Are You Cameron Ready? Netflix Announces Launch Date for Unscripted Series "Chasing Cameron"
The 10-episode series, which follows digital influencer Cameron Dallas, will launch globally on December 27 at 12:01am PST.

[10/27/16 - 11:54 AM]
Video: "24: Legacy" Trailer Reaches 7.0 Million Views in 24 Hours
The two-night premiere event airs Sunday, February 5, following "Super Bowl LI," and continues Monday, February 6, on FOX.

[10/27/16 - 11:33 AM]
Freeform Serves Up a Fifth Season of Popular Comedy "Young & Hungry"
The new season will kick off production next week and will premiere in 2017.

[10/27/16 - 11:17 AM]
Video: Netflix Debuts Trailer for "Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60"
Filmed at the The Wilbur Theatre in Boston, the outrageously funny stand-up special features Carvey's distinctive brand of comedy.

[10/27/16 - 11:10 AM]
Ali Khan's Search for the Best "Cheap Eats" Across the Country Continues on the Series Return on Cooking Channel
Come along and join this budget-conscious culinary tour beginning on Thursday, December 1 at 10:00/9:00c.

[10/27/16 - 11:01 AM]
Pop Orders Second Season of Its Original Scripted Comedy "Nightcap" in Advance of Its Nov. 16 Series Premiere
Pop will premiere with two back-to-back episodes featuring guest stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and Andy Cohen in episode one, and Gwyneth Paltrow, Jim Norton and Nate Berkus in episode two.

[10/27/16 - 10:33 AM]
Bravo Media Greenlights Six New and Returning Series Growing the Network's Robust Slate
The network confirmed new season orders for fan-favorites "Southern Charm" season four as well as "Shahs of Sunset" season six and "Million Dollar Listing New York" season six.

[10/27/16 - 10:31 AM]
"Mommy Dead and Dearest," The Shocking True Crime Story About the Murder of Dee Dee Blanchard and the Disturbing Life of Her Daughter, Gypsy Rose, to Debut in March 2017, Exclusively on HBO
In the film, provocative documentarian Erin Lee Carr again explores a crime in the age of social media.

[10/27/16 - 10:00 AM]
Freeform Celebrates 20 Years of Christmas Cheer with the "25 Days of Christmas" Programming Event Starting Thursday, December 1
This year's merriest programming stunt includes the network television premiere of "Holiday Joy" and the Freeform premieres of "Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups," "Snow Buddies" and "Just Friends."

[10/27/16 - 10:00 AM]
"Bones: The Final Chapter" to Premiere Tuesday, January 3, on FOX
The 12-episode run will celebrate the inventive series and bring the storylines of Brennan (Emily Deschanel), Booth (David Boreanaz) and the Jeffersonian-FBI team to a close, allowing the show's loyal fans to say goodbye to these indelible characters.