Lisa Ling’s CNN show looks at changing Detroit

Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to The Detroit News

Award-winning broadcast journalist Lisa Ling has covered stories in and around Detroit for years. But when she came to the city this time, she said there was an undeniable feeling of change and inclusiveness.

Ling said she hopes she captured this ever-evolving side of Detroit on her CNN docu-series “This Is Life with Lisa Ling,” which airs Wednesday and features the Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple. The chapter, which is the largest in the country, started last year and has 200 active members.

“I love Detroit,” Ling, 42, said during a recent phone interview promoting her show.

“First of all, this trip to Detroit was so different for me. There is an energy in the air — the artists who have now flocked to Detroit and the new sort of spiritual movements that are being introduced to the city such as the Satanic Temple,” Ling said.

In July, the group unveiled its Baphomet statue in Detroit, a 2,000-pound, goat-headed occult idol, and threw a party to celebrate the occasion. In turn, a number of Christian organizations protested the event, the group and its statue. Ling said one of the most interesting things about the Satanic Temple is that they don’t worship Satan.

“People need to realize that the Satanic Temple is a group that doesn’t worship any kind of deity,” Ling said. “They just use the most controversial figure in the world to represent their religion and their political movement.”

Michael Mars of Detroit, a member of the Satanic Temple, said it was an honor to be interviewed by Ling. “I’ve known of her work for many years, and I respect her as a journalist.”

The second season of “This Is Life with Lisa Ling” kicked off in September and has featured episodes about a pickup artist in Nevada, the Mongol Nation Outlaw bikers, and a “Date with Dad” dance for men incarcerated in a Virginia jail and their children.

“I could not be prouder. Each episode is like a mini film,” Ling said. “I’ve explored American subcultures for a long time and every time, it surprises me that we’re able to find this many different stories and people who are willing to share.”

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles based TV critic and entertainment writer.

‘This Is Life with Lisa Ling’

9 p.m. Wednesdays