Lisa Ling now has the longest-running existing original docuseries on CNN, entering season 6 September 29th.

The journalist’s series “This is Life With Lisa Ling” doesn’t get the accolades of the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” or “United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell. But Ling is well respected and CNN has had no qualms renewing it every year.

“I passionately love this show,” said Ling, 46, who started her professional journalistic career at age 18 on Channel One News for classrooms back in the early 1990s. “I recognize the importance of having a show that places productive energy into the universe. We live in this climate of vitriol and animosity and fear. I’m proud of putting something out there that is thoughtful and inspires conversation.”

Her series since 2014 has tackled subjects from sugar daddies to crystal meth addiction to the subculture of furries – people who dress up in anthropomorphic animal costumes. Season six opened Sunday focused on teens learning about sex via porn and how warping that can be.

“It’s an issue of immense importance given how many kids have mobile devices and the abundance of rather dark pornography available to them at their fingertips,” said Ling. “Kids may not be prepared for what they see so parents need to be prepared to have those conversations.”

The next episode airing Sunday, October 5 is about the dangers of widely prescribed anti-anxiety drugs called “Benzos” such as Xanax and Valium.

They are meant to be used for only a brief time but are often prescribed long term. The problem: they are super hard to stop taking and the withdrawal symptoms are harsh.

“If doctors do not recognize those symptoms as Benzo withdrawal, they prescribe more medications and more medications,” said Ling. “It’s just shocking how little we actually know about how to treat Benzo withdrawal.”

The next week, she embeds herself with women training to become Marines at Camp Pendleton. “They’re part of the first group of women to be allowed to do Marine combat training,” she said. “It’s such a cool show. These women are such badasses.”

Some have questioned how the topic of female Marines in combat fit with the other topics Lisa Ling chose to cover.

“I don’t get it is this promoting this kind of behavior,” wrote a Facebook User on CNN’s promo video. “Or showing how low we have come..? And how do the Marine’s fit in all this..?”

On the lighter side, she visits the largest gathering of multiples in the world in Twinsburg, Ohio. “Unless you’re devoid of emotion, you’ll get choked up on this one,” she said. “It’s about that twin bond. I’ve always been curious about that.”

Almost every season, she investigates at least one sex-related topic. This year, she does two. Besides the porn episode that just aired, she also looks into swinging. She actually did a piece on that topic for her similar show on OWN but in 2019, she said swinging has “evolved into a lifestyle about free love, free sex. It’s no longer behind closed doors. It’s just this movement of anything goes.”

She visits a swingers convention in New Orleans where patrons took over entire hotels and nobody else was allowed inside. She said she was the first journalist given access.

“We’re always respectful and not exploitative,” she said. “They allowed us in because they knew I’d approach it tastefully and respectfully. You get a sense of the lifestyle but we are not sensational. These are every-day people who are very uninhibited about sex.”

We also talked briefly about the 2019 book “Ladies Who Punch” about the history of “The View.” Ling, who was on the show from 1999 to 2002, came across just fine in the book but she said she was perturbed by some of the things people said about Barbara Walters and feels protective of her.

“She was a pioneer and paved the way for people like me,” Ling said. “Irrespective of her idiosyncrasies, she earned whatever she wants to do. She had to really fight her way to the top… I really revere her. I respect and felt honored to work alongside Barbara.”

“This is Life With Lisa Ling,” 10 p.m. Sundays, CNN

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