CNN and NBC on Monday backed out of high-profile television projects about former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton they had been working on for months.
NBC said it was pulling the plug on a planned four-hour miniseries on the former Democratic former first lady.
Hillary, which was to star Diane Lane in the feature role and appear before the 2016 election, was the target of external protests and internal unhappiness at NBC.
Earlier on Monday, a renowned filmmaker who was making a documentary about Clinton for CNN said that he was backing out because few people would cooperate with him. The network said the film would not be produced.
The Republican National Committee protested both projects, fearing they would lionize Clinton when she might be a candidate for president. The committee said it would not allow either network to air debates among potential Republican presidential candidates for 2016 if the films continued.
NBC Entertainment issued a statement saying that “after reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie and miniseries development, we’ve decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton miniseries.”
The announcement by NBC’s entertainment division this summer that it was making Hillary took people in the network’s news division by surprise. They were concerned that the news division would be blamed if the series took liberties with facts or leaned too far in making a positive or a negative portrayal of Clinton.
CNN had contracted with Charles Ferguson to make a documentary on Clinton. Ferguson won the 2011 Academy Award for his documentary Inside Job, about the 2008 financial meltdown.
Yet Ferguson wrote in a column posted on The Huffington Post on Monday that he concluded he could not make much of a film: Clinton would not agree to be interviewed and of the more than 100 people he approached, only two agreed to speak on camera.
Ferguson said nobody wanted to help him make the film.
“Not Republicans, not Democrats and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration,” he said.
“It’s a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have now become. But I don’t think that it’s a victory for the media, or the American people. I still believe that Mrs Clinton has many virtues including great intelligence, fortitude and a deep commitment to bettering the lives of women and children worldwide. But this is not her finest hour,” Ferguson wrote.
Asked to comment on Ferguson’s decision, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said: “Lights, camera, no reaction.”
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