After GOP Jab, NBC Appears to Back Away from Hillary Mini

Hillary Clinton (Photo: Getty Images)

It could be open to interpretation, but a statement from NBC’s top programming executive seems to indicate the network could be backing away from its planned miniseries about the life of Hillary Clinton.

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The possible reason: The Republican National Committee’s vote on Friday to bar NBC and CNN from hosting any debates featuring a Republican presidential candidate in 2016 because the GOP’ers feel the broadcast network and cable news channel are covertly supporting the former First Lady’s candidacy for president with their recently announced miniseries and documentary, respectively.

On Friday, in the wake of that vote, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt issued a statement clarifying the status of the network’s Hillary miniseries. The statement made it sound as if NBC could pull the plug on it, although Greenblatt fell far short of conceding that the project’s development would cease due to pressure from Republicans.

Here’s the statement, according to “The Hillary Clinton movie has not been ordered to production, only a script is being written at this time,” the statement said. “It is ‘in development,’ the first stage of any television series or movie, many of which never go to production. Speculation, demands, and declarations pertaining to something that isn’t created or produced yet seem premature.”


Our interpretation: The statement would appear to give NBC an “out” with regards to going ahead with this miniseries. But it could also mean that NBC is holding on to the possibility of advancing the miniseries’ development in the near future, perhaps in the hopes that the current flap will blow over.

This miniseries project was announced with great fanfare, along with other NBC projects in development, earlier this month at the annual summer TV Press Tour in L.A., where the networks publicize their upcoming shows to an audience of captive TV-beat reporters. The miniseries was to star Diane Lane as Clinton. But it was less-than-certain when the miniseries would have aired. Officials at the press tour said only that it would air before 2016.

Meanwhile, in another development that was widely reported on Friday, the production arm of Fox TV has apparently withdrawn from contention for producing the Hillary miniseries for NBC.

Don’t be confused: The production companies owned by the companies that also own competing networks often produce programming for each other. In the case of Fox, though, the production company’s interest in producing this miniseries for NBC raised eyebrows because of the Fox production unit’s corporate connection to the right-leaning Fox News Channel. And it’s certainly possible that Fox’s corporate overseers put the kibosh on this miniseries because of mounting pressure from Republicans.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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