National Geographic says 'SEAL Team Six' airdate before election isn't political

The National Geographic Channel will premiere the feature-length film SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden on Nov. 4, two days before the presidential election. The film, which dramatizes the events surrounding the killing of Bin Laden and was originally produced by The Hurt Locker‘s Nicolas Chartier for a theatrical release, will then be available to Netflix members in the U.S. on Nov. 5.

Per the announcement, the deal arose after a discussion between NGC President Howard T. Owens and Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, the distributor of the film, regarding the insight the movie provides into this moment in the War on Terror and American history. Noting that Weinstein is a supporter of President Obama, who greenlit the successful raid, the deal with Nat Geo (which is a joint venture between National Geographic and News Corporation’s Fox Cable Networks) could seem carefully timed to benefit the president at the polls. In a statement, National Geographic Channel denies that politics played any part in the deal:

SEAL TEAM SIX is a film that will provide our viewers with the first full length dramatization detailing one of the war on terrorism’s most crucial and historic events. It also showcases the extraordinary bravery and resourcefulness of the United States military and national security teams. The National Geographic Channel has no political agenda, and believes that audiences can and will judge projects of this type on their own merits. National Geographic Channel also has a reputation of getting inside access, and bringing big events to our viewers first — for instance, we were the first and only network to have an exclusive with George W. Bush for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 (our highest rated show last year). SEAL TEAM SIX is a drama inspired by the real events of how the U.S. finally found Osama bin Laden in the network’s first feature film and scripted project marking the continued expansion of our programming.

The Weinstein Company did not return EW’s request for comment. Watch the trailer for SEAL Team Six, directed by Blue Crush‘s John Stockwell and starring Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Freddy Rodriguez, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Robert Knepper and William Fichtner, below. Premiering the movie on National Geographic Channel means audiences will see it before another Bin Laden raid film — Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty – hits theaters in December.

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