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NBC cancels Hillary Clinton miniseries

Boy, that escalated quickly.

Just hours after CNN formally canceled a planned documentary about the life and work of Hillary Clinton, NBC has announced that it, too, is nixing a Clinton-themed project.

“After reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/mini-series development, we’ve decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton mini-series,” the network said in a statement.

The four-hour special, written and directed by Oscar nominee Courtney Hunt, was to star Diane Lane as the former first lady-turned-senator-turned-secretary of state.

Shortly after CNN and NBC’s Clinton projects were announced this summer, the Republican National Committee voted unanimously to block both networks from hosting GOP presidential primary debates if they aired either program. RNC Chair Reince Priebus criticized both networks prior to the vote, calling the Clinton doc and miniseries “extended commercial[s] for Senator Clinton’s nascent campaign.”

Clinton has not yet announced whether she will run for president once more in 2016.

Fox TV Studios won't produce Hillary Clinton miniseries -- UPDATED

UPDATED: Fox TV Studios won’t produce a much-buzzed about miniseries on Hillary Clinton, EW has confirmed. The four-hour miniseries, which stars Diane Lane, was first announced by NBC at the annual Television Critics Association press tour in July. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

Threats from the Republican National Committee to ban NBC from hosting the 2016 primary debates on the basis of potential bias slowed interest in the miniseries and sparked debate in NBC’s news division, but the THR report cites deal negotiations as more of a factor than politics.

The RNC did vote Friday to ban both NBC and CNN (which is planning a feature-length documentary about the former First Lady) from hosting the debates if those planned specials move forward. The primary debates typically boost ratings for the major networks. Today, NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt released a statement on the issue, saying, “The Hillary Clinton movie has not been ordered to production, only a script is being written at this time.  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.”

Republicans let Fox Television off the hook for Hillary Clinton miniseries

NBC is running the risk of losing out on one of TV’s best reality shows: the Republican presidential primary debates. The GOP’s debates of 2011-12 featured some of television’s most-talked-about moments, from Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 chorus to Rick Perry’s “Oops” moment to Mitt Romney’s $10,000 bet — and in 2015, there’s always the chance that Donald Trump could join the cast.

When NBC Entertainment announced in July that it was planning a 2014 miniseries about presumed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, with Diane Lane playing the former first lady, there was an inevitable reaction from the Right. Republicans accused NBC — which also runs the liberal-leaning MSNBC — of promoting its favored candidate, journalism watch-dog groups agreed that the miniseries was a serious conflict of interest, and even high-ranking NBC News personnel, like Chuck Todd, expressed their unease. (Republicans were equally cross about CNN’s plans for its own Hillary Clinton documentary.)

Republicans, who view Clinton as the most formidable 2016 Democratic candidate — though she hasn’t declared her intentions yet — aren’t willing to stand silently while she enjoys a bounty of free publicity. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, called on CNN and NBC to cancel their Clinton TV projects — “political ad[s] masquerading as an unbiased production” — and threatened to keep the Republican debates away from those networks if they refuse to comply. In the 2012 election debates, CNN and NBC (and its cable subsidiaries) sponsored 11 of the 20 Republican debates.

The politics and motivations seemed simple enough, but NBC, it turns out, is in talks to farm out the production of its Clinton miniseries to another company… Fox Television Studios. That’s the same Fox that also runs Fox News, the conservative cable news channel that is perceived as a friendlier room for Republican candidates. Would the RNC hold Fox News accountable with the same threat it levied at CNN and NBC? Well, no.


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