2ND UPDATE 6:30 PM: The Republican National Committee is taking credit for NBC and CNN deep-sixing what the group calls “their Hillary Clinton infomercials”. In August, the RNC threatened to block both networks from the 2016 presidential debates if they were forward with their Clinton programs. Here RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski’s statement on their cancellation: “This was only the first step in the Republican Party taking control of our debate process. The purpose of our party’s debates is to better inform our grassroots and those participating in Republican primaries and caucuses. Now that CNN and NBC have canceled their Hillary Clinton infomercials, we will work on developing a new debate model that will address the timing, frequency, moderators and venues that will come in the next few months. Any media organization looking to be part of the debate process will have to comply with the new system.”
UPDATED, 3:18 PM: Having lost its production partner on its Hillary Clinton miniseries back in August, and with all the brouhaha that had erupted over its Clinton mini (and CNN’s documentary), NBC planned to announce that its biopic was a goner sometime down the road, a source tells us. But when CNN this morning announced the demise of its Clinton documentary, NBC pounced on the opportunity to slip its news into the CNN story, rather than have reporters pound away with will-NBC-or-won’t-NBC sidebars and second-day stories. This is known as taking out all the dirty laundry in one afternoon — public relations 101.
“After reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/miniseries development, we’ve decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton miniseries,” NBC announced the same day CNN announced it had abandoned on all thought of a Hillary Clinton documentary after that project’s director backed out.
Back in mid-August — hours after the Republican National Committee announced its decision to block CNN and NBC News from GOP presidential primary debates during the 2016 election cycle because of their Clinton projects — NBC noted its Clinton movie had not been ordered to production. “It is ‘in development’, the first stage of any television series or movie, many of which never go to production,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said in a statement. That said, the project had been one of the biggest pieces of news announced in July at NBC’s day of the TCA Summer TV Press Tour.
NBC gave CNN its our-director-backed-out template back then; Greenblatt’s statement followed word that Fox TV Studio, which had been in talks to produce NBC’s miniseries, would not move ahead with the project. This morning, CNN told Politico it had abandoned plans after director Charles Ferguson “informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton … [W]e won’t seek other partners and are not proceeding with the film.” The statement was carefully orchestrated to coincide with a blog post in Huffington Post this morning, written by Ferguson, in which he complained, “[N]obody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film…After approaching well over a hundred people, only two persons who had ever dealt with Mrs. Clinton would agree to an on-camera interview, and I suspected that even they would back out,” he wrote.