Another day, another media story on the fudging of “reality” and “documentary” for the TV camera – this time it’s CNN’s eight-part series Chicagoland, which never got so much media interest as it did this morning when the Chicago Tribune posted a report on emails between the office of that city’s mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the producers. The emails show Emanuel’s office closely controlled access to their guy, that the producers cajoled his office to get shots they wanted, and a good time was had by all. In the world of politics, and the world of television, this is known as “how it works.”
Related: CNN’s ‘Chicagoland’ Finale Hits Viewer Low
“If it seems as though some scenes of CNN’s documentary series Chicagoland were coordinated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and the show’s producers, that’s because they were,” the Trib scolded in the report, timed to coincide with the series’ final-episode premiere last night. “City Hall’s frequent correspondence with the producers illustrates how senior aides to a mayor known for shaping his media image managed how their boss would be portrayed on CNN to a prime time national audience,” the Trib marveled.
More than 700 emails reviewed by the Tribune reveal that the production team “worked hand in hand with the mayor’s advisers to develop storylines, arrange specific camera shots and review news releases officially announcing the show.” Among its findings, producers asked the mayor’s office to help them set up key interactions for what CNN has billed as a non-scripted series. Those interactions included Emanuel’s visits with the school principal “who emerged as a star of the show, emails show,” according to the Trib.
The paper seemed most exercised over the emails in which the production team told Emanuel’s staff that particular scenes “would present the mayor in a positive light” including one in which one of the producers said the project would showcase Emanuel “as the star that he really is.” Read More »
Hollywood is very much on the minds of cable executives meeting in Chicago this week at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual trade show. Introducing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his welcoming remarks, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said that “in our industry he’s known as Ari’s brother” — referring to WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel. The mayor picked up the theme by offering a mock apology on behalf of his family. “You know him as an agent,” he said. “We know him as a brother. We thought we got the worse end of the deal.” He said that when HBO introduced its series Entourage, Ari wanted to know what Rahm thought of the Ari Gold character who’s based on the super agent. “I like Ari Gold more than I like you,” Rahm says he replied. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that five well-known Hollywood Democrats — David Geffen, Bob Iger, Peter Chernin, Haim Saban, and Ari Emanuel — are hosting a November 4th fundraiser for Ari’s brother Rahm Emanuel in his bid to become Chicago’s next mayor. Rahm, a former Democratic U.S. Representative from Illinois’ 5th Congressional District (2003-2009), resigned as President Obama’s White House Chief Of Staff on October 1st to throw his hat into the mayoral race following the retirement of Richard M. Daley whose last name more or less owned that political office the way most families would takeover the dining table. The Hollywood fundraiser will be held at Saban’s palatial Beverly Hills home.
For those keeping score, Geffen is the former DreamWorks SKG partner and longtime music and film mogul. Iger is the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Chernin is the former No. 2 of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and now a busy Fox TV and film producer. Saban is a private equity investor and entertainment producer best known for making the Power rangers into a worldwide hit and co-owner of the largest Spanish language media company in the U.S., Univision, as well as one of the Democratic party’s single largest donors. And Ari is the co-CEO of WME Entertainment, one of the largest Hollywood talent and literary agencies and now expanding into marketing and investment banking. All the men are Democratic Party donors, with Geffen, Chernin, Ari Emanuel, and Saban the most … Read More »