With Sarah Palin as a guest host, NBC’s Today on Tuesday averaged 5.5 million viewers, up 8% from the show’s Monday edition. Today also edged ABC’s Good Morning America (5.1 million), which featured Palin’s enemy Katie Couric as guest host. (GMA also was up from Monday, by 6%.) Among adults 25-54, Today drew 2.2 million yesterday vs. 1.9 milluon for GMA. Today has now won the first two mornings it faced former star Couric on GMA, though ABC News notes that GMA‘s ratings gap with Today has been smaller than the season averages.
The former GOP VP candidate tore into Hollywood — including comedian Bill Maher and HBO’s movie about the 2008 presidential campaign, Game Change — but showed some affection for Oprah Winfrey and Tina Fey on the Today Show’s “Today’s Professionals” panel discussion segment this morning. Asked about Winfrey’s admission yesterday that she failed to appreciate how hard it would be to launch her struggling OWN network, Palin said “more power to Oprah for getting out there, showing the guts, showing the grit that it takes to succeed. ….She is representing what makes America great. You have opportunity to succeed and to fail and to keep trying again.” Palin didn’t raise her hand when host Matt Lauer asked panel members to do so if they thought that Winfrey would be able to fix OWN. But she added that she thinks the channel is “going to be around. She should get some conservatives on the show, some patriots.”
NBC’s Today is not taking Katie Couric‘s week-long guest stint on rival Good Morning America in stride. In the span of several hours yesterday NBC launched a promo teasing the return of a “legend” on the Monday Today show and a guest-hosting stint by Couric’s enemy Sarah Palin on Tuesday. (NBC refused to name the “legend” before the Monday show, triggering Internet speculation that has turned up such suggestions as Jane Pauley, Bryant Gumbel and… John Legend) Between the “legend” stunt on Today, Katie Couric’s return to morning television on GMA and Gayle King’s interview with BFF Oprah Winfrey on CBS This Morning, tomorrow morning is shaping up as one of the most competitive morning contests in years. It was Couric who conducted that now infamous 2008 interview (on Couric’s former CBS Evening News home) which hurt the then GOP Vice Presidential candidate’s political credibility.
After a massive promotional campaign and a dash of controversy, HBO’s Game Change premiered with an average of 2.1 million viewers at 9 PM on Saturday to become the network’s most watched original film in almost 8 years, since the 2004 Something The Lord Made (2.6 million). The movie about John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and the meteoric rise of Sarah Palin from a little known Alaska Governor to super-star Republican running mate, doubled the premiere audience of the previous HBO movie from the same writer (Danny Strong) and director (Jay Roach), Recount, which chronicled events surrounding the 2000 presidential elections. It also outperformed the opening nights of recent HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce (1.3 million), Generation Kill (1 million) and John Adams (1.8 million). For the weekend, Game Change averaged 3.6 million viewers over multiple plays. The movie has been met with criticism by Palin and aids for the McCain-Palin ticket, with the former Alaska governor calling it “Hollywood lies.”
Sarah Palin Dismisses ‘Game Change’ As “Hollywood Lies” And Accuses HBO Of Being “Pro-Leftist, Pro-Obama”
HBO premieres its controversial political movie Game Change tonight about the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign based on the book by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin and directed by Jay Roach and starring Julianne Moore and Ed Harris. On Friday, Palin sent this email to ABC News: “I believe my family has the right priorities and knows what really matters. For instance, our son called from Afghanistan yesterday and he sounded good and that’s what matters. Being in the good graces of Hollywood’s ‘Team Obama’ isn’t top of my list.” Palin also Palin also told Fox News: “I’m not going to go see the movie, neither is the good Sen. John McCain. We’ve discussed this and realized that Hollywood lies are Hollywood lies. They’re going to do what they can to drum up their money and their machine, and their machine happens to be a very pro-leftist, pro-Barack Obama machine there at HBO that created this movie. And those campaign staffers who essentially threw John McCain under the bus, I think that they should feel some shame, and they should feel some embarrassment, because the movie is based on a false narrative, as you can see in the trailer.”
ReelzChannel has picked up the Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated and will premiere it March 11 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT. The pro-Palin doc from Victory Film Group was released theatrically in July in a few theaters and grossed just more than $100,000 domestically, but its politically charged subject puts it right in the wheelhouse of ReelzChannel, which found ratings success picking up the miniseries The Kennedys after it was dropped by History Channel. That mini from 24 co-creator Joel Surnow earned 10 Emmy nominations last year and won four and put ReelzChannel on the cable map. It’s also not a coincidence that the March 11 TV premiere date for Undefeated comes a day after HBO premieres Game Change, its movie about the 2008 presidential election that focuses on the emergence of Palin on the national scene. “We are incredibly excited that ReelzChannel has made the courageous decision to present the network television premiere on the same weekend as the fictionalized hit-piece by HBO,” Undefeated writer-director Stephen K. Bannon said.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on HBO’s movie Game Change, director/executive producer Jay Roach said he tried to get Sarah Palin’s cooperation for the film about the 2008 presidential election, which is based on the book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. “On behalf of the (film), I wrote a long letter explaining that I thought it would ‑‑ we would just do better at getting the story right if she would talk to us,” said Roach, also the director of HBO’s Recount, about the 2000 presidential race. “And I got a very quick email back from her attorney saying, ‘I checked. She declines.’ So I took that as, you know, the final answer.” Still, Game Change writer Danny Strong (who also penned Recount) said he was able to interview 25 people connected with the 2008 campaign. He did not get John McCain or his speechwriter Mark Salter but said, “I got everybody else, including people who are not portrayed in the film.”
Strong called Game Change nonpartisan and added that Republican politicians were very receptive to Recount (“James Baker threw us a premiere,” he said). Although the book covers on the entire campaign, including much material on the Obamas, the movie focuses on the McCain-Palin ticket and particularly on the Vice President candidate. Strong and Roach said the choice made sense for the movie because Palin’s rise from political obscurity …
HBO has released the first teaser for its upcoming film Game Change, which follows John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign from his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election. The trailer showcases Julianne Moore as Palin, Ed Harris as McCain and Woody Harrelson as McCain adviser Steve Schmidt as they search for a vice presidential candidate that would help thwart Barack Obama’s momentum — and culminates with the big coming-out party for Palin at the Republican National Convention. Game Change, produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone, directed by Jay Roach and written by Danny Strong, premieres in March. The movie will not be as controversial as it would’ve been had Palin decided to run for president next year.
UPDATE: TV and radio political pundit Dennis Miller on Monday announced that he’s endorsing Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and will headline a political fundraiser in Los Angeles. Miller also is making donations to the campaign and offering to write for Cain, the recent winner of the GOP straw poll in Florida and now the leader of the entire GOP field in a new Zogby poll of Republican primary voters. Meanwhile, the AP is reporting that Donald Trump has become a “must-stop for GOP candidates hoping to bask in the celebrity real estate mogul’s star power”. All the major Republican presidential hopefuls have sought an audience with the host of Celebrity Apprentice, looking for an endorsement or advice. Mitt Romney is scheduled to meet met with Trump on Monday in New York. Cain’s date with the Donald is said to be upcoming.
Rick Perry already dined with Trump earlier this month at fancy NYC eatery Jean Georges. Michele Bachmann visited Trump’s penthouse atop the Trump Tower in July. Sarah Palin (who’s not yet declared) shared pizza with Trump in Times Square last spring. Trump toyed with throwing his own hat into the ring but would have had to exit Celebrity Apprentice, so he declined. On the other hand, another Hollywood endorsement might not be as welcome to one Republican candidate: that of liberal filmmaker Michael Moore. Moore just told CNN’s Piers Morgan that, of the entire GOP field, “There’s only one who has sanity operating inside of …
Here’s the trailer for Nick Broomfield’s documentary, which Freestyle Releasing plans to open in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 30.
Days before its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, Nick Broomfield’s hot-button expose documentary Sarah Palin: You Betcha! has been acquired by Freestyle Releasing. The plan is to open in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 30 and roll out. Broomfield raised more than $30,000 on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to support the doc’s release, with private investors kicking in more money to launch the film. Cassian Elwes made the deal with Freestyle co-president Susan Jackson. The doc, directed by Broomfield and Joan Churchill, is not a fave of the Palin crowd, and the filmmakers say it lifts the veil off her image as a former hockey mom as the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate gears up for a possible presidential run in 2012.
Content Film has acquired foreign rights to Nick Broomfield’s documentary Sarah Palin: You Betcha!, with the exception of the UK, where Channel 4 holds the TV rights. Cassian Elwes is handling domestic on the film, which has yet to find a U.S. distributor. Broomfield (Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam, Kurt & Courtney) directed the film with Joan Churchill. Marc Hoeferlin (Battle for Haditha) produced. News of the deal comes on the same day it was announced that the film will debut at the Toronto Film Festival next month in the Reel to Reel Section. In July, ARC Entertainment gave a limited theatrical release to The Undefeated, another Palin documentary. That film will be available Sept. 1 on pay-per-view and video on demand, and will have a special edition DVD launch through Walmart.
EXCLUSIVE: On the same day that the pro-Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated unveiled its premiere date, Deadline has learned that there’s another Palin doc in the works, this one from filmmaker Nick Broomfield – and it appears from an exclusive clip (below) that it’s not going to be quite as favorable toward the former vice presidential candidate. There is a screening for buyers next week in Los Angeles, I’m told. Broomfield’s doc purports to dig into Palin’s public and private life and features interviews with her parents, ex-aides, and both friends and foes from her time as Alaska governor. Meanwhile, Stephen K. Bannon’s The Undefeated, which favorably chronicles Palin’s rise from obscurity to the national stage, will have its world premiere June 28 in Pella, Iowa. Here’s that exclusive clip from Broomfield’s doc:
The Right Online conservative conference in Minneapolis over the weekend saw a rough print of Stephen Bannon’s Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated, which will play exclusively at select AMC Theatres starting July 15. The film will launch in markets such as Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Atlanta, Orange County, Phoenix, Houston, Indianapolis and Kansas City. The public is being asked to vote on future theater locations at www.cinedigm.com/theUndefeatedMovie. More about the docu here:
AMC Theatres will be the exclusive exhibitor for the pro-Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated, which charts the ex-Alaska governor’s rise to national prominence, and has solidified a release date: July 15 in select cities (Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Atlanta, Orange County, Phoenix, Houston, Indianapolis, and Kansas City). Cinedigm Digital Cinema is managing the release; ARC Entertainment will distribute worldwide. The doc, written and directed by Stephen K. Bannon (Generation Zero, celebrating the Tea Party movement, and In The Face Of Evil, lionizing President Reagan), was produced by Victory Film Group co-founder Glenn Bracken Evans and Dan Fleuette and financed independently. Today’s announcement also said that the public will be able to vote for more theater locations. It will be interesting to see whether Iowa, New Hampshire and and South Carolina screens pop up in the near future as Palin ponders a run for the White House in 2012.
HBO’s Sarah Palin-John McCain movie Game Change, with Julianne Moore playing the former Alaska governor, has competition from a feature film that will get to the screen first. It’s the biopic Undefeated authorized by Palin, made by conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon (Generation Zero celebrating the Tea Party movement, and In The Face Of Evil lionizing President Reagan), and set to premiere in late June in Iowa and then other early presidential primary states like New Hampshire and South Carolina and Nevada. Then the film will eventually release into between 50 and 100 markets nationwide. It may also have a DVD life since there are preliminary discussion about purchasing copies of the film from Bannon to distribute as gifts to SarahPAC donors. And Bannon is counting on a video-on-demand deal.
Partisan filmmaking is a long tradition of recent presidential campaigns but usually as brief documentaries shown at Democratic National Conventions, like Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s The Man From Hope about their pal Bill Clinton in 1992, or Spike Jonze’s 13-minute short about Al Gore in 2000, or James Moll’s intro film for John Kerry in 2004 which Steven Spielberg helped edit, or Davis Guggenheim’s biopic for Barack Obama in 2008. But Undefeated appears to be the first feature film-length biopic and for an as-yet-undeclared presidential candidate.
Scott Conroy, a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics, has seen the film which he’s calling ”Palin’s Secret Weapon” because it’s to “help catapult Palin from the presidential afterthought she has become in the eyes of many pundits directly to the front lines of the 2012 GOP conversation”. Interestingly, it features a clip sequence showing celebs like Rosie O’Donnell, Matt Damon, Bill Maher, David Letterman, and Howard Stern slamming Palin. It also features images of lions killing a zebra and a dead medieval soldier with an arrow sticking in his back to dramatize the Palin-haters. Two versions of the film reportedly will be released: an unrated edition will contain some obscene anti-Palin language and imagery, while the other is targeted to a general audience and will seek a PG-13 MPAA rating.
“Shortly after Republicans swept last November to a historic victory in which Sarah Palin was credited with playing a central role, the former Alaska governor pulled aside her close aide, Rebecca Mansour, to discuss a hush-hush assignment: Reach out to conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon with a request. Ask him if he would make a series of videos extolling Palin’s governorship and laying to rest lingering questions about her
Sarah Paulson And Peter MacNicol Join HBO’s Palin-McCain Movie ‘Game Change’, Julianne Moore As Sarah Palin Unveiled
EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Paulson and Peter MacNicol are set to co-star in the HBO film Game Change, produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone. The movie, directed by Jay Roach and written by Danny Strong, follows John McCain’s (Ed Harris) 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (Julianne Moore) as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip alumna Paulson will play McCain’s senior campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace, described as attractive, wholesome, California-bred, smart, focused and an ambitious political writer and communications chief who worked for Jeb Bush and then McCain. Ally McBeal alum MacNicol will play McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis, who oversaw the development and implementation of all campaign strategy and policy development. Also cast in the film is Justin Gaston as Levi Johnston, who fathered the baby of Palin’s teenage daughter Bristol (Melissa Farman). ICM-repped Paulson stars in Kari Lizer’s comedy pilot for NBC as well as in the Sundance film Martha Marcy May Marlene, which has been picked up by Fox Searchlight for a release later this year and is now heading to Cannes. Emmy winner MacNicol has been recurring on Grey’s Anatomy. Gaston, repped by CAA and the Hofflund Co., next co-stars in the indie The Escapee.
Woody Harrelson has joined Julianne Moore and Ed Harris in HBO Films’ Game Change, produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone. The movie, directed by Jay Roach, follows John McCain’s (Harris) 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (Moore) as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election. Harrelson will play Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior campaign strategist and adviser.
Based on the bestselling book Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, the film is directed by Roach and written by Danny Strong, whose previous collaboration was HBO’s Recount, about the 2000 Florida recount. Playtone is producing in association with Roach’s Everyman Pictures, with Hanks, Goetzman and Roach executive producing. Strong serves as co-executive producer.