TVBizwire

Is NBC Softening Its Stance on Hillary Clinton Miniseries? Statement Hints That the Project May Not See the Light of Day Deadline

NBC has issued a response to a decision late last week by the Republican National Committee to ban the network, along with CNN, from the 2016 GOP presidential debates over a pair of Hillary Clinton projects.

Deadline.com reports that NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said in a statement released Friday: “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.”

"The statement was issued not long after word got out that Fox TV Studio, which had been in early stages of talks to produce the miniseries, would not move ahead with the project about the former first lady and secretary of state," the report notes.

Characterizing the Clinton miniseries as a promo, the RNC voted Friday to implement the ban, with CNN included because of a planned documentary focused on Clinton.

Deadline reports that NBC "took on this headache when Greenblatt made the Clinton miniseries one of his big announcements at his Summer TCA Press Tour appearance on July 27. Network execs like to come to Press Tour with these kinds of bright shiny lights, to distract the press so they don’t ask too many uncomfortable questions about ratings and some of their new series pickups, etc. Greenblatt announced that the network was preparing the four-hour miniseries as part of an ambitious slate of longform projects with which he hopes to make noise and boost ratings."

The report adds: "In its announcement, NBC said the miniseries would look at 'Clinton’s life as a wife, mother, politician and cabinet member from 1998 to the present' and that the script 'will begin with Clinton living in the White House as her husband is serving the second of his two terms as president.' Diane Lane already has been cast for the lead role; the script was being written by Courtney Hunt, writer and director of 'Frozen River.'”

In a separate article this morning, Deadline reports that NBC News White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who has been vocal about his unhappiness with the Clinton project, "seemed in a much better mood this morning, after NBC Entertainment said late Friday the mini might never be programmed. Appearing on MSNBC’s 'Morning Joe,' Todd said the Republication National Committee’s announcement Friday morning that it would block NBC from the GOP primary debates because of the miniseries ... was 'smart' if it limited the number of GOP primary debates, weeding out fame seekers."

Todd reportedly said on the program: “About half the Republican field from 2012, if they didn’t have the debates, they would not have run. They simply ran for exposure -- to get a talk show … to get a radio deal, a column, or a deal with Fox [News]. It wasn’t really because they thought they had a viable shot.”