Planned programs about Hillary Clinton that so angered Republican leaders they voted to ban two television networks from hosting 2016 presidential primary debates have been canceled.
In separate announcements yesterday, CNN and NBC said they are scrapping their plans for shows highlighting the life and career of the former U.S. secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady who many Democrats are pushing to seek the party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
Clinton, who gave up her post as President Barack Obama’s chief diplomat early this year, has been silent about her political plans. Polls have shown her the odds-on favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination.
CNN Films was planning a feature-length documentary about Clinton. NBC Entertainment had planned a mini-series in which actress Diane Lane had been cast to play Clinton, 65.
Charles Ferguson, the director for the CNN project, disclosed its cancellation in a blog post at the Huffington Post website.
“I would have loved to explore all this,” he wrote. “But when I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans -- and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration.”
The film, which CNN commissioned earlier this year, was expected to premiere in 2014 with a theatrical run before airing on the cable network.
“Charles Ferguson has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton,” CNN said in a statement e-mailed yesterday. “Charles is an Academy Award winning director who CNN Films was excited to be working with, but we understand and respect his decision.”
Later in the day, NBC confirmed it was shelving its 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,” an NBC spokesman said in an e-mailed statement.
The planned mini-series was announced by NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt in July.
In mid-August, the Republican National Committee unanimously voted to prohibit the party from joining in 2016 presidential primary debate partnerships with CNN and NBC because of the planned Clinton programs.
“This was only the first step in the Republican Party taking control of our debate process,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “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.”
-- Editors: Don Frederick, Jeanne Cummings