CNN, NBC scrap plans for Hillary Clinton programs

September 30, 2013
Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, center, greets attendees with her daughter Chelsea Clinton, right, during the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. CGI's 2013 theme, mobilizing for impact, explores ways that members and organizations can be more effective in leveraging individuals, partner organizations, and key resources in their commitment efforts. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Hillary Clinton; Chelsea Clinton
(Jin Lee/Bloomberg)

Updated at 5:28 p.m.

CNN Films and NBC Entertainment on Monday canceled plans to produce programs about former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, putting and end to projects that had sparked considerable political controversy.

CNN Films had planned to produce a documentary about the former secretary of state, while NBC Entertainment was moving ahead on a miniseries.

CNN decided to shelve its plans after Charles Ferguson, the director it tapped to produce the documentary, decided to abandon the project. In a lengthy piece published on the Huffington Post Web site Monday morning, Ferguson explained that he felt compelled to shelve it over opposition to the idea from both Clinton allies and opponents, which triggered a widespread lack of cooperation among potential interviewees.

"When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film," wrote Ferguson. "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."

CNN Worldwide spokeswoman Allison Gollust said that CNN Films will not proceed with the project. Later Monday, NBC announced that its miniseries, which was in the earliest stages of development, would not be produced.

"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 spokesperson said in a statement.

Original plans from CNN and NBC to produce the programs triggered heated opposition earlier this year from the Republican National Committee, which accused the networks of trying to put a "thumb on the scales" of the next presidential election, given Clinton's status as a potential candidate.

After the networks initially refused to bow to the RNC's demand that it scuttle its plans, the RNC voted to exclude the networks from any officially sanctioned presidential primary debates in the next election.

It wasn't just Republicans who protested. The founder of Media Matters, a left-leaning media watchdog group, joined the RNC's call for CNN to drops its plans.

Ferguson said he wasn't surprised by the GOP opposition, but didn't expect pushback from Democrats.

"What did surprise me was that, quietly and privately, prominent Democrats made it known both to CNN and to me that they weren't delighted with the film, either," he wrote.

In a statement regarding CNN's decision Monday, RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said, “While CNN is not moving forward with its Hillary Clinton infomercial, it’s clearly not of their choosing but rather because the filmmaker quit in large part because of the RNC’s actions. This was only the first step in the Republican Party taking control of our debate process."

In the statement, which was released before NBC announced its decision Kukowski said "the pressure" was "squarely on NBC to cancel its Hillary infomercial."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
SECTION: {section=politics, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=politics, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Next Story
Aaron Blake · September 30, 2013