Game over: After CNN documentary on Hillary is canceled, NBC drops Hillary miniseries

Too bad. There were rich dramatic possibilities in the story of a wronged spouse who became a passable U.S. senator and then a subpar presidential candidate before rising above it all to achieve mediocrity as secretary of state.

They can always revisit the subject in 2025, after she’s been an unexceptional president.

“After reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/mini-series development, we’ve decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton miniseries,” the network said in a statement Monday…

NBC announced in July that it was developing a four-hour miniseries based on the former first lady starring Lane, with plans to air the effort before Clinton was likely to announce her candidacy for president. NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt noted the play would have avoided concerns about equal time to Clinton’s potential Republican challenger. The project was due to be written by Frozen River’s Courtney Hunt and would have recounted Clinton’s life as a wife, mother, politician and cabinet member from 1998 to the present. The script would have started with Clinton living in the White House as her husband is serving the second of his two terms as president and would have included her likely run for president.

So, predictably, they were going to start the story during the Monica years, at the height of Hillary’s sympathetic victimization. To think, America will never know the cheesy melodrama of Diane Lane tremulously asking “Bill” if the rumors are true, slapping him across the face when he lies to her and says no, then putting on a brave face for the cameras after the scandal explodes. Later, there’d be a scene after a Democratic presidential debate where an arrogant Barack Obama tells her to face reality and accept that the nomination is his. Whereupon her lip would quiver and she’d slap him, only to put on a brave face for the cameras outside the debate hall. And then, near the end, there’d be a scene between her and one of her deputies at State who’s been charged with telling her that the jihadis have overrun the consulate at Benghazi. She’d slap him in the face, tears welling in her eyes, but then muster a brave face at her Senate hearing in wondering aloud, with steely determination, what difference does it make. So vulnerable, yet … so tough.

The funniest part of CNN and NBC bailing out of these Hillary infomercials is that the RNC is trying to take credit for it. If you read Ed’s post this morning, you know the real reason — Clintonworld froze out the documentary director because they’re fanatic about controlling Hillary’s image, especially before another presidential run. In fact, rumors started swirling weeks ago about NBC possibly canceling the miniseries for that same reason, because they feared reprisals from Bill and Hillary if they went forward which could be “unhelpful” to their corporate interests if she ended up winning in 2016. As of mid-August, the production had gone from 90 percent likely according to one source to 60 percent unlikely; the only reason the announcement was made today, I assume, is because CNN announced that its own documentary was kiboshed and NBC figured it might as well take advantage of the news cycle. Same with the RNC, which posted earlier about its debate boycott threat after the CNN news broke:

“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. The purpose of our party’s debates is to better inform our grassroots and those participating in Republican primaries and caucuses. The pressure is now squarely on NBC to cancel its Hillary infomercial. The timing, frequency, moderators and venues will all be part of new debate model that will come in the next few months. Any media organization looking to be part of the debate process will have to comply with the new system.” – RNC spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski

The key bit is in bold. The grand strategy behind the RNC’s Hillary-movie boycott of CNN and NBC was to show grassroots conservatives that they’re willing to fight the evil media in the name of “taking control of our debate process.” What they really want to do in that vein, though, is limit the number of primary debates in 2016, since the more debates there are, the more that gives a tea-party insurgent like Ted Cruz free media which he can use to gain ground on more establishment candidates like Christie and Jeb Bush. By picking a fight with an institution righties hate, they’ve introduced the idea of cleaning up the debate process on terms that the base can most sympathize with.

Anyhow, your exit question: Why would anyone want to make a movie about Hillary after she became a national figure? There’s only one way that script can go, namely, trying to find the human being behind the mask of power and ambition that a national political figure fashions for him/herself. And that leads you to eye-rolling crapola of the sort I described above. Hillary before she became Hillary! is a richer topic. What was she like back before she was famous, when she was relating to other people in a semi-normal way and not encased in an inhuman excrescence known as “Clintonworld”?

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