"After reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/miniseries development, we've decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton miniseries," the network said in a statement obtained by THR.
In August, the Republican National Committee voted to ban NBC and CNN, which was developing a documentary, from hosting or sponsoring the 2016 Republican primary debates, a move that even Media Matters' David Brock, a vocal Democrat, didn't hesitate to support. He cited conflict of interest and implied that the documentary would give new life to old Clinton scandal rumors.
"Neither political party wanted the film made. After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn't make a film of which I would be proud. And so I'm cancelling. (Not because of any pressure from CNN — quite the contrary.)," Ferguson wrote. "It's a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have now become. But I don't think that it's a victory for the media, or for the American people. I still believe that Mrs. Clinton has many virtues including great intelligence, fortitude, and a deep commitment to bettering the lives of women and children worldwide. But this is not her finest hour."
NBC's sudden change of plans comes hours after CNN put the brakes on its own Clinton-centered documentary when director Charles Ferguson walked away. "Charles Ferguson has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton," CNN Worldwide spokesperson Allison Gollust told the site. "Charles is an Academy Award-winning director who CNN Films was excited to be working with, but we understand and respect his decision."
"[W]e won't seek other partners and are not proceeding with the film," she wrote.
In a blog post Ferguson wrote for The Huffington Post, the director explained that he left the project because of a lack of support and pressure from both Clinton supporters and the Republican National Committee. "I would have loved to explore all this. 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. Not even journalists who want access, which can easily be taken away, " Ferguson wrote.
After signing with CNN Films, Ferguson recalled being contacted by Clinton's press secretary Nick Merrill and her media fixer Phillipe Reines, "who contacted various people at CNN, interrogated them, and expressed concern about alleged conflicts of interest generated because my film was a for-profit endeavor," but they declined to speak to the director himself.
Do you think NBC and CNN made the right call?