Why the Republicans threaten NBC, CNN boycotts
The party's national committee warns it will skip debates on those networks if they air TV specials about Hillary Clinton.
A battle is brewing over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Even though the 2016 presidential election is a few years away and Clinton hasn't even announced if she's running, the Republican National Committee is threatening to boycott Time Warner's (TWX) CNN and Comcast's (CMCSA) NBC if they don't halt projects about the former first lady.
Both NBC and CNN thumbed their noses at the RNC, saying they'll continue with the projects despite the threat, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The brouhaha started when RNC leader Reince Priebus wrote letters on Monday to each network, warning that the GOP group will skip primary debates if the networks proceed with their projects.
"This suggests a deliberate attempt at influencing American political opinion in favor of a preferred candidate, not to mention a guilty conscience," Priebus wrote.
But both networks cautioned the RNC that any action would be "premature." CNN added that a boycott would be "the ultimate disservice to voters." (MSN moneyNOW is not owned by NBC or Comcast.)
The truth is that the RNC may have jumped the gun, given the small odds that any TV project will actually make it to air. Only about one-quarter of pilots have a shot of becoming a series, according to Variety.
NBC described its Hillary Clinton project as "in the very early stages" and appeared to downplay its chances of getting on the schedule, The Hollywood Reporter notes.
"The script has not been written nor has it been ordered into production. It would be premature to draw any conclusions or make any assumptions about it at this time," the network said of the miniseries project starring Diane Lane as Clinton. (CNN is planning a documentary.)
Priebus, as John Nichols writes in the left-leaning The Nation, has a "long history of complaining about media coverage of his party and its candidates."
The threat may present an opportunity for both NBC and CNN to drum up ratings. After all, nothing draws viewers more than scandal and buzz, something that both networks are low on at the moment.
CNN is trying to reinvent itself under the leadership of former NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker. CNN is still trailing Fox News, even though its July ratings were up double digits from a year earlier.
Meanwhile, NBC is struggling to find new prime-time shows that draw viewers. Aside from "Sunday Night Football," NBC had only one other show ranked among the top 10 during the 2012-13 TV season, and that was the aging talent-competition series "The Voice."
Priebus' outrage might only end up backfiring, if viewers flock to the CNN and NBC shows to see what all the fuss is about.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
I'm beginning to think that the Republican Party leadership has been kidnapped, is being held in an undisclosed location, and that its talking heads are in fact Democratic Party operatives.
They run blatant political biased programs with their own Republican STARS and then they grouse about a program on a network other than FOX that features a former Secretary of State. I think it is just more of the Republican War on Women.
I look forward to the Republican comedy hour. (Republican debates) Where they argue over who is the most out of touch with reality and who is the most religious. You just can't make up stuff like they come up with.
Hillary Clinton isn't running on any ticket! She still has to explain why at 3:00 AM she wasn't available
to save four Americans in Benghazi and neither was the President available! Hillary still has to explain her TIA not a fall on the stairs that there were not any to fall on? Neither CNN or NBC or MSNBC will want the fall out on Hillary in 2016. So there won't be any boycotts! I'm an independent stating an opinion on reported facts not aired by NBC or CNN, only on CBS, FOX and local stations in CA.
"Frankly loosing the rights to air a Republican debate might boost their ratings."
You know, I was thinking the same thing. If the GOP fired Rove, banned all the anarchists who do truly stupid stuff and... introduced an anonymous candidate, banned media contact of every kind and just put the name on the ballot... they might fare much better than they have. History will remark about the GOP of this Era as the hardest working on unethical approaches to put a deadbeat puppet in the White House and to control the Fate of the Greatest Nation on Earth by controlling, manipulating, depressing, suppressing the crap out of it and forcing it into destitution. When you look up: Sacks of Blood Sucking Rotting Shitt in Wikipedia... it says: see GOP.
However, if they go ahead with the projects and they turn out to be laughably obsequious, maybe now more folks will notice.
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