Skip to comments.CBS chief denies pressure led to 'Reagans' cancellation
Posted on 11/10/2003 2:35:38 PM PST by Onelifetogive
Did CBS chairman Leslie Moonves cave in to political and economic pressure when he canceled 'The Reagans' miniseries? The network honcho vehemently rejects the suggestion, calling it an "absolute lie."
"It was a moral decision, not an economic or a political one," Moonves stressed in an interview with Daily Variety. "And I don't know how more plainly I can state that."
A network statement issued last week following the cancellation of the controversial miniseries similarly insisted the decision had nothing to do with the backlash from Reagan supporters.
"This decision is based solely on our reaction to seeing the final film, not the controversy that erupted around a draft of the script," CBS said.
The network admitted the production was biased.
Although the miniseries features impressive production values and acting performances, and although the producers have sources to verify each scene in the script, we believe it does not present a balanced portrayal of the Reagans for CBS and its audience. Subsequent edits that we considered did not address those concerns.
"Unfortunately, in this instance, some of the criticisms, although coming from obviously one political perspective, I felt were somewhat well-founded," Moonves confessed to Daily Variety.
James Brolin, Judy Davis as Ronald and Nancy Reagan in CBS miniseries
The miniseries, originally scheduled to air Nov. 16 and 18, will be shown on CBS' sister pay-cable network, Showtime.
"A free broadcast network, available to all over the public airwaves, has different standards than media the public must pay to view," last week's CBS statement pointed out. "We do, however, recognize and respect the filmmakers' right to have their voice heard and their film seen. As such, we have reached an agreement to license the exhibition rights for the film to Showtime, a subscriber-based, pay-cable network. We believe this is a solution that benefits everyone involved."
Daily Variety reported last week the TV movie's director, Robert Allan Ackerman, had quit because of many last-minute edits and alterations demanded by CBS executives amid the escalating outcry.
Script excerpts published by the Drudge Report included scenes of Reagan cursing at his staff and his wife slapping her daughter. Other scenes show the former president declaring he is the Anti-Christ and, in response to AIDS, stating, "They that live in sin shall die in sin" though there is no record of him saying such things.
A number of boycott campaigns were launched in response to leaks of the script.
Nancy Reagan issued a statement earlier this month to the Fox News Channel saying, "The timing of [the miniseries] is absolutely staggering to me. Obviously, it's very hurtful."
The 92-year-old former president is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Moonves told the trade journal the cancellation does not mean creative freedom will be stifled at the network, but pledged CBS would continue to pursue shows that "are on the edge, that create controversy."
I just hate that we wasted all that time and effort contacting CBS and their affiliates.........
Is Moonves saying it would have been immoral to show the movie? If so, why wouldn't it be immoral to show it on Showtime? Do the standards of morality change on subscription channels? Morals, in my opinion, are constant and do not change.
Now all that's left to do is wait for apologies from all the leftist columnists who savaged CBS for knuckling under to us conservative extremist types...
He can't even say that the decision is, "partially based on viewer feedback!"