HBO suddenly announced Thursday that it was canceling production of a movie about Roger Ailes, president of Fox News, according to a report on Deadline.com,
which originally broke the story.
“We recently decided not to pursue the Ailes project. It had become clear to us before even receiving a script that due to our company’s CNN affiliation the film could never be seen as objective,” HBO Films President Len Amato told Deadline.
Deadline added that "none of the dealmakers have yet been informed by HBO that the project isn’t going forward. HBO was trying hard to keep the project under wraps."
The movie would have been based on a book that media writer Gabriel Sherman is putting together for Random House. He already wrote two cover stories for New York magazine about Ailes and Fox.
"HBO appears obsessed by GOP conservatives," the Deadline report continued. "There have been movies about the 2000 Bush vs. Gore election standoff and Sarah Palin and most recently a TV series featuring George W. Bush’s severed head. Sources told me Sherman is still researching the book and plans to finish writing it by the end of the summer for a 2013 publishing date."
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” were slated to be executive producers for the film. Given that they’re competitors of Ailes and Fox, it would have likely been a negative portrayal.
WME Entertainment, the Hollywood agency run by Ari Emanuel, negotiated the deal. Emanuel is an active Democrat, whose brother Rahm Emanuel is mayor of Chicago and was formerly White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama.
Nothing had been announced publicly because Sherman is still researching the book and plans to complete it by the end of September for a 2013 publishing date. “Nothing much to say,” an HBO executive told Deadline.com. “No book yet to read. No script. We’ll wait to see what the script looks like and then decide whether to develop further.”
HBO frequently contracts books before they’re published and then turns them into TV movies. A source earlier told Deadline.com that what’s happening here is that “HBO prefers to take on Fox News through Ailes. The idea is that it should make Fox News look like a Mafia, and you get into this through Ailes, sidestepping Murdoch, not approaching the story head on.”
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