Reagans filmmakers speak out, deny political agenda

BY Advocate.com Editors

November 26 2003 12:00 AM ET

In a phone press conference on Monday, the filmmakers behind The Reagans told their side of the story that pitted their sweeps miniseries (sight unseen) against a flood of right-wing protest that convinced CBS to demote the series to its cable network, Showtime. The Reagans is now set to air Sunday, November 30, on Showtime, which is seen in only about 13 million homes to CBS's 100 million homes. According to a report in Showbiz.com, Showtime assembled several cast members, the movie's director, and executive producers to decry the eye network's censorship.

"I didn't expect there to be such a concerted effort to get it off the air," said Australian actress Judy Davis, who plays Nancy Reagan in the movie. She said that she was particularly dismayed that CBS seemed to cave into it so quickly. "I guess you would all be very concerned that a small, a relatively small group of people could exercise such control over a major network and get a film off the air. It's pretty astonishing, a film that they have not seen."

Robert Greenblatt, Showtime's president of entertainment, who is gay, joined in the attack on CBS and its chairman, Les Moonves, for yanking the movie. He commented: "Leslie Moonves is the chairman of CBS. The script, the casting, every single day of dailies was available to him, and he in fact commissioned it and paid for it. If he didn't know what movie he was getting, that's not the fault of the producers, the director, or anyone associated with the film." Moreover, director Robert Allan Ackerman maintained, CBS execs "were very happy with the movie when they saw it in a rough cut" before it was attacked by Reagan supporters. After that, Ackerman said, CBS wound up "artistically butchering" the film in an effort to appease conservatives. "By the time they were finished with the editing process, they found they had an incoherent movie and one they couldn't air," he said.

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