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Zadan and Meron feel vindicated by Emmy nods for The Reagans

Zadan and Meron feel vindicated by Emmy nods for The Reagans

The seven Emmy nominations collected by The Reagans was "the salve needed for the wound" left by the politically charged attack unleashed on the biopic when it was originally destined for CBS last fall, according to out executive producer Neil Meron. "We always wanted this movie to be judged on its merits, and not on the merits of the controversy," said Meron, who executive-produced The Reagans with Craig Zadan, his longtime partner in Storyline Entertainment, and Sony Pictures TV. The vindication was especially sweet as the project not only earned a Best Telefilm nomination but also acting nods for stars James Brolin and Judy Davis and a long-form writing bid for writers Jane Marchwood, Tom Rickman, and Elizabeth Egloff, Zadan said. The grassroots campaign to bash The Reagans began a few months before the project was set to air as a four-hour miniseries on CBS in November. Once early drafts of the script leaked out, Reagan partisans mounted Web sites and other PR tools to rail against scenes that portrayed the former president and Nancy Reagan in a less-than-flattering light. Amid the firestorm, CBS ultimately punted the project to Showtime, where it aired as a three-hour movie. "It really is reaffirming that in America there is still freedom of speech, and you can make the movie you want to make, and it will get shown," Zadan said. "For a while we were wondering." The delicate task of handling The Reagans was among the first big projects out former producer Robert Greenblatt took on after joining Showtime last year as entertainment president. "A lot of people couldn't see past the politics, but it was a really well-produced movie on every level," Greenblatt told Reuters Thursday. Zadan and Meron acknowledged that they still feel the residual chill from the highly politicized attacks that were leveled by people who never even saw their movie. Networks "are being much more cautious about what they're going to order," Zadan said. "It's easier for them to do something that's not controversial, and that's disappointing."

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