July 27--NBC IS VOTING FOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON -- at least in miniseries form.
The network is preparing a four-hour biopic, "Hillary," that will star Diane Lane as the former first lady and secretary of State. The miniseries will probably air sometime before 2016, when many political veterans expect Clinton to make another White House bid.
"We just closed the deal and haven't even written the script," NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters Saturday at the TCA press tour in Beverly Hills. He added that the role of former President Clinton has yet to be cast.
The miniseries will be written and directed by Courtney Hunt ("Frozen River"). It was unclear what source material will be used for the script, or whether it will include some of the former senator's most famous moments, including her sound bite that her husband's scandals were due to a "vast right-wing conspiracy."
TV treatments of political figures have sometimes proven explosive. CBS dropped a 2003 miniseries, "The Reagans," after its portrayal of former President Reagan and his family kicked up controversy. The project eventually aired on a sister network, Showtime.
"Hillary" is just part of a major NBC plunge back into miniseries programming after years of largely ignoring the genre. The network also plans "Stephen King's Tommyknockers," another TV retelling of the thriller about the changes in a small town after a mysterious object appears nearby. ABC first ran a miniseries based on the book in 1993.
Other miniseries in development include a four-hour retelling of the thriller "Rosemary's Baby" -- most famous for the movie version starring Mia Farrow -- and producer Mark Burnett's "Plymouth," which adapts the story of Pilgrims' journey to America.
NBC is already working with Burnett on a sequel to his "The Bible" miniseries, which delivered huge ratings for History.
"We need to be in the event business," Greenblatt said.
Asked about NBC and other networks not receiving any nods in the Emmys' best drama category for the second straight year, Greenblatt said voters "just look at the shiny new ball in the cable world" and ignore broadcasters' best work.
While noting that NBC's ratings dipped sharply earlier this year, he said the network nevertheless saw its most competitive season in nearly a decade. "At this point in our business, flat is the new up," he told reporters.
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