Score another one for the Gipper.
CBS, yielding to mounting criticism from political conservatives, officially canceled its upcoming four-hour miniseries “The Reagans,” and sold it to its sister pay-cable network Showtime, reports Reuters.
A statement from CBS said the decision about the series — which stars James Brolin and Judy Davis as former president and first lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan — was “based solely on our reaction to seeing the final film, not the controversy that erupted around a draft of the script.”
CBS also says the final version of the movie, which was set to air Nov. 16 and 18, failed to “present a balanced portrayal” of the couple, and that subsequent changes “did not address those concerns.”
Showtime has not announced when it will air the movie, which first drew headlines for its content last month, after The New York Times obtained a final copy of the script.
The paper reported that the film portrays the Reagans in an unflattering light while overlooking his political achievements. As a result, several Reagan supporters demanded a viewer and advertiser boycott of CBS.
In one scene, The Times reported, Reagan’s character says of AIDS patients, “They that live in sin shall die in sin.” The Times reported that there was no evidence that Reagan actually made such a statement.
There also was unhappiness in some quarters that Brolin is playing Reagan, given that the actor is married to outspoken Democrat Barbra Streisand. (On her Web site, which frequently carries her political messages, she has posted a protest of those who are criticizing the movie without having seen it.)
Davis also is known to be politically liberal, as are the two executive producers of the film, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, whose credits include the film musical “Chicago,” Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, last Friday, Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie requested that CBS allow a team of experts to preview the film to check on its historical accuracy. If not, Gillespie said CBS should run a disclaimer informing viewers that the film is a work of fiction.
Instead, the network simply got rid of the offending program.