Television

CBS finds controversial 'Reagan' miniseries too hot to handle

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MUMBAI: A true story about former president Ronald Reagan and his family generated a storm of criticism from the conservative majority in the US.



Such was the ferocious velocity that CBS was forced to drop plans to air the same. Instead the US broadcaster has decided to air reruns of shows.



The miniseries was supposed to air on 16 and 18 November. The conservatives argued that the show distorted Regan's character and achievements. Reports indicate that CBS will have reruns of CSI: Miami and Without a Trace.



Making matters worse is the fact that one of the reruns will face off against the American Music Awards. The Reagans has been moved to pay cable channel Showtime. It has about a fifth of CBS' audience. An air date is yet to be announced.



One can argue that the news is not good. The film was not yet in public domain and this could start an unhealthy trend where a network cancels a show which could bring in the ratings because those that control the ad dollars are unhappy.



However it is not just CBS that was the target of a skillfully crafted hate campaign. Indiantelevision.com has regularly been receiving hate mails directed at Hallmark. In August we had run a story about Hallmark's plans to bring four new miniseries to Mipcom 2003. One of them was The Reagans. One comment from the US read, "You should be ashamed distributing First Family: The Reagans. Why smear and distort a great living American icon when they can't defend themselves? We will boycott Hallmark stores."



Another comment went like this. "Hallmark Entertainment has produced a portrait of president and his wife that is totally fallacious and a Left Wing hatchet job to discredit one of our greatest presidents... one who is near death and cannot defend himself. I strongly urge any overseas purchaser of this distribution to turn your back on it. Joel Denton should be ashamed of his pandering in distributing this outrageous piece of slander."



Of course now that CBS has dropped the miniseries the mails have stopped.

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