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Posted: 1:44 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, 2013

Republican National Committee bans NBC, CNN from hosting 2016 debates due to Hillary Clinton projects 

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Hillary clinton
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NBC and CNN won't be allowed to host Republican debates in 2016, the RNC decreed today, after both networks announced Hillary Clinton-related projects.

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By Rodney Ho

The Republican National Committee today voted to ban Atlanta-based CNN and NBC from hosting 2016 presidential and vice presidential debates due to both network's prospective projects about Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, is a possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.

CNN last month announced it plans to do a feature film. NBC said it wants to do a miniseries with Diane Lane as Clinton.

“There are forces out there that want to divide our party. But we’re not going to let them get in the way of our mission—whether they’re naysayers or news networks,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus said at an RNC meeting this morning. “That’s why we said to the media, with a united voice, that a network that spends millions to spotlight Hillary Clinton is a network with an obvious bias. And that’s a network that won’t be hosting a single Republican primary debate.”

CNN quickly came out with this statement:

CNN Films, a division of CNN Worldwide, commissioned a documentary about Hillary Clinton earlier this year.  It is expected to premiere in 2014 with a theatrical run prior to airing on CNN.  The CNN broadcast date has not been determined.  This documentary will be a non-fiction look at the life of a former First Lady and Secretary of State.  The project is in the very early stages of development, months from completion with most of the reporting and the interviewing still to be done.  Therefore speculation about the final program is just that.  We encouraged all interested parties to wait until the program premieres before judgments are made about it.  Unfortunately, the RNC was not willing to do that.

Prior to the ban, NBC News tried to separate itself from the miniseries with this Tweet. 

"NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project."

NBC repeated this again in a new statement today:

“NBC Entertainment has many projects in development and this particular mini-series – which has nothing to do with the NBC News division – is in the very early stages.  The script has not been written nor has it been ordered to production.  It would be premature to draw any conclusions or make any assumptions about it at this time.”

But since NBC Entertainment and NBC News are owned by the same company, the RNC didn't find this argument persuasive.

Chuck Todd,NBC News White House correspondent and MSNBC anchor, last week called the Clinton project “a total nightmare for NBC News. 

 "We know there’s this giant firewall. We know we have nothing to do with it. We’re going to only own the negative. Whether it’s negative because the Clinton people are upset that it’s too tough on them, or negative because the Republicans think it’s this glorification of her. No matter what, only we are going to own it because people are going to see the peacock, and they see NBC, and they see NBC News and they think ‘well they can’t be that separate.’”

Cindy Crowley of CNN told Politico: "You can say all you want, this is a commissioned documentary from people who are not in the employ of CNN. It's not me. It's not Wolf Blitzer. It's not John King. It's an outside documentary group. But we're with CNN and so this is not a story where the nuances are well-received, particularly by Republicans."

CNN and NBC (including MSNBC) hosted 11 of the 20 debates before the 2012 election, according to EW.com.

And while Fox TV Studios talked with NBC about producing its Clinton miniseries, href="http://www.deadline.com/2013/08/fox-tv-studios-wont-produce-nbcs-hillary-clinton-miniseries/">Deadline.com said talks never got very far.

Rodney Ho

About Rodney Ho

I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.

Connect with Rodney Ho on:FacebookTwitter

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