Chuck Todd: Hillary Miniseries a "Total Nightmare" For NBC News

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 8 2013 9:47 AM

Chuck Todd Says NBC's Hillary Miniseries Will Be a "Total Nightmare" For Its News Division

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Hillary Clinton speaks about energy diplomacy in the 21st century at Georgetown University October 18, 2012 in Washington, DC

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The nominally bipartisan chorus taking issue with NBC Entertainment's planned miniseries on Hillary Clinton added another unlikely voice on Thursday, with NBC News political director Chuck Todd calling the event-programming project a "total nightmare" for the network's news division. Politico snags the longer version of the quote, which was offered up on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

"This is why this mini-series is a total nightmare for NBC News ... We know there's this giant firewall, we know we have nothing to do with it, we know that we'd love probably to be as critical or whatever ... But there's nothing we can do about it, and we're going to only own the negative ... 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.' ... The two entities are sometimes at war with each other ... I can't tell you how many fights we've had internally about whether to cover ... some live news event and those ... guys on the West Coast, they want to ... run some rerun of 'Parks and Recreation' or whatever, because they'll make money. ... Actually, please, NBC Entertainment, can you please make some money? ... Thank God for all of the cable channels, right?"
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The surprise here, if you can call it that, isn't that Todd feels that way about the project, but that he voiced those feelings so directly (and on one of the network's cable stations no less). His comments come three days after RNC chairman Reince Priebus called the NBC project—along with CNN's planned Hillary documentary—"thinly veiled [attempts] at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election," and threatened an end to primary debate cooperation with the networks if the network execs don't quickly scrap their plans. The RNC's complaints then received backing from an unlikely source the following day, with progressive watchdog Media Matters raising similar issues, albeit for very different reasons.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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