Chuck Todd: NBC’s Clinton film ‘nightmare’ for news division

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NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd said Thursday that his company’s plan to run a mini-series on the life of possible 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was a “nightmare” for the outlet’s news operations. [WATCH VIDEO]

“This mini-series is a total nightmare for NBC News,” Todd said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “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 … if it comes out, but there’s nothing we can do about it, and we’re going to only own the negative.”


NBC has a four-hour television movie in the works starring Diane Lane as Clinton. NBC News argued that it is completely independent from the Clinton film, which is being produced by NBC Entertainment, after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threatened to pull his group’s partnership with NBC for 2016 GOP presidential debates if they moved ahead with the project.

Todd argued Wednesday that even though the NBC divisions are separate, the public wouldn’t make the distinction between the two.

“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,’” Todd said.

“The two entities are sometimes at war with each other,” he added. “I can’t tell you how many fights we’ve had internally about whether to cover … some live news event and those, you know, guys on the West Coast, they want to, you know, run some rerun of ‘Parks and Recreation’ or whatever because they’ll make money.”

Priebus echoed that argument in a later segment on Morning Joe.

“I don’t think there’s a real difference there,” he said. “I think people see NBC … in the business of news, in the business of entertainment. They’re trying to do well in all of those areas, but I have to tell you there are times when there are decisions that are made by NBC, whether it’s entertainment or whether it’s news, that are going to have an effect over the entire brand. The umbrella brand might suffer because of the decisions that are made.”

Priebus this week also threatened to pull the RNC’s partnership with CNN, which has planned a feature-length documentary on the life of the former secretary of State.

In individual letters to CNN President Jeff Zucker and NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt, Priebus called the projects “a thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.”

The chairman says that moving ahead with the movie projects was evidence that neither network could be trusted to be fair arbiters in a presidential debate.