Though it may be the first fact-based film shuffled off to cable by controversy, ”The Reagans” is hardly the first to generate scandal.
ROE VS. WADE (NBC, 1989) DUSTUP The movie is attacked as being pro-choice. NBC orders 20 script revisions to make the story balanced. Some companies boycott, but others buy ad spots at reduced rates. RATINGS Wins its time slot with 15.4 million viewers — and takes home two Emmys.
SERVING IN SILENCE: THE MARGARETHE CAMMERMEYER STORY (NBC, 1995) DUSTUP A lesbian kiss causes some sponsors to run. NBC allows critics and sponsors to view it well in advance, but vows to show it exactly as delivered by exec producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan (who also created The Reagans”). RATINGS Garners 18.8 million viewers and runs a close second in the slot.
HITLER: THE RISE OF EVIL (CBS, 2003) DUSTUP Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors complain that it humanizes Hitler and is inaccurate. Meanwhile, exec producer Ed Gernon compares Bush’s preemptive-strike policies to Hitler; it costs Gernon his job and generates criticism from Bush supporters. RATINGS Ranks 17th for the week, pulling in 12.2 million viewers.