Brian Hiatt
November 25, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

The makers of the embattled TV movie ”The Reagans” broke their silence Monday, complaining that CBS had rendered the film incomprehensible with numerous edits. ”What they were doing with the structure of the film, I thought, was making it incoherent,” director Robert Ackerman told the Associated Press. He added that CBS ”in a sense, banished” the filmmakers from the editing process, before ultimately kicking the movie over to Showtime, where it’ll air on Sunday in its original form. The movie sparked protests from supporters of Ronald Reagan, who claimed it showed the former president in a falsely negative light.

One of the movie’s producers, Neil Meron, told AP that despite complaints, the film had no bias, and was meant only to show the human side of Ron and Nancy. But CBS president Les Moonves said on Monday that he felt the film was overly political, and that he would have canned it even in the absence of protests. ”I was told that it was going to be a love story, that the politics would be in the background,” Moonves told AP.

The film’s producers countered that Moonves should have known what he was getting, since he bought it and was able to monitor its production. And costar Judy Davis, who plays Nancy, called CBS’ decision censorship. ”The film being taken off the air? appears to be an attack on free speech,” Davis told AP. Let’s start calling it ”pay-cable speech.”

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