The FOX News film that was in production over at HBO has been cancelled by the picture's producers, citing a conflict of interest. HBO has ties to CNN, as they're both owned by the folks over at Time Warner, which made crafting such a movie a bit inappropriate. Given HBO's history of producing controversial, hard-hitting documentaries that don't pull punches, seeing their take on the rise of FOX News would have been entertaining.
HBO Films President Len Amato recently spoke with the film industry news site Deadline, confirming that the project is currently dead in the water. "We recently decided not to pursue the Ailes project," Amato explained. "It had become clear to us before even receiving a script that due to our company’s CNN affiliation the film could never be seen as objective."
The script, which was based on an upcoming book by author Gabriel Sherman, is rumored to have put a focus on Roger Ailes, the man hired by Rupert Murdoch to create the FOX News Channel in 1996. According to a source close to the production, the movie would have attempted to tackle the subject by setting its sites on Ailes. Reports suggest that the screenplay was written in such a way that FOX News would have looked more like the mafia than a news organization. This may explain why HBO was hesitant to put this documentary into production.
On Thursday, Deadline also confirmed that none of the dealmakers had been notified of the project's cancellation. I'm sure they were thrilled to learn of the production's recent turn of events by reading a news article online. However, according to HBO, very little work had been done on the film, so maybe it's not so bad after all.