Reelz Channel has acquired TV rights to Stephen Bannon’s Sarah Palin documentary “The Undefeated” and will premiere it on March 11, just a day after HBO debuts “Game Change,” the adaptation of the best selling book chronicling the Alaska governor’s entrance into the 2008 race.
The two projects will certainly be a study in contrasts: “The Undefeated,” which had a theatrical and pay-per-view run last year, is a reverential look at Palin, from how she took on the good-old-boys club of Alaska politics to her battles against the entrenched media and Beltway establishment as she rose to national prominence. Palin attended the film’s premiere last summer in Iowa.
“Game Change” is based on the 2008 campaign tome by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, but the HBO movie focuses on the drama surrounding John McCain selection of Palin as his running mate. While it portrays her 2008 convention speech and vice presidential debate as triumphs and her defense of family and special needs children as strengths, she’s also shown as a mercurial figure way in over her head, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. Palin already has denounced the movie.
Bannon said that Reelz’s showing “will be a counterweight” to the HBO film, which he called a “fictionalized account of what happened.”
The makers of “Game Change,” director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong, have defended not only the research from the book but their own research. They said they reached out to Palin for her input, but she declined.
Stanley E. Hubbard, CEO of Reelz Channel, said that Palin “is a charismatic figure who burst
onto the political scene, and whatever your leanings, if you have any interest or curiosity
in politics, social change or the Sarah Palin phenomenon, this is a must-see movie.”
Reelz Channel stepped into the political fray last year when it acquired the miniseries “The Kennedys” from History channel, which dropped the controversial project in the face of criticism from some historians. It went on to garner 10 Emmy nominations.
Bannon, host of KABC’s nationally syndicated “Victory Sessions,” is currently at work on the documentary “Occupy Unmasked,” a conservative counter to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Citizens United Prods. is producing.