Nat Geo cited creative concerns about the project, but the decision was undoubtedly influenced by the sexual harassment controversy that has surrounded O’Reilly in recent months, costing him his job at Fox News after 21 years.
“It was in development for a couple of years and it was difficult project to crack creatively. Like most projects in development, it didn’t go the distance, so we passed on it,” a Nat Geo TV spokeswoman said.
A rep for O’Reilly could not immediately be reached for comment. Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions banner has produced the “Killing” series to date for Nat Geo. A Scott Free rep could not immediately be reached for comment.
Nat Geo TV has aired four titles in the “Killing” series since 2013. The movies have been consistently highly rated for the cabler, which is largely owned by Fox News parent 21st Century Fox. Given the success of the “Killing” franchise, it is likely the cabler would have kept the project in development if not for the storm of sexual harassment allegations that were brought into focus by a New York Times expose in April.
The “Killing” telepics began in 2013 with “Killing Lincoln,” followed the same year by “Killing Kennedy.” “Killing Jesus” aired in 2015, followed last year by “Killing Reagan.” The novels take a narrative thriller approach to examining historical events.
News of Nat Geo’s decision to pass on “Killing Patton” was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.