Discovery eyes Saddam

Docu to go inside Hussein's 'House'

NEW YORK — Saddam Hussein will go under the microscope of the BBC and the Discovery Channel, which have signed a deal to co-produce a four-hour docu titled “The House of Saddam.”

The program will cost more than $1 million; production is in its early stages, and Discovery’s goal is to showcase it as a big event for the fourth quarter of 2006, along the lines of “The Flight That Fought Back,” which chalked up a net-record 7 million viewers when the network ran it Sept. 11.

“We’re planning to go inside the dictator’s household to report on some never before told stories,” said Jane Root, exec VP and general manager, Discovery.

Producer-director Alex Holmes got his hands on film of some actual meetings of Saddam and his advisers in which the dictator read off the names of underlings to be executed for treason.

Docu, Root said, will present new information on Saddam’s two daughters, who had fled Iraq to get married and were lured back with promises of safety for their husbands. Saddam quickly broke his promises, ordering the murder of both men.

Discovery and the BBC will hire actors to play some of the antagonists portrayed in the docu, and Holmes will include interviews with experts on the Middle East.

Root said the program is consistent with Discovery’s plan to include a higher level of drama in the channel’s docus while making sure that everything onscreen has a factual underpinning.

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