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CNN to Air Nixon Documentary in Bid to Broaden Programs

Cable-news prexy Zucker has vowed to compete with non-fiction outlets

CNN’s newest talking head: Richard Nixon.

The Time Warner cable-news outlet said Wednesday that its U.S. network would air “Our Nixon,” a film based on footage shot by the 37th President’s closest aides.

The movie, slated to air on CNN in August, comes after its new prexy, Jeff Zucker, suggested in recent interviews that CNN is competing with networks like Discovery that air non-fiction programs and documentaries, not just traditional rivals like MSNBC and Fox News.

Our Nixon” is a feature-length film produced with rediscovered Super 8 home-movie footage from more than 500 reels of personal films shot by Nixon chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, domestic affairs adviser John Ehrlichman, and special assistant Dwight Chapin, between 1969 and 1973. Until recently, according to a press statement, the footage had been retained by the National Archives.

CNN Films acquired the film in conjunction with Cinedigm.

The home movies are complemented by subsequent archival interviews in which each Nixon aide reflects upon his relationship with the President and the others. The recollections include thoughts on White House service and, of course, the infamous Watergate scandal that helped end Nixon’s presidency. “Our Nixon” also includes rarely broadcast excerpts from nearly 4,000 hours of Nixon audiotapes.

“Our history-focused film acquisitions allow CNN to revisit key national events – and the people who shaped them – with new information and fresh perspectives. We are pleased to offer viewers very unique films, like ‘Our Nixon’ – in this case, in the year that would have been Nixon’s centennial,” said Amy Entelis, senior VP for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, in a prepared statement.

“Our Nixon” is directed by Penny Lane and co-produced by Lane and Brian Frye. The film will be released theatrically by Cinedigm.

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