Turner has halted its long-gestating plans to revive Michael Moore’s landmark series “TV Nation.” The show, first announced in 2017 as a series order, had been pushed back several times but never received an official premiere date.
Moore had hoped to get “Michael Moore’s TV Nation” on the air this past October, in time for the midterm elections. TBS had even released a teaser promo for the show this summer, but has been quiet about “TV Nation” ever since. The show doesn’t appear on its website.
According to insiders, the decision to scrap “TV Nation” came due to Moore’s commitments to other projects, leaving him with little time to focus on the TBS show. “TV Nation” was originally set to be Moore’s first regular TV series since “The Awful Truth” went off the air in 2000. It was originally greenlighted in 2017 as “Live from the Apocalypse” and developed for TNT. As “Live from the Apocalypse,” Moore’s series was set to premiere in fall 2017, and then in early 2018.
Both of those dates came and went without the show, and as Moore worked on his most recent film, “Fahrenheit 11/9” (which was released in September). At its May upfronts presentation, Turner announced that “Live from the Apocalypse” would move to TBS and now be named “TV Nation,” which was also the title of the satirical news magazine that Moore created at NBC in 1994.
The original “TV Nation” earned Moore a Primetime Emmy — the first-ever for a non-fiction series. Kevin Reilly, now president of TNT and TBS (and chief creative officer of Turner Entertainment), worked on “TV Nation” as an executive at NBC in the 1990s.
“Michael and I have always had a great relationship and I think it will look very similar, with the point of view and correspondents and Michael at the center of it,” Reilly said in 2017. “It’s not an exact reboot. But I was so happy when he called me up and said, ‘I have an idea for you.’ I said ‘sold’ without even knowing what it was.”
Moore told us in May that the “Live from the Apocalypse” title was changed after he and the network realized that they wanted the show to outlast the Donald Trump presidency. ” We’re going to outlive the apocalypse, right? Think of this as the first post-Trump show while Trump is still in office,” he said.
Turner was able to grab the “TV Nation” title in a swap with Sony, which owned the title’s trademark. Also, “TV Nation” was moved to TBS because execs felt it fit better there, particularly alongside series like “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”
Development on the show evolved as the Trump presidency evolved, Moore added in May. “Am I the same person I was a year or two ago? No, I’m not,” he said at the time. Many Americans, he said, now feel “anxiety, despair and [are] wishing Melania can come up with an idea. If you get my drift.”
The new “TV Nation” was being developed with a group of correspondents working with Moore on interviews and pre-tape packages. As originally announced, Turner promised that the “Bowling for Columbine” filmmaker would cover targets such as Washington politics and Wall Street. Moore was supposed to both direct and star in the series, as well as executive-produce with frequent collaborator and Oscar nominee Meghan O’Hara (“SiCKO”).
(Pictured: Michael Moore at the 2018 Turner upfront presentation in New York.)