With less than a week to go before the election, Michael Moore has finally landed a TV berth for Fahrenheit 9/11, Variety reports. Earlier plans fell through to air the film on the night before the election on In Demand, the nation’s largest pay-per-view service, but now, Variety reports, smaller PPV service TVN, which reaches a million homes, has agreed to show the Bush-bashing documentary on that same date, Nov. 1.
Three weeks ago, In Demand announced plans to air the documentary on the last night of the presidential race as part of a three-hour program called The Michael Moore Pre-Election Special, only to yank the show a few days later, citing ”legitimate business and legal concerns.” (In Demand may have been scared off by the antagonism that forced the Sinclair Broadcast Group to abort its plan to have dozens of its local stations show the anti-Kerry documentary Stolen Honor in its entirety, even though pay cable isn’t subject to the same federal equal-time requirements that govern the publicly owned broadcast airwaves.) Moore accused the service of caving in to pressure from ”top Republican people” and threatened a lawsuit for breach of contract, though In Demand said such legal action would be ”entirely baseless and groundless.”
The Fellowship Adventure Group, the ad hoc group put together by Miramax chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein to purchase the distribution rights to Fahrenheit after Miramax parent Disney balked at allowing any of its divisions to release the politically charged film, is also seeking satellite platforms for a Nov. 1 airing. DirecTV has already turned the film down, though a spokesman for the News Corporation-owned satellite carrier denies that the pro-Republican politics of News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch and many of his company’s divisions played any role in the decision to pass on Fahrenheit. EchoStar, however, may carry the film, with a spokeswoman noting that the satellite provider likes movies that have grossed more than $100 million at the box office. EchoStar is also showing on pay-per-view until Wednesday two low-grossing political documentaries: the pro-Bush film ”George W. Bush: Faith in the White House” and the pro-Kerry ”Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry.”