Sarah Palin documentary debut not a political move, says ReelzChannel

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11: Former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, on February 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Thousands of conservative activists are attending the three day annual gathering in the nation's capital. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson
Sarah Palin addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 11, 2012, in Washington, DC.

(CBS/AP) The ReelzChannel television network says it scheduled a pro-Sarah Palin documentary on the same weekend as HBO's "Game Change" debut strictly for business considerations, not political ones.

"The Undefeated," a Palin documentary by conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon, will have its television premiere on Sunday. It will come 23 hours after HBO opens "Game Change," based on the 2008 campaign book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, and starring Julianne Moore as Palin.

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Stan Hubbard, ReelzChannel CEO, said he licensed "The Undefeated" for the same reason that his network aired "The Kennedys" miniseries last spring after it was dropped by the History channel - to draw attention to a nearly 6-year-old network with a low public profile. ReelzChannel is in 62 million homes, a little more than half the country.

"For a young network, public relations is important to us, which is why we hunt for opportunistic things," Hubbard said.

According to the Hollywood Reporter,  Bannon said, "We are incredibly excited that ReelzChannel has made the courageous decision to present the network television premiere on the same weekend as the fictionalized hit-piece by HBO."

Hubbard said he found the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate a fascinating figure, but he wasn't trying to lionize her.

"If HBO wanted to swap movies this weekend, I'd do that in a second," he said.

Palin supporters have attacked "Game Change," although it's unclear whether any of them has seen it in advance.

Since ReelzChannel announced last month that it would air "The Undefeated," Hubbard said he's gotten about an equal number of letters from people thanking him for the decision or saying they'd never watch ReelzChannel again.

"When you say 'Sarah Palin,' nobody sort of shrugs," he said. "Everybody loves her or hates her. There's no middle ground. She's so relevant because she's so intriguing."

He said he would not have sought out "The Undefeated" if Palin were seeking the presidency now, because then the argument that showing it was a political statement would hold more water.

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