CBS gives in to pressure, pulls "The Reagans"

By Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Barraged by accusations from conservatives that it was distorting the legacy of a president, CBS announced Tuesday it was pulling "The Reagans" miniseries off the air.

The network said it was licensing the completed film to Showtime, a pay cable network that, like CBS, is owned by Viacom.

CBS insisted it was not bowing to pressure about portions of the script, but that the decision was made after seeing the finished film.

"Although the miniseries features impressive production values and acting performances, and although the producers have sources to verify each scene in the script, we believe it does not present a balanced portrayal of the Reagans for CBS and its audience," the network said in a statement.

As a broadcast network, CBS has different standards than a pay cable network, CBS said. Supporters of the former president, who has Alzheimer's disease, are concerned the miniseries contained numerous inaccuracies. The conservative Media Research Center had asked major advertisers to review the script and consider not buying commercial time on the show.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee also told CBS President Leslie Moonves that historians should review the miniseries for historical accuracy, or that a disclaimer should be run declaring the program fiction.

There was been a concern, after part of the script was published in The New York Times last month, that Reagan was portrayed as being uncaring and judgmental toward people suffering with AIDS.

The former president's son, Michael Reagan, told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday that he wanted CBS to "show Ronald Reagan for what he is."

"What they've done is try and strip the heart of Reagan away," he said. "The great thing about my father is his big heart."

"The Reagans" had been considered a major cog in CBS' November sweeps programming. It had been scheduled to air on Nov. 16, a Sunday - television's most-watched night of the week.