April 12, 2003
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Hitler Miniseries Executive Fired Over His Views on Bush

By Lisa de Moraes
The Washington Post

    WASHINGTON -- No sooner does CBS tamp down criticism that its upcoming Hitler miniseries would humanize the infamous German figure than it gets hit with a much bigger Hitler headache, compliments of TV Guide.
    This time, the executive in charge of producing the miniseries has been canned.
    Ed Gernon, longtime head of the movie and miniseries division of Canadian-based production company Alliance Atlantis, was let go because of an interview he gave regarding CBS's May sweeps miniseries "Hitler: The Rise of Evil," which airs May 18 and 20.
    In the April 12 TV Guide, the publication says, "Gernon stated his belief that fear fueled both the Bush administration's adoption of a pre-emptive-strike policy and the public's acceptance of it." According to the article, "Gernon said a similar fearfulness in a devastated post-World War I Germany was 'absolutely' behind that nation's acceptance of Hitler's extremism."
    Gernon is quoted as saying of the miniseries, which tracks Hitler's rise to power in 1930s Germany: "It basically boils down to an entire nation gripped by fear, who ultimately chose to give up their civil rights and plunged the whole world into war.
    "I can't think of a better time to examine this history than now," he added.


    An advance copy of the article was given to the New York Post -- both it and TV Guide are publications of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. The newspaper's Page Six gossip column did a short bit on it last Thursday, under the heading "Rise of Lunacy at CBS."
    "The scraping sound you hear next month will be Hollywood's anti-Americanism hitting bottom with the CBS movie 'Hitler: The Rise of Evil,' " the item bellowed.
    "Gernon tells the upcoming TV Guide that he, [actress Julianna] Margulies and director Christian Duguay believe it's a good idea to look at the Bush White House through the prism of . . . Germany's genocidal psychopath."
    Thursday, the same paper's John Podhoretz got in on the act:
    "Well, the CBS television network just devoted millions of dollars and will devote four hours of prime time to a miniseries dedicated to the 'Bush Hitler' proposition.
    "In an eye-opening article published this week by TV Guide, journalist Mark Lasswell reveals that the creative team behind the upcoming docudrama 'Hitler: The Rise of Evil' believes their story is important because it might open our eyes to America's rapid descent into totalitarian terror."
    He continues:
    "When CBS first announced it was going to air this miniseries, there were substantive protests from Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors that it might humanize Hitler. CBS took those complaints seriously enough to scrap the first teleplay and commission another.
    "What they commissioned, it appears, is an act of slander against the president of the United States -- and by extension, toward the United States itself."
    So yesterday was Gernon's last day of work at Alliance Atlantis.
    We have this from a rep for the company to whom we were referred when we called to try to speak to Gernon.
    "As a matter of policy, we don't discuss any individual's employment status. We're not about to start now," Alliance Atlantis said in an e-mail to us.


Copyright 2003, The Salt Lake Tribune.
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