Nothing political in "Seal Team Six" film timing, TV chief says

Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:16pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A TV executive on Wednesday rejected claims that there was a political motive behind a decision to broadcast a movie about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden just two days before the presidential election.

"Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden" will be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel on November 4. The action feature film is one of two movies about the 2011 raid by U.S. special forces that resulted in the death of the al Qaeda leader - considered one of the triumphs of President Barack Obama's term in office.

Obama faces Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the November 6 election.

"The proximity to the election is not lost on us but we think the topic of Seal Team Six, and generally the CIA and national security, is of interest to our viewers," David Lyle, chief executive of National Geographic Channel, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"Much has been made of the timing but we think that the show speaks for itself. It's really about the Seal Team and the hunt (for bin Laden) and the final outcome. If anyone sees a preview they will realize that the political side is very slight indeed," Lyle said.

Political website has accused National Geographic Channel of using the broadcast of the film as "a two-hour pro-Obama campaign advertisement."

Lyle, who is Australian, noted that the film was produced and financed by Frenchman Nicolas Charter. It is being distributed by The Weinstein Company, whose co-chairman Harvey Weinstein is a prominent supporter of Obama.

"His (Weinstein's) connections have had people looking for other things in the movie, which in the end is an edge-of-your- seat thriller," Lyle said. "I'm not a voter in this election," he added.

Lyle said he would be happy to show the movie to both the Obama and Romney campaigns but neither had asked to see it.   Continued...