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Mavericks: HBO

Alex Gibney, HBO and Discovery
June 1, 2008

Alex Gibney, HBO and Discovery share a turbulent Taxi ride
HBO and header Sheila Nevins came in like a lion after Discovery appeared to bow out like a lamb when it came to Alex Gibney’s Academy Award-winning effort Taxi to the Dark Side. The Silver Spring-based cabler held the rights to the controversial Iraq doc but put off a screening, mumbling something about previous commitments, or really needing to get serious about losing some weight. And the garden isn’t going to just weed itself, you know.

Gibney raised a stink about the ThinkFilm-handled flick, and Discovery eventually negotiated with HBO to give up the pay-TV rights for a September small screen debut – timed for the film to appear (uncut) just before the US election. Investigation Discovery has plans to follow along with a cable showing in 2009.

Perhaps it’s just a confluence of timing and events that look suspicious to the jaded and hygiene-impaired in the press corps/blogosphere, but it certainly looks as though Discovery watched this Oscar-winning pitch sail by. One nagging question remains: why touch the rights to such a politically charged doc in the first place if you have no plans to air it in the most politically charged climate in a decade? Maybe the timing was just too perfect.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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