CORRECTED-NBC plans Hillary Clinton miniseries, part of TV event strategy

Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:45pm EDT

(Corrects year in paragraph 3 to 1998 from 1988)

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES, July 27 (Reuters) - NBC plans to air a four-hour miniseries starring Diane Lane as former U.S. Secretary of State and first lady Hillary Clinton, part of the broadcast TV network's strategy to improve its ratings by luring viewers to one-time event programming.

The part of Bill Clinton has not been cast, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said on Saturday at a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

The miniseries about the once, and possibly future, presidential candidate will "recount Clinton's life as a wife, mother, politician and cabinet member" from 1998 to the present, an NBC statement said.

Entitled "Hillary," it will start with Clinton living in the White House while her husband is serving his second term.

The series will likely air before candidates start jumping into the next U.S. presidential race in the spring or summer of 2015, Greenblatt said, responding to a question about whether the network would face demands for equal time from opponents.

Hillary Clinton is not involved in the series, he said, and the script is not yet written.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, had no comment.

The Clinton project and other miniseries are part of Comcast-owned NBC's effort to lift its prime-time ratings and draw live audiences to one-time events, a defense against later viewing on digital video recorders that makes programs less valuable to advertisers.

For the TV season that ended in May, NBC finished last in total viewers and third among the four big broadcasters with those in the advertiser-prized 18- to 49-year-old range, according to Nielsen.

Its two biggest ratings hits - "Sunday Night Football" and singing contest "The Voice" - draw large live audiences.

"We need to be in the event business," Greenblatt said. "I think you will hear that from every broadcast network."

NBC announced three other miniseries, including remakes of horror tales "Rosemary's Baby" and Stephen King's "Tommyknockers." It also is developing "Plymouth," a series from Mark Burnett about the Pilgrims' journey across the Atlantic and settlement in a new country.

Burnett is working on a previously announced sequel to "The Bible" for NBC. (Editing by Philip Barbara)

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