NBC says that movie-maker The Weinstein Company submitted ads for review but never bought any time on the network for spots promoting its documentary, Shut Up & Sing.
The film follows the Dixie Chicks from their peak of popularity to the criticism of President Bush that led to "political attacks and death threats," according to The Weinstein Company .
"While a spot was submitted to our broadcast standards and practices department for review and was rejected because it violated our policy of not broadcasting ads that deal with issues of public controversy," said an NBC spokeswoman, "The Weinstein Company did not make a national media buy for Shut Up & Sing, nor did anyone at the company inquire about buying time on the network."
The way the process usually works, according to someone familiar with network standards and practices, is that the buy is made, the spot submitted, and if there are problems, standards and practices relays its issues to the buyer, with the ad sales department often getting in on the act to help find a compromise that passes muster so they can preserve the sale. NBC says there had been no sale, and was apparently caught by surprise at the Weinstein release.
The spots became an issue Friday after The Weinstein Co. reportedly put out a release late Thursday saying NBC had rejected the spot because it was critical of the President. The film opens wide next month.