EXCLUSIVE: The story of Rush Limbaugh and right-wing radio is set to be told in a feature documentary.
Fremantle’s Original Productions, Deep Cut, the company behind HBO’s The Last Cruise, and creative agency Anchor Entertainment have teamed up to produce Titans of Talk.
The doc is based on Brian Rosenwald’s book Talk Radio’s America will look at how in the 39 years since Rush Limbaugh began broadcasting, America’s conservative talk radio hosts rose to become political power brokers who ruled the GOP. It will expose the power of radio and how these larger-than-life figures were embraced by Republican politicians hoping to capitalize on their popularity and large listening base.
It will follow the twists and turns of these influential radio personalities and how conservatives were yearning for a champion that would stand up to what they perceived to be a liberal bias in the media. Beginning with Rush Limbaugh, a washed-up disc jockey without a college degree who found himself on local radio in Kansas City after multiple firings, the doc will take a look at how he became the loudest voice on the AM dial. Connecting with conservatives, Limbaugh paved the way for other hosts including Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz, Joe Getty, G. Gordon Liddy, and Sarah Palin.
But the more popular these radio personalities became, the more apparent it was that they didn’t necessarily need the politicians to begin affecting policy. These hosts were more than capable of pushing their own agenda, and even manipulating the GOP on issues like immigration reform. Additionally, they proved their ability to take over the GOP from the inside, pushing Donald Trump’s run for presidency and celebrating his outspoken, brash, and ultra-conservative values.
Titans of Talk is the latest premium documentary from Original Productions. Best known for reality series such as Deadliest Catch and Bering Sea Gold, the Fremantle-backed company has been expanding its reach in the premium space in recent years.
The company is also working with Anchor Entertainment, as well as Wavelength and The Kennedy/Marshall Company, on a feature doc about Dan Rather. That doc will take a close and personal look into Rather’s 60-year career and offer unrestricted access into his journey of becoming one of journalism’s most emphatic forces.
Original also recently produced Phat Tuesdays for Amazon. The three-part series celebrates the untold story of Black comedians at LA’s world-famous The Comedy Store in the 90’s. Elsewhere, it is also behind feature-length documentary Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles, which followed the renowned chef as he organized a food gala inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit Visitors to Versailles.
Titans of Talk is produced by Deep Cut founder James Smith, Original Productions’ Jeff Hasler and Brian Lovett, and Anchor Entertainment’s Ethan Goldman.
“Original Productions has always been about bringing the biggest, boldest personalities to light, and there simply isn’t a louder, more persuasive and polarizing group of individuals than America’s right-wing talk radio hosts,” said Hasler. “We’re confident that both sides of the political spectrum will appreciate this dynamic story of a rise to power over the airwaves.”
“When I optioned the Talk Radio’s America book, I knew right away that it would be imperative to find the right partners to help me chronicle this momentous era in history,” added Smith, Founder of Deep Cut. “We have formed a remarkable collaboration with the teams at OP and Anchor as we take a detailed look at this dominant radio format.”
“With the death of Rush Limbaugh, we were reminded yet again of the stark contrast between two Americas; the one that believed he was a tireless devotee to American freedom, and the America that will remember him as a repugnant, racist, homophobic misogynist,” said Goldman. “Whether you loved him or loathed him, there is no denying Limbaugh’s power and influence in transmuting American conservatism over the past three decades.”
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