Clooney Loves Leftist CBS: Plans New Smothers Brothers Movie

George Clooney just can't get over the glory days when CBS was a powerful disseminator of left-wing propaganda. First, he fictionalized the glories of stone-faced anchorman Edward R. Murrow fighting the red-baiters. Next up is glorifying the Smothers Brothers and their CBS comedy hour and how they "spoke truth to power" with communist musicians like Pete Seeger singing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" against the Vietnam War.

This delighted David Bianculli, longtime TV critic of the New York Daily News and a guest host of NPR's Fresh Air, who wrote the book on the wonders of Team Smothers that Clooney will glorify and fictionalize:

Clooney and [his producing partner Grant] Heslov are teaming with Sony to turn David Bianculli's 2009 book "Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour'" into a film.

Bianculli confirmed the project on his site, TV Worth Watching. He called Clooney his dream choice for the movie adaptation of his book about the Smothers and their 1967-69 variety hour series. His dream casting choice? Neil Patrick Harris as Tommy Smothers....

 "First, I'm thrilled on behalf of Tom and Dick, whose story deserves to be told and retold, and whose efforts to inject topicality into scripted TV comedy in the 1960s led very directly to the sort of thing Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher are doing today," Bianculli wrote.

"But I'm also thrilled because, when the book was still in galleys and I was asked by the film-division agent at my literacy agency to name my dream filmmaker for a Smothers Brothers movie, I said two words. One was George. The other was Clooney."

Bianculli, a TV critic and Rowan University professor, said he uses Clooney's Oscar-winning film "Good Night, and Good Luck," and live remake of "Fail Safe," in his courses.

John Nolte at Big Hollywood responded: "No doubt the story of the SmothersBrothers being subversive and censored and anti-American and against the Vietnam War will all be a large part of the film’s narrative.  Hollywood just loves to play the victim even as it applauds itself for being so courageous. This is especially true for Clooney. Did you see “Good Night and Good Luck”? Yeah, neither did anyone else."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis