October 16 - NEW YORK - A cable pay-per-view company has decided not to show a three-hour election eve special with filmmaker Michael Moore that included a showing of his documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11," which is sharply critical of President Bush.
The company, iN DEMAND, said Friday that its decision is due to "legitimate business and legal concerns." A spokesman would not elaborate.
Moore has just released his movie on DVD and was seeking a TV outlet for the film.
Earlier this week, trade publications said Moore was close to a deal with iN DEMAND for "The Michael Moore Pre-Election Special," which also would include interviews with politically active celebrities and admonitions to vote. The Nov. 1 special was to be available for $9.95.
Moore said Friday he signed a contract with the company in early September and is considering legal action. He said he believes iN DEMAND decided not to air the film because of pressure from "top Republican people."
"Apparently people have put pressure on them and they've broken a contract," Moore told The Associated Press.
"We've informed them of their legal responsibility and we all informed them that every corporate executive that has attempted to prohibit Americans from seeing this film has failed," Moore said. "There's been one struggle or another over this, but we've always come out on top because you can't tell Americans they can't watch this."
The New York-based iN DEMAND, owned by the Time Warner, Cox and Comcast cable companies, makes pay-per-view programming available in 28 million homes, or about one-quarter of the nation's homes with television.
In a statement, iN DEMAND said any legal action Moore might take against the company would be "entirely baseless and groundless."
This spring, Moore did battle with the Walt Disney Co., which refused to release "Fahrenheit 9/11" through its Miramax Films because it was too politically partisan for the company's taste.
Moore found other distributors. The movie, which attacks Bush's handling of the war on terrorists and war in Iraq and the Bush family's ties to Saudi royalty, earned more than $100 million at the box office.
In an interview with a Maine television station that aired this week, former President George H.W. Bush called Moore a "slimeball" and an expletive.
Also Friday, Moore offered to let Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. air the movie for free. Such a deal would likely get a chilly reception at Sinclair, a broadcaster with a reputation for conservative politics that plans to air a critical documentary about John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activities on dozens of TV stations two weeks before the election.