Airing coincides with Bush's 90th birthday
CNN Films will premiere “41ON41”, a profile of President George H. W. Bush funded by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and featuring 41 people who have known him best.
The two-hour film features First Lady Barbara Bush, Presidents Clinton and Obama, Vice President Dan Quayle, Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and Bush's children, among others, discussing the policies and personal experiences that shaped his life and presidency. It will debut on Father's Day, Sunday, June 15 at 9 p.m.
Three days prior to the broadcast, President Bush will celebrate his 90th birthday in Kennebunkport, Maine.
CNN previously pulled the plug on plans for a Hillary Clinton documentary after Republicans complained that it would amount to a campaign commercial for the former Secretary of State if she decides to run in 2016. Its director wrote in a Huffington Post piece that he abandoned the project because he was having so much trouble lining up interviews, in part because “Neither political party wanted the film made.”
The Clinton film, unlike this one, was not funded by supporters of its subject. While Bush is no longer an active candidate, his son, Jeb, is considered a possible candidate in 2016.
It was not immediately clear if CNN had ever previously aired a documentary funded by its subject's backers.
“41ON41” is executive produced by President Bush's former White House speechwriter, Mary Kate Cary, and Rick Kaplan, formerly of CNN and ABC News. The team also includes Nancy Stern Winters and Lisa Lax at Lookalike Productions, who produced and directed.
“CNN is extremely pleased to present the first television broadcast of '41ON41,’ which offers extraordinary insights to the man behind the powerful office, and his consequential presidency,” said Amy Entelis, senior vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide. “Viewers will learn the backstory to key historic moments in our history – and will be surprised by insights from family and friends who reveal sides of their husband, grandfather, father, and friend that only people within the inner Bush family circle ever knew.”
“The goal of this film is for the world to see President Bush through the stories of his life – one of the most significant in our modern history,” said Fred McClure, chief executive officer for the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. “It is more than a recounting of history – it is an engaging and uplifting profile of one of our greatest citizens that no American will want to miss.”
The film includes rare footage from the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and the Bush family's private video and photo collection.