"If the Mitt Romney campaign wants to see a preview, they can certainly be in touch," the National Geographic Channel boss says of controversial Osama bin Laden thriller
National Geographic Channel's CEO David Lyle isn't interested in making excuses for the controversial new film "SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden" — because he thinks it can stand up for itself just fine as it is.
"The movie itself is its own defense; it's a perfectly straightforward dramatization of what happened," Lyle told TheWrap in an exclusive interview Wednesday. "The only effort to dispel [misperceptions] would be to show the movie."
The film, which chronicles the mission to capture terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, was originally slated for theatrical release under the title "Code Name Geronimo," but was picked up instead by the National Geographic Channel earlier this month.
The film's National Geographic premiere date — Nov. 4, just two days before the presidential election — almost immediately kicked off controversy among certain .conspiracy-minded souls, who claimed that the premiere was timed to boost President Obama's popularity.
(It probably didn't help that the film is being distributed by The Weinstein Company, whose Harvey Weinstein is a vocal Obama supporter.)
But Lyle told TheWrap that the premiere date is apolitical, and was chosen to kick off the channel's fall schedule. (The network's top-rated series "Doomsday Preppers," kicks off its new season Nov. 13, with a preview airing Nov. 4 at 10 p.m. following "SEAL Team Six".)
Lyle did allow, however, that the subject matter will likely resonate strongly with the National Geographic Channel's viewership in the coming weeks.
"The proximity of the election is not lost on us, but we think the topic of national security is of interest to our viewers at all times, especially during an election," said Lyle, who was named CEO of National Geographic Channels last August.
Lyle might have a difficult time convincing his critics — such as Brietbart.com, which accused National Geographic Channel of becoming a "pro-Obama Super PAC." But Lyle remains confident that the detractors will be proven wrong when the movie premieres.
Nonetheless, he's willing to pacify certain people's concerns beforehand if necessary.
"If the Mitt Romney campaign wants to see a preview, they can certainly be in touch," Lyle said. "They're not on my call sheet today."
Asked whether the controversy that's swelled up around the premiere of "SEAL Team Six" might actually be beneficial, Lyle admitted that the pre-premiere conversation might not be a horrible thing.
"I don't run away from it," Lyle said. "I think the subject matter and the timing will get people talking about it."
Draw your own conclusions by watching a clip from the film below.
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