Hillary Clinton’s ‘Addiction’ Revealed: Downton Abbey

Comcast DVR or TiVo — which is a tech-savvy Secretary of State to choose so she won’t miss one of her favorite TV shows?

Or maybe she could just “tape a DVD.”

Secretary (and likely Democratic presidential nominee) Hillary Clinton has already revealed she is a fan of the recently- concluded PBS period drama Downton Abbey. But how big a fan? Inquiring Wire minds wanted to know.

In our quest, we mined the WikiLeaks data dump of (unclassified) emails from her server —WikiLeaks got the emails via a Freedom of Information Act request and made them available in a searchable online database. And now we know.

“I’m addicted to Downton Abbey which runs on Sunday night and reruns on Thursday at 8 p.m.,” Clinton emailed an associate in early January 2012. “Since I missed it Sunday and will again tomorrow, so [I] was wondering if you could tape a DVD for me or see if I can get TiVo on my TV at home. I asked Marina to look into TiVo but don’t know what she found out.”

Response: “Yes! A lot of people have been talking about that show and I keep missing it as well. Will work with Marina on the TiVo/DVR. If we can’t get it by tomorrow, we’ll make sure to tape it for you.”

Clinton: “Is a DVR the same as TiVo?”

Response: “Yes the DVR does the same thing as a TiVo. The menus will look different. If you don’t like the Comcast DVR, we can always switch out for a TiVo instead.”

No word on whether Comcast or TiVo won out.

— John Eggerton

‘Wild’ Time on Embassy Row

NatGeo Wild vice president and general manager Geoff Daniels joined with Aussie Matt Wright, star of The Outback Wrangler, to launch the second season of the wildlife series with a reception at the Washington, D.C., residence of Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey. [Bundaberg makes great ginger beer, btw.]

The Wire was there and chatted up the ambassador, who diplomatically sidestepped comment on the current political climate, though another attendee from Down Under was hoping this was not the kind of democracy the U.S. was exporting abroad. Ouch, mate!

As for the evening’s focus — the wrangler of potentially deadly crocs — Daniels said the show’s mission was to encourage respect for the planet and all the animals on it. He suggested the killers, like crocs, arguably needed champions more than the cuddly critters.

Daniels called the series “ripping great TV,” though “ripping” is clearly something Wright tries to avoid.

Ambassador Hockey pointed out that he had brought a cat from home to the United States— he just took over the post in January — noting that it was the one that had not been eaten by a python. Double ouch, your excellency!

— John Eggerton

All Nations Network Seeks Native Niche on U.S. TV Lineups

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network launched in Canada 16 years ago on pay TV systems via a government mandate. Many tagged it as a social experiment, APTN chief operating officer Sky Bridges says. Now, top shows on the network such as reservation drama Blackstone and reality series Mohawk Girls win prizes at festivals including the Alberta Film and Television Awards.

Bridges and company hope that a U.S. version, dubbed All Nations Network, will find a place on pay TV lineups this year based on that track record (300-plus awards overall) and factors including heightened interest in native peoples (think of Leonardo DiCaprio’s “First Nations” shout-out at the Golden Globes) and in themes like regenerating the earth.

“There are over 200 television channels in the U.S. that fall into the multicultural programming arena, and not one is native,” Bridges told The Wire. “We feel that the large native friendly audience in the U.S. has real growth potential, as witnessed by our ratings success in Canada with not only native but non-native viewers.” Some 89% of the Canadian channel’s viewing audience is non-native, APTN says.

Bridges and Castalia Communications SVP Bob Watson, handling the distribution side, have been pitching ANN to U.S. distributors as a 24-hour network with news, sports and kids’ fare in addition to the primetime originals, with more meetings planned at INTX. So far, distributors have said it’s “unique” and “worthwhile,” Watson said.

The initial U.S. target audience is 5.2 million Native Americans, per the census, and 11 million who claim native ancestry, Bridges said.

— Kent Gibbons