But once they did, the film, airing Feb. 16, topped the network’s “must have” list.
“I have no clue why this works,” HBO’s President of Programming Michael Lombardo told the Daily News. “If someone said to me, ‘Why is this on HBO?’ I can’t say why — this isn’t a traditional documentary and this isn’t a traditional music special because there something undeniably moving and honest about it.”
Lombardo said that the film arrived at HBO nearly complete and needed only minor edits and titles added, all of which were handled by Beyoncé’s team.
Initially, he did not go out of his way to accommodate Beyoncé — after all, HBO has long been known for airing critically acclaimed documentaries and blockbuster music specials.
They receive and reject hundreds of pitches a year — many times from A-list stars.
“I knew who Beyoncé was, but I wasn’t really a fan. If you had asked me to name more than one of her songs at that point I couldn’t,” Lombardo admitted.
But as he does for most potential HBO programming candidates, he asked Beyoncé’s team to send over a copy of her film for him to preview.
They refused and instead insisted that they personally hand deliver a copy and watch it with him in HBO’s Los Angeles screening room. Read more...