Frost/Nixon 2008

Following the resignation of US President Richard Nixon, television talk show host David Frost wants to arrange a series of interviews with him to air on television.

Part of the reason Frost thinks the interviews would be compelling to both the public and the television networks is that Nixon never admitted any guilt of or offered any apology for the Watergate scandal which led to his resignation.

Nixon, with a few interview offers on the table, ultimately agrees to Frost’s proposal partly because of the high $600,000 guaranteed appearance fee, and partly because he wants to take command of such an interview to show the world that he is still presidential so that he can resurrect his political career. Nixon believes he can railroad Frost, who is better known as a pop cultural entertainment styled interviewer than an investigative political interviewer. However, Frost has every intention on these interviews being hard hitting and pointed; in addition to his producer John Birt, Frost hires two investigative reporters known for their previous exposés on Nixon: Bob Zelnick and James Reston Jr. Nixon’s chief adviser for the interviews is his current chief of staff, Jack Brennan. Prior to the interviews, ground rules are negotiated, most importantly surrounding Watergate: the total percentage of time Watergate can be discussed and the definition of what constitutes Watergate. As the four interviews progress, each side tries to manipulate the interviews to his best advantage. Behind the scenes, Frost is having difficulty with the rest of his professional life: his regular talk shows are being canceled and he has not reached anywhere near the total $2 million financing for this project. Ultimately, Frost has to finance the project with much money out of his own pocket. It isn’t until a chance telephone call that the tides turn on the interviews.



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