Washington: HBO is turning its lens on the Beltway this week with the debut of a new reality-based series about Washington lobbyists.
K Street mixes working politicians and lobbyists, including the likes of Michael Deaver, Mary Matalin, and James Carville, with a cast of actors playing lobbyists. Deaver, Matalin, and Carville are also consulting producers.
The 10-part series from executive producers George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh will grab plotlines from the headlines, and film only one week in advance in an attempt to remain as timely as possible.
For example, a 20-minute test episode shown to critics features a story that revolves around
a lobbying firm's decision on whether or not to represent Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) make cameos, and show producers say they plan on recruiting other DC insiders.
While some in the Beltway might crave their 15 minutes, the idea of having real clients appear in fictional plots makes others nervous.
Burson-Marsteller, which had a State Department contract for four years providing communications support for the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which is led by Chalabi, worries that an inaccurate portrayal could harm its clients' images.
"The line between fact and fiction is increasingly blurring, and what may be good theater could result in bad or misleading impressions," Burson's public affairs practice chairman Richard Mintz told PRWeek.
"As for our work on behalf of the INC and Chalabi," added Mintz, "it was important that the world understand that there was a credible opposition in exile [in Iraq], and we're proud of the work that we did communicating that to the world. If HBO's portrayal of that is not accurate, that will be troubling."