Sunday, Oct. 12, marks ten years since the murder of college student Matthew Shepard. Six years ago, two television films were made to dramatize the anti-gay hate crime, but a well-publicized turf war broke out when NBC scheduled their film to air opposite one airing on HBO.
HBO had highly promoted The Laramie Project, adapted from the off-Broadway play of the same name, to air on March 16 of that year but were caught off-guard when NBC announced they would air their version of the story the same night.
"For whatever reason, they either wanted to damage our film at the cost of their film -- which is a $3 million torpedo -- or they didn't have a lot of confidence in their film," Chris Albrecht, HBO's then-president of original programming, told The New York Times.
While NBC claimed the scheduling gaffe “was a total coincidence,” HBO blinked and rushed their film to air a week earlier. Both films would go on to be nominated for GLAAD Media Awards with The Laramie Project taking the prize.
A generation has grown up unaware of the story of Matthew Shepard. This Sunday, set your DVR or gather the family around to watch two incredible stories about the life and senseless death of a young man that brought issues of anti-gay discrimination and violence to an international audience.
The Matthew Shepard Story
Sunday, Oct. 12; 12pm ET/9am PT, Lifetime Movie Network
The Laramie Project
Sunday, Oct. 12; 10:15 pm, HBO Signature West, 7:15 pm HBO Signature East