FROM THE NYTIMES ARTICLE ON MEL GIBSON:
Buried in the article on Mel Gibson’s movie was what
the people at Disney/ABC had to say about Mel Gibson and his Holocaust show:

But Quinn Taylor, ABC’s senior vice president in charge of movies for television, acknowledged that the attention-getting value of having Mr. Gibson attached to a Holocaust project was a factor.

“Controversy’s publicity, and vice versa,” Mr. Taylor said.

ABC brought in Mr. Gibson’s company, Con Artists Productions, after an independent producer, Daniel Sladek, pitched the network on Ms. Van Beek’s story. With her husband, Felix, Ms. Van Beek survived the sinking of a passenger ship by a German mine, followed by three years in hiding during the German occupation of Holland, before emigrating to the United States in 1948.

The network chose Mr. Gibson’s company when it learned of Ms. Van Beek’s tale shortly after ABC had rejected a separate pitch by Con Artists’ president, Nancy Cotton, for another Holocaust-related subject, Mr. Taylor said.

“This has the middle, the love story, that the other one didn’t have,” he explained.

Mr. Sladek said ABC’s calculation in engaging Mr. Gibson was to win the largest possible audience. “I think that what ABC wants out of this is to build the biggest billboard imaginable in order to get everyone logically interested to tune in and watch…”