The first-run screening on the FX channel had 265,000 views the same day, but it was also accessible on Hulu the same day. In the United Kingdom, its debut broadcast on the then-month-old channel Sky Documentaries averaged over 200,000 viewers, more than double the station's previous viewing record. The premiere on the Nine Network in Australia received 484,000 unique viewers, making it the ninth most viewed television show of the day. In 2021, it was one of Hulu's most popular originals.
What Will You see in Framing Britney Spears?
Britney Spears, who has a net worth of $59 million and is 39 years old, has been legally under her father Jamie Spears' custody since 2008. Throughout her three decades in show industry, Framing Britney Spears revisits the singer's career, ascent to popularity, and personal challenges.
Jamie Spears is described as distant from his daughter's life and intensely financially driven by former Jive Records marketing executive Kim Kaiman, who helped create Spears' image after she got a singing contract. “The only thing Jamie ever said to me was, ‘My daughter is going to be so rich, she's going to buy me a yacht,'” says Kaiman.
At various points, interviewers and paparazzi are seen asking Spears sexist and disturbing questions. “You seem to get upset when a talkshow presenter brings up this issue,” Ivo Niehe, then 53, asked a 17-year-old Spears about her breasts and her opinions on breast implants, adding, “You seem to get irate when a talkshow host brings up this subject.” Diane Sawyer accused Spears of mistreating Justin Timberlake, bringing Spears to tears, and “upsetting a lot of moms in this nation” with her explicit music videos in an interview following their split.
Timberlake allegedly used his breakup with Spears as a weapon in the “Cry Me a River” music video, in which the song's unfaithful girlfriend was portrayed as Spears, and in an interview in which he enthusiastically claims he has had sex with her (contrary to Spears's claim that she was waiting until marriage), according to the film.
Spears' breakdown in 2007 is also explored in the film, which includes an interview with paparazzo Daniel “Dano” Ramos, who caught Spears hitting his car with an umbrella minutes after ex-husband Kevin Federline refused her visitation rights to her children.
“She never offered us a hint or information indicating, ‘I don't appreciate you people, leave me alone,'” Ramos recalls, prompting the filmmaker to inquire, “What about when she said, ‘Leave me alone?'” Spears was said to be suffering from postpartum depression at the time of the incident. The paparazzi's intrusive behaviours are presented as aggravating her illness.
Things You Didn't Know About Britney Spears
- Spears told Rolling Stone in 1999 that she began singing into a hairbrush when she was two years old, but she made her true debut at her kindergarten graduation, singing “What Child Is This.” When she was six years old, she won her first talent show. She told the outlet, “I figured out what I'm intended to do at a young age.”
- Spears played alongside Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, Justin Timberlake, and JC Chasez in the Disney Channel series “The All New Mickey Mouse Club.” However, she was first turned down for the show due to her age. At her first audition, she was eight years old, and the casting directors advised her to continue learning acting, singing, and dancing.
- In 1993, she made a spectacular comeback to the adolescent variety program. According to a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone, she acted in TV advertisements, participated on “Star Search,” and spent three summers at New York's Professional Performing Arts School.
- Spears won an understudy part in the off-Broadway musical “Ruthless!” just before her big break on “The All New Mickey Mouse Club.” Joel Paley, the show's writer and lyricist, told The New York Post in 2014 about meeting Spears, who stepped in as Laura Bell Bundy's understudy.
- “We thought to ourselves, ‘We'll never find another [female] – we're truly screwed,'” Paley said. “That's when we came upon Britney Spears.” The 10-year-old, who had “singing, dancing, acting, confidence and a lovely mother,” stayed on for eight months until being replaced by actress Natalie Portman.
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The documentary aired as part of The New York Times Presents on FX and FX on Hulu on February 5, 2021. A probate court dismissed Jamie's objections to the co-conservatorship arrangement shortly after the documentary aired. The documentary received critical praise and broad worldwide media attention, helping to raise public awareness of the conservatorship issue and a rethinking of the media's sexist portrayal of Spears. The documentary won the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information, as well as two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special at the 73rd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.