As I suggested over the weekend, there were bigger forces at play than an dissatisfied programming chief in relation to The History Channel’s sudden expunging of “The Kennedys” mini-series from it’s line-up.
The series, starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as JFK and Jackie O, was yanked by the network at the last minute, who claimed it ‘wasn’t a fit’.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the net “was personally lobbied by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy. Caroline Kennedy has a book deal with Disney’s Hyperion publishing division, which announced in April 2010 that it will publish a collection of previously unreleased interviews with the late Jackie Kennedy timed to the 50th anniversary of the first year of JFK’s presidency this fall.
Caroline has agreed to edit the untitled book, write an introduction and to help promote it, including making an appearance on Disney/ABC’s Good Morning America, among other outlets.As part of the promotion for the book, Caroline is expected to reveal some of the 6.5 hours of previously unheard audiotapes of the former First Lady that form the basis of the book.
But that level of cooperation might have been unlikely if History had gone ahead with the Kennedys project, which was championed by AETN president and CEO Abbe Raven and History and Lifetime president and general manager Nancy Dubuc.”
Maria Shriver, also a Kennedy, had also let the powers-that-be know that she wasn’t happy about the project.
“The Kennedys”, created by Joel Surnow (“24″), will star air in Canada and other international territories.
Showtime are said to be checking out the series, with an eye to possibly picking up the U.S broadcast rights, and should have an answer next week.
So did you hear? The History Channel has pulled the highly-anticipated mini-series “The Kennedys”! Yep, the big money series starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as Mr and Mrs America! The one the “24″ guys were doing! According to the History Channel, the ambitious series was “not a fit” for the network.
Kinnear, Holmes and producer Joel Surnow (“24″) were notified of the show’s cancellation today.
“Upon completion of the production of The Kennedys, History has decided not to air the 8-part miniseries on the network,” a rep for the network tells The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. “While the film is produced and acted with the highest quality, after viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.”
The expensive series has faced speedbump after speedbump, beginning with a sharp attack from former John F. Kennedy adviser Theodore Sorenson, who told The New York Times that an early version of the script read “vindictive” and “malicious.” (This, despite the fact, that the script got the thumbs up from those that know and have studied the Kennedy legacy).
Might “The Kennedys”, dare I say, be too close to the truth? It’s only a guess… I don’t really know, but there’s definitely something shelly in this egg soup.
As I said, the script passed muster with historians (There’s a moment in the script where JFK is having sex in the pool when he’s interrupted by Secret Service. So… that happened!?) and no advertisers had registered any complaints. So who did? And what really happened? Will we ever find out… or are the authorities still rounding up a fall guy?
OK, jokes aside, couldn’t the History Channel have realized that the show wasn’t “a fit” upfront? Seems not, they allowed it to go into production, film, wrap, bubbly to spray and editors to work overtime getting it ready for a Spring airing and then they canned it. It’s all very… suss, for lack of a better word. Sure, there’s a chance that they just plain didn’t like the series, but it’d also be easy to believe that they’ve taken some heat from some guys in charcoal hats… or liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald, who kicked off a petition to get the movie shelved. He, of course, didn’t want, ahem, lies, being spread about Kennedy, in particular those that suggested he was an alcoholic and a womanizer! (Speak amongst yourselves. I’ll remain up here on the fence).
Deadline are ostensibly thinking the same thing, that some high-up chief’s depressed the red button, noting that “the Kennedy family were not comfortable with the project coming out in the year of the 50th anniversary of Camelot”.
So, yeah, it’s a ‘warts and all’ series. But does that mean it’s BS? Of course not. And ya know, I really don’t think it can damage the Kennedy name… it’s too strong.
Whatever…. I’m sure it’ll turn up on another network. What’s that poster say above Fox Mulder’s desk again?
Kinnear (“Nurse Betty”, “Sabrina”) is playing John F.Kennedy, Katie Holmes (“Batman Begins”, “Dawson’s Creek”) is Jackie Kennedy, Barry Pepper (“True Grit”) is Robert F.Kennedy, and Tom Wilkinson (“Batman Begins”) is Joe Kennedy.
Good news for those outside of America? The miniseries is still scheduled to air in Canada on March 6, and will still be broadcast internationally.
“We do not go into this with an agenda other than to be factually accurate and entertaining,” Stephen Kronish, who wrote the script, told the New York Times back in February.
“There is, for the History Channel as well as for history, the significant and compelling question of what part sex played in the conduct of our political affairs,” said media columnist Michael Wolff around the same time.
There was a similar incident a few years ago when CBS decided, at the 11th hour, to drop a mini-series on Ronald Reagan (“The Reagans”) from it’s schedule.
Showtime eventually aired “The Reagans”. It’s likely a similar net will pick up “The Kennedy’s”.
Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment, co-producers of the series, are confident it’ll find a home… sometime.
“We are proud of the work all of our talent put into the making of The Kennedys and the painstaking efforts that went into creating a drama that is compelling while rich in historic detail. Although we regret this does not fit into the History Channel’s plans, we are confident that television viewers in the United States will join viewers from around the world in having an opportunity to watch this series in the near future.”
Look forward to hearing more about this, don’t you? (And shit, great publicity for the show – – when it does air, people will flock to their television sets!)
For the record : John F.Kennedy was a great president. Yes, he may have screwed up here and there, but that – in my opinion – only makes him more human. Show us the real man, one we can relate to, not a bronzed statue.
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