Some things in America never change: Don’t cross the Kennedys.
The History Channel unexpectedly announced a few days ago that it was pulling the plug on its controversial new miniseries on the Kennedy family, starring Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear — a multi-million dollar project that was the most expensive in the channel’s history.
The 8-part miniseries, originally set to air this spring, was the project of 24 co-creator — and well-known conservative — Joel Surnow.
None of History’s advertisers or sponsors had complained about the miniseries, and the channel only offered this explanation: “After viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.”
This raised more than a few eyebrows.
A source told The Hollywood Reporter that the real reason behind the pull was that the Kennedy family, including Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy. and Maria Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, lobbied hard to kill the miniseries, using their close ties in the entertainment industry.
Apparently parties close to the Kennedys had been against the project since it was announced, with former JFK advisor Theodore Sorensen calling an early version of the script “vindictive” and “malicious.”
But it’s not just the History channel: the miniseries was then shopped to Showtime, purportedly because Surnow has close ties with executive David Nevins, who worked with him on 24.
But Showtime has now also rejected it, with an explanation that sounds a lot like the History Channel’s: “‘The Kennedys’ is well acted, well produced and a quality miniseries, [but] it doesn’t fit the Showtime brand.”
So whose brand does this allegedly conservative, “malicious” show fit, exactly? Apparently one that exists outside the U.S.: The miniseries is still scheduled to air in Canada on March 6, and will be broadcast internationally.
We’ll see if a U.S. network is brave enough to stand up to the Kennedy family before then.
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