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History Channel Won't Show Katie Holmes Miniseries The Kennedys

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
History Channel Won't Show Katie Holmes Miniseries The Kennedys | Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes on the set of The Kennedys

Splash News Online

Who says you can't change history?

The ambitious eight-part miniseries The Kennedys, starring Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear, will no longer be shown on the History Channel in the United States this spring.

“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," a network rep tells The Hollywood Reporter.

The miniseries, to have been broadcast in the spring with Holmes as Jacqueline Kennedy and Kinnear as John F. Kennedy, had been criticized by liberal politicians and Kennedy historians based on an early version of the script. The cable channel had said the script was changed and approved by network historians.

The Kennedys is still set to be broadcast internationally, according to The Hollywood Reporter.


How Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver Helped Kill 'Kennedys' Miniseries

Pressure from the Kennedy family played a big role in History's decision to yank the mini from its schedule, as first reported by THR.

Pressure from the Kennedy family played a key role in the History channel's decision to pull the plug on its controversial miniseries The Kennedys.

As The Hollywood Reporter first reported, the eight-part miniseries, starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes and masterminded by conservative 24 co-creator Joel Surnow, was abruptly yanked from the History schedule Jan. 7 before a planned airdate in the spring. In a statement to THR, a rep for History parent A&E Television Networks said that "after viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand."

None of History's advertisers or sponsors complained about the miniseries. But behind the scenes, members of the Kennedy family strongly lobbied AETN to kill the project since it was announced in December 2009, according to a source close to the situation. In recent weeks, those efforts intensified.

AETN is owned by a consortium including the Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal and Hearst. The source said that Disney/ABC Television Group topper Anne Sweeney, who serves on the AETN board and is said to hold tremendous sway over its decisions, 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.

Kennedy scion Maria Shriver also has close ties to NBC Universal, where she worked for years as an employee in its news division. She is said to have voiced her displeasure with the project to outgoing NBCU execs Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin. Gaspin serves on the AETN board, as does Scott Sassa for Hearst.

Shriver also is a friend of Sweeney, who serves on the board of the Special Olympics, founded by Shriver's mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Sweeney and Shriver both attend the same church in the Los Angeles area, and a source said Shriver criticized the Kennedysproject to Sweeney after a leaked early script was attacked in the New York Timesas "vindictive" and "malicious" by a former JFK aide (though the final shooting script is said to have been vetted for accuracy by History's in-house historians).

A rep for Sweeney referred THR to the AETN statement. AETN declined to comment further.

The Kennedys is still scheduled to be broadcast in Canada on March 6 and will air in foreign countries as well. AETN has allowed producers Asylum Entertainment and Muse Entertainment to shop the miniseries to another U.S. network. Producers have targeted Showtime, which in 2003 broadcast the controversial presidential project The Reagansafter CBS refused to air it.

Showtime topper David Nevins, who worked on 24 when he ran Imagine Television and is close with Surnow, is said to be watching the miniseries this weekend.



post #2 of 13

Jesus...I would have totally skipped this if it had aired, as intended, on the History Channel.  Now I actually want to see the damned thing. 

post #3 of 13

I'm a die-hard Liberal, but I have to agree that this seems to have been killed by the Kennedy family and not because of potential inaccuracies.  The History Channel hasn't really been a bastion of educational and informative television in quite some time.  The project would have never gotten this far had The History Channel had true issues with the content.


That said: eh.  Who cares?  It's a TV miniseries.  There have been so many about the Kennedys already that I doubt this would have been so incredibly mindblowing as to change anyone's opinions of JFK or Jackie, whether for good or ill.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 


Yes Larry the Cable guy deserves his entirely own series on History. 

post #5 of 13

I thought the idea was poor to begin with, but now I'm curious. The trailer has Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper, and the music from The Thin Red Line. It kinda sold me. I imagine it'll get picked up by FX or TNT. Heck if it's really good, maybe HBO will want it. :D

post #6 of 13

I don't know how inaccurate it would have to be for History Channel to just drop it, if that was the reason.


But "after viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand" ??? What a load of bullshit. And shows about truckers and lumberjacks are? And weekly documentaries about fucking Nostradamus and Von Daniken's aliens bullshit are? Fuck off.

post #7 of 13

Originally Posted by dida View Post

masterminded by conservative 24 co-creator Joel Surnow


LOL. If nothing else this miniseries probably has some great comedy value, like when Jack Bauer gave Janeane Garofalo a harsh verbal chewing out, and a million Dittoheads creamed their (likely already soiled) pants.

post #8 of 13

LISA: See you in heaven!

JFK: Yes, er, uh, heaven. (Disappears in a puff of sulphur)


Countdown to cries of "Liberal media repression!" Despite the fact that Kennedy wasn't particularly liberal.

post #9 of 13

Yeah this is some soapy BS, from the minds of people who are obviously not fans of the family. Speaking of, you can definitely feel the 24 linkage- Tom Wilkinson especially is pretty funny as Papa Joe Kennedy: the season nine villain we never had (would have been serious competition for Jon "Season Seven" Voight)

post #10 of 13

Meh, definitely not anywhere near great, but I like Pepper's performance and anything with Wilkinson isn't all bad, so I'll keep the DVR set and watch these at my leisure.

post #11 of 13

Greg Kinnear does look a lot like JFK, I'll give it that much. I just couldn't stop thinking he could be used better in something else. American Tabloid miniseries on HBO please.




post #12 of 13

"Not a fit for the History brand?" I guess this mini-series doesn't contain anything about Hitler's teleportation devices, Jesus' end of the world prophecies, or any scenes of people dramatically logging.

post #13 of 13

This is a must if you want to see some very good actors giving career worst performances, or if you want a comically melodramatic telling of this story that feels like it takes place in the 24 universe. Prosthetic nose/overbite Barry Pepper is the only one who comes out of this not smelling completely like shit, although even he can't save the Marilyn Seduces Bobby scenes (which are some of the best for unintentional funnies)

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