History Channel pulls the plug on 'The Kennedys'

Thomas Lifson
It is hard to avoid deep suspicion that political pressure has been brought to bear on The History Channel to cancel broadcast of the multi-million dollar 8 part miniseries, "The Kennedys." An exclusive report in The Hollywood Reporter contains precisely the sort of language one might use if trying to avoid saying the obvious -- that the Kennedy clan retains powerful showbiz and political clout that could make life very uncomfortable for those damaging the Camelot myths.

"Upon completion of the production ofThe 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." 

A network that features programs on pawn shops, ice road truckers, and space alien encounters suddenly decides, after spending millions of dollars, that the product doesn't fit the brand? C'mon. THR notes that the series producer Joel Surnow (who did 24) is regarded as a conservative, and that:

Developed by Joel Surnow, the conservative co-creator of 24, along with production companies Asylum Entertainment and Muse Entertainment and writer Stephen Kronish, the project drew fire from the political left and some Kennedy historians. Even before cameras rolled, a front-page New York Times story last February included a sharp attack from former John F. Kennedy adviser Theodore Sorenson, who called an early version of the script "vindictive" and "malicious."

History and parent A&E said at the time that the script had been revised and that the final version had been vetted by experts. Indeed, the script used in production had passed muster with History historians for accuracy. [snip]

No advertisers had registered complaints or concerns with the miniseries, confirms an A&E spokesperson, but the content was not considered historically accurate enough for the network's rigorous standards. So an air date, which had not been announced but was planned for spring, was scrapped.

The series had a fairly big name cast, with Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes (Mrs. Tom Cruise) as Jackie O.

One has to wonder if the miniseries told the truth about JFK (and RFK) and their many trysts with gangster molls, movies stars, and random attractive women who came their way. Both men, like their father Joseph Kennedy, were extremely promiscuous despite their heavy responsibilites to the nation. Theodore Sorenson never showed any sign of being concerned with the truth reaching the public about the many seamy sides of the Kennedys.

The miniseries will be broadcast in Canada and other international markets, but so far there are no plans to show it in the United States. Isn't that odd? Will News Corp's Fox or FX networks step up an d puorchase rights? Will those rights be for sale?

At the moment, there are more questions than answers. But for now we do know that the American public is being denied access to apparently unflattering information on the Kennedys.

Hat tip: Hot Air
It is hard to avoid deep suspicion that political pressure has been brought to bear on The History Channel to cancel broadcast of the multi-million dollar 8 part miniseries, "The Kennedys." An exclusive report in The Hollywood Reporter contains precisely the sort of language one might use if trying to avoid saying the obvious -- that the Kennedy clan retains powerful showbiz and political clout that could make life very uncomfortable for those damaging the Camelot myths.

"Upon completion of the production ofThe 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." 

A network that features programs on pawn shops, ice road truckers, and space alien encounters suddenly decides, after spending millions of dollars, that the product doesn't fit the brand? C'mon. THR notes that the series producer Joel Surnow (who did 24) is regarded as a conservative, and that:

Developed by Joel Surnow, the conservative co-creator of 24, along with production companies Asylum Entertainment and Muse Entertainment and writer Stephen Kronish, the project drew fire from the political left and some Kennedy historians. Even before cameras rolled, a front-page New York Times story last February included a sharp attack from former John F. Kennedy adviser Theodore Sorenson, who called an early version of the script "vindictive" and "malicious."

History and parent A&E said at the time that the script had been revised and that the final version had been vetted by experts. Indeed, the script used in production had passed muster with History historians for accuracy. [snip]

No advertisers had registered complaints or concerns with the miniseries, confirms an A&E spokesperson, but the content was not considered historically accurate enough for the network's rigorous standards. So an air date, which had not been announced but was planned for spring, was scrapped.

The series had a fairly big name cast, with Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes (Mrs. Tom Cruise) as Jackie O.

One has to wonder if the miniseries told the truth about JFK (and RFK) and their many trysts with gangster molls, movies stars, and random attractive women who came their way. Both men, like their father Joseph Kennedy, were extremely promiscuous despite their heavy responsibilites to the nation. Theodore Sorenson never showed any sign of being concerned with the truth reaching the public about the many seamy sides of the Kennedys.

The miniseries will be broadcast in Canada and other international markets, but so far there are no plans to show it in the United States. Isn't that odd? Will News Corp's Fox or FX networks step up an d puorchase rights? Will those rights be for sale?

At the moment, there are more questions than answers. But for now we do know that the American public is being denied access to apparently unflattering information on the Kennedys.

Hat tip: Hot Air