'The Kennedys' miniseries: Who will buy?
Image Credit: Splash NewsNow that The History Channel has opted not to broadcast the eight-part miniseries The Kennedys, the rumor mill was on overdrive Monday that producer Muse Entertainment was working to secure a new home for the controversial project. Indeed, the Canadian-based Muse executive told the New York Times today that “there has been interest expressed by several networks,” but he declined to name them.
That said, you can count HBO out. The network already has a Kennedy project in development from Playtone and Bill Paxton; it’s an adaptation of Vincent Bugliosi’s tome Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Besides, it seems unlikely the network would want to pick up someone’s sloppy seconds, no matter how high-profile The Kennedys — which stars Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Barry Pepper and Tom Wilkinson and was developed by 24’s Joel Surnow — is now. Starz hasn’t been approached, and it would be wrong to assume that History would try to hand off the project to one of its sister nets. Though History has shared programming before with other nets under the A&E Networks banner (Lifetime, for example, runs repeats of the hit Pawn Stars), it can’t do that with The Kennedys because it doesn’t own it.
Showtime was also among the nets being speculated about on Monday. While the network’s spokesman told EW that they had yet to receive the viewing material, Showtime does seem like a plausible fit for The Kennedys. And the network has a history of airing controversial TV movies: In 2003, it ran The Reagans after CBS dropped the project due to concerns over the portrayal of the 40th President. (Of course, The Reagans ended up being a huge thorn in the side of CBS honcho Leslie Moonves, who took heat from both Republicans and Democrats for airing the project.) All we know for sure right now is that The Kennedys will air in Canada on March 6, and it also has been sold internationally.
In an interesting development, Muse and Asylum Entertainment, the other production company on the project, brought on the Los Angeles-based crisis management firm Sitrick and Co. to help with press inquiries. The firm released this statement on their behalf: “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 TV viewers in the United States will join viewers from around the world in having an opportunity to watch this series in the near future.”
Meanwhile, anyone looking for a Kennedy fix in light of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration can tune into TLC on Jan. 30 to watch Kennedys’ Home Movies, a two-hour special narrated by Stockard Channing and featuring home movies and rare footage.