THE KENNEDYS Trailer; Plus The History Channel Has Decided Not to Air the 8-Part Miniseries

     January 8, 2011

Today, straight out of left field, comes news from THR that the miniseries The Kennedys, will no longer air this spring on The History Channel. The network’s representative says, “Upon completion of the production of The Kennedys, History has decided not to air the 8-part miniseries on the network. 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.” So despite a name cast that includes Greg Kinnear (John F. Kennedy), Katie Holmes (Jackie Kennedy), Barry Pepper (Robert F. Kennedy) and Tom Wilkinson (Joe Kennedy), the series isn’t going to air on The History Channel.  More details and the trailer after the jump:

The problem seems to come from the fact that Joel Surnow, the co-creator of 24 and known conservative (he produced the Fox News’ ill-received Half Hour News Hour, the right-wing response to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report), who developed the project with writer Stephen Kronish. Apparently the left side of the political aisle and Kennedy historians had many problems with the portrayal of the Kennedy family and the historical events in which they were involved. Even further bringing controversy to the project was a New York Times story that heavily criticized an early draft of the script saying it was “vindictive” and “malicious.” However, Still, History and A&E Television Networks said at the time that the script had been revised and that the final version had been vetted by experts. So why the problem now?

Surely some right-wing political minds will think this is just an attempt by the liberal media to stifle conservatives’ voices, but I think the network is just covering their own ass. Personally, I just find it funny that the channel that airs countless programs about UFO sightings and alien conspiracies having quibbles with the dramatization of history, it seems silly for them to make this decision so late in the game. If there was ever any worry about inaccuracy in representing history, then this project should have had a different home from the beginning. Why they expected this to be as “accurate” as all of their fact-based programming is beyond me.

Coincidentally, the program will still air in Canada and other international territories. Here in the U.S. we’ll likely still end up seeing the miniseries by way of a pay cable network or something long those lines. This same controversy surrounded The Reagans, a miniseries that was slated to air on CBS, but was scrapped after threats of boycotts from advertisers. That miniseries later found a home on Showtime, and while it’s thought the same could happen with this miniseries, a History Channel rep had this to say regarding the cancellation:

“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.”

So maybe the series will end up airing on A&E instead? I guess we’ll find out later this year. In the meantime you can check out the trailer for the miniseries below. Thoughts?

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  • Infinitemonkey

    Oh bollocks, Just admit it History Channel, LOL! Its all because when you saw that Katie Holmes was such shite in portraying Jacqueline that you finally panicked! LOL! I would have done the same thing. LOL!

    Okay on a serious note, it is a tad late in the game to be doing this. What were you all thinking? You should have read the script first and approved it? LOL! Or the the conservatives behind the decision just completely forgot about reading it, yeah?

  • @infinitemonkey

    lol you’re not funny lol lame joke lol hahha lol

    • BigDickDudley

      You are an idiot. The highest sort of idiot. In other words, you are a twat!

  • Elitist Prick

    The network that brought you Monster Quest and Pawn Stars is balking at airing a miniseries because of questionable historical authenticity.


  • wtf

    So sad, that people sit in front of their pc and only laugh out loud at things they read. Nobody hardly ever rolls on the floor while doing it anymore. Unappreciative little shits.

  • anonymous

    While I am reticent to make the comparison, I think the principle is valid when I say that I doubt very highly that Shakespeare’s history plays (Henry V, Julius Cesaer etc) were slavish to historical detail. The plays take mythic characters and humanize them in ways that are both flattering and unflattering. I see the same principle at work in this mini-series. Judging only the trailer it seems as though it (like Shakespeare’s histories of western culture) takes icons of American governance and pop-culture and dramatizes their lives.
    History is not drama and drama is not history. It is the dramatist’s right to take responsible liberties with history. The History Channel seems to have lost it’s nerve in the face of a not completely flattering portrait of American royalty and pressure from the political left. Their capitulation to such pressure is unfortunate and should serve is a warning to dramatists to steer clear of their channel as a safe place for artistic expression.

  • trick

    It just doesn’t make sense, the only realistic cause for this cancellation is the execs succumbing to the the politcal leftists.. I mean, they KNEW who was producing this right? Why wait till the project is done to cancel it??

  • jonathan

    that looks really fkcing good. Finally a realistic take on the Kenney family.

  • pussy galore

    if anything, pepper should’ve played JFK..he’s got the voice.

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  • Bonnie

    Looks like those in power weighed their sword of power to supress some possible truths. It makes me want to see it even more………………….

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