[Update: Check out the first trailer for The Kennedys.]
When The History Channel refused to air the long-awaited biography The Kennedys, many speculated that another cable channel would take the series instead. After being passed over by Starz, Showtime and HBO, ReelzChannel has agreed to air the miniseries starting in April.
The Kennedys is by no means a small production. The series has a rumored budget of $25 million, notable stars like Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes and Tom Wilkinson, and is directed by Jon Cassar of 24. It was a major surprise when The History Channel declined to air it last month.
The channel cited a lack of historical accuracy as a factor in their decision - a claim that's been verified by numerous historians. Even the author of one of the books cited in The Kennedys called the production "an egregious distortion of the historical record."
The reportedly negative portrayal of John F. Kennedy and his family may also have played a part in keeping the series off of the major networks. Family members like Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver have expressed their displeasure at the series, along with other players in American politics and film-making. It's unlikely that any negative view of a progressive hero like JFK would have sat well with the left-leaning Hollywood crowd, especially in the bitterly divisive political climate the United States is experiencing.
After The Kennedys was passed over by Showtime in January, Cassar complained of political influences in the decision. At a meeting of the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles, the director said that powerful people with connections to the Kennedys had kept the series off of the air.
ReelzChannel is an independent cable channel, as CEO Stan Hubbard is quick to point out. Speaking on The Kennedys, he highlighted the channel's independence in its choice to air the miniseries:
"One of the benefits of being an independent network is that you can be an independent voice and you don't have to worry about corporate pressure or political pressure... This is a project that deserves to be seen."
Though the miniseries has been snubbed by the major networks in its home country, The Kennedys will be well-distributed abroad. History Television in Canada is scheduled to show the series in March, and channels in the UK, Italy, Spain, Japan, Norway and Australia have also scheduled broadcasts.
Update: Check out the trailer for The Kennedys below:
ReelzChannel will air the first two episodes of The Kennedys on April 3rd.
Source: TV Guide