No Profile in Courage Here: History Channel Yanks Multimillion Dollar 8-Part 'The Kennedys.' The Miniseries, Now Complete, Was Expected To Air This Spring. Stars Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes and Producer Joel Surnow (Co-Creator of '24') Were All Told Today THR, NY Times' ArtsBeat blog
The History Channel has not decided to air its multimillion dollar, 8-part miniseries "The Kennedys," The Hollywood Reporter's Matthew Balloni found out exclusively today.
According to the article, " 'Upon completion of the production of 'The 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.' The multi-million dollar project—History and Lifetime president and general manager Nancy Dubuc's first scripted miniseries at the network and its most expensive program ever—has been embroiled in controversy since it was announced in December 2009."
The New York Tmes' ArtsBeat blog, following up on THR's exclusive, wrote, "[I]n February, 'The Kennedys' was criticized by a group of historians who were shown early drafts of its scripts by Robert Greenwald, a liberal filmmaker who had obtained the screenplays. Among the critics was Theodore C. Sorensen, the former Kennedy adviser, who said of the screenplays, 'Every single conversation with the president in the Oval Office or elsewhere in which I, according to the script, participated, never happened.' (Mr. Sorensen died in October.)
The Times story continued, "The History channel said then that the scripts in question were incomplete drafts, and that it stood by the accuracy of more current drafts that were annotated by the screenwriter, Stephen Kronish."
The miniseries is still scheduled to be aired in Canada on March 6, and will be seen internationally, the THR story says.
The THR article also says that "producers Asylum and Muse have issued a statement: '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.' "
The miniseries stars Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy.
The THR story adds, "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."