While the History Channel’s decision to pass on "The Kennedys" may have seemed sudden, the move actually came after a year-long effort on the cable network’s part to make the miniseries fit with the facts, writes Dave Itzkoff in The New York Times.
After historians criticized early drafts of the script last February, the channel asked two historians, Steven M. Gillon and Robert Dallek, to help improve its accuracy, the story notes. Both have written books about John F. Kennedy and Dallek is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, the article adds.
The pair reviewed screenplays for "The Kennedys" during the winter and spring, and were concerned about scenes that weren’t backed by facts, including portrayals of the Kennedys’ sexual habits, according to the report. Some of the historians’ suggestions were taken, and the project moved forward. But the article notes that when Dallek and Gillon saw edited episodes in late 2010, they were surprised that the miniseries still had questionable scenes.
The article notes that one scene portrayed Jackie Kennedy as telling President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis that she couldn’t tolerate his behavior and was leaving the White House with their children, something that most likely never happened.
When the History board convened at the end of 2010, its members felt that the problems were enough that the channel should opt out of airing the program, the story says.
Michael Prupas, president and chief executive of Muse Entertainment, the miniseries’ producer, has said that the program is "based on the truth" and a "very positive" portrayal of the Kennedys.