The Bay of Pigs has nothing on the latest battle destined to rock Camelot.
CBS has scheduled the first installment of its miniseries “Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Life” on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 9 p.m. — directly opposite part one of NBC’s “Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot.”
Unless one of the two networks blinks, that means Jackie O-philes will be forced to choose between the two big events rather than catching both projects on different nights.
Dueling longforms have become the norm in recent years: Witness the recent double doses of Jesus, the Partridge Family and rock ‘n’ roll. But it’s rare for two similar projects to actually go head-to-head.
The Camelot clash could also serve as ammunition for execs pushing to abolish sweeps. The networks are frequently criticized for throwing on all of their big-ticket fare at the same time, fragmenting audiences in the process.
Both networks have a compelling argument for booking that night. CBS says it began production of its Jackie O mini before NBC; but the Peacock actually scheduled its take on Jackie and her sister-in-laws first.
“We need to do what’s best for our movies,” said one CBS insider. “We have an established Sunday movie franchise. Why do we have to (stay away from the first Sunday of sweeps)?”
CBS may have the lead-in advantage, albeit mostly with males, from a big NFL game between the Denver Broncos and New York Jets on Nov. 5.