History Channel sets cast for miniseries

Greg Kinnear has signed on to star as President John F. Kennedy in History’s upcoming — and controversial — miniseries “The Kennedys.”

Kinnear will lead an all-star cast that also includes Katie Holmes as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Barry Pepper (“Saving Private Ryan”) has been tapped to play Robert Kennedy and Tom Wilkinson (“John Adams”) has signed on to appear as family patriarch Joe Kennedy Sr.

“When History announced this ambitious project in December, our goal was A-list auspices behind and in front of the camera,” said History prexy/GM Nancy Dubuc — a day after Dubuc added oversight of Lifetime to her duties. (It’s been a good week for Dubuc, who’s also celebrating April as History’s most-watched month ever.)

“We could not be more pleased that these incredibly talented actors have agreed to sign on to the miniseries,” she said.

“The Kennedys” will run as an eight-hour scripted miniseries on History in 2011. Project reps History’s first scripted mini.

Kinnear’s feature credits include “As Good As It Gets” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” while Holmes starred in “Batman Begins” and “The Ice Storm.” “The Kennedys” reps a reunion for both thesps, who starred opposite each other in the 2000 feature “The Gift.”

“The Kennedys” will explore the personal relationships between the Kennedy clan — including John’s and Bobby’s tumultuous relationship with their father.

Exec producer Joel Surnow is behind “The Kennedys,” along with Asylum’s Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels. Steve Kronish is writing the screenplay, while Jon Cassar will direct. Kronish and Cassar are alums of “24,” which Surnow co-created.

Given Surnow’s Conservative politics, critics have expressed concern over the miniseries’ depiction of Kennedy. But History stressed that the mini’s script “is currently being annotated and vetted by History’s resident historians.” Steve Gillon, Ph.D., is the lead historical advisor.

Surnow, Koch, Michaels, Cassar, Michael Prupas and Jamie Paul Rock are exec producers, along with History’s Dubuc, David McKillop and Dirk Hoogstra.

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