Eight-parter yanked by History was turned down by major outlets
After getting turned down by major pay and basic cablers across the board, “The Kennedys” miniseries has landed at ReelzChannel.History net had long been touting the eight-part mini as a major scripted project on its 2011 slate before suddenly yanking the project four weeks ago. “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,” said the A&E-owned network at the time. ReelzChannel didn’t feel the same. The Albuquerque, N.M.-based cabler, which is available in about 56 million homes, saw “The Kennedys” as a way to make a major splash as both a branding opportunity and a way to land new viewers. ReelzChannel, which launched in 2006, offers a handful of original programming, most notably movie and entertainment-themed shows. Hosts include film critics Leonard Maltin, Richard Roeper, showbiz reporter Sam Rubin and former NBA star John Salley. The cabler’s CEO, Stan Hubbard, told Variety he had no issues or concerns with the content of “The Kennedys,” which focuses on the powerful Democratic political family. “I’m not going to speak for History but what I saw is a really fantastic story,” Hubbard said. “I believe the people that made it took great care to make sure they were sensitive to history, the Kennedy family and the Kennedy legacy. That said, there are things in history and with the family that aren’t always the prettiest. But what you’ll see in this movie is that John Kennedy was a strong and great leader who had the courage of his own convictions, and Robert Kennedy was the conscience of both a family and a generation.” “The Kennedys” will debut April 3 with two one-hour episodes. It will air an hour each of the next four nights and conclude with a two-hour finale April 10. Hubbard, who wouldn’t specify what his net paid for the mini, said ReelzChannel would launch an elaborate marketing campaign to spread the word on “The Kennedys.” Immediately after History dropped the mini, Showtime HBO and FX also passed. Some believe Showtime would have been interested because it picked up “The Reagans” in 2003 after CBS decided not to go forward with it. Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Barry Pepper and Tom Wilkinson star in “The Kennedys,” which was the brainchild of “24″ exec producer Joel Surnow. Muse Entertainment Enterprises and Asylum Entertainment are producers.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more