You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBC avoids ‘Camelot’ conflict

Senator, exex say airing telepic close to election is 'inappropriate'

NBC has averted a potential showdown with Sen. Edward Kennedy — and CBS — by pushing back the airdate of its upcoming Kennedy femmes miniseries.

Peacock will now air the four-hour “Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot” during the first weekend of the February sweeps instead of the mini’s originally announced Sunday and Monday, Nov. 5-6 (Daily Variety, June 1).

The rescheduling comes after reps for the senior Democratic senator from Massachusetts contacted NBC officials and made known their displeasure with the web’s decision to air the project days before Kennedy stands for re-election Nov. 7.

In addition, the move means “Camelot” will no longer square off against part one of “Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis,” the CBS mini about the former first lady skedded to run Nov. 5 and 8.

Nothing new

While NBC’s “Camelot” contains no new bombshells about Ted Kennedy or his various personal scandals, it does touch on his tumultuous marriage to former spouse Joan Kennedy. Reps for the senator believed it was fundamentally unfair for NBC to air such a dramatization so close to the election.

How much pressure Kennedy’s staff exerted on NBC is unclear, but Peacock execs ultimately agreed with Kennedy’s staff and decided to push back “Camelot” late last week.

“Sen. Kennedy is running for re-election on Nov. 7, and we realized that airing the special two nights before the election was inappropriate. To avoid any possible interference with the election, we decided to change the air date,” said NBC West Coast topper Scott Sassa.

Airing “Camelot” in mid-October, a few weeks before the election, might have muted any charges NBC was playing politics with its mini, but the Kennedy camp apparently believed any broadcast prior to the election would be unfair.

Timing everything

NBC brass considered running the mini later in the November sweeps, but eventually decided a broadcast so soon after the Eye’s Kennedy project ran would make the Peacock pic seem like a rip-off.

In place of “Camelot,” NBC will sub a “Saturday Night Live” special pegged to the election season on Sunday, Nov. 5. Regular series programming is planned for Nov. 6.

The NBC move deprives ratings watchers of what was shaping up to be one of the more interesting battles of the fall season.

Some analysts believed CBS, with its inherent strength on Sunday nights, would have likely scored a win over NBC’s “Camelot.” As a result, many expected NBC to eventually blink and move its mini — even if election year politics weren’t involved.

Peacock brass, however, believe the quality of their project might have given it the edge. Indeed, had politics not intervened, NBC execs insist they would have kept their mini right where it was.

“This was all about fairness. This wasn’t an issue of, ‘We don’t like the way our miniseries turned out,’ ” one NBC insider said. “We really love the project. We’re disappointed.”

Jill Hennessy (“Law & Order”), Lauren Holly (“Chicago Hope”) and Leslie Stefanson (“As Good as It Gets”) star as Jackie, Ethel and Joan Kennedy, respectively, in “Camelot.” Pic is from exec producer Shari Singer, wife of NBC movies and minis topper Steve White.

More TV

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER: Rabbit in the

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of Feb. 11: 'Masked Singer' Easily Tops Competition

    Fox’s “The Masked Singer” was the highest-rated broadcast show of the week in both Live+Same Day and Live+3. For the week of Feb. 11, the unscripted singing competition series went from a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 to a 3.4, a rise of 42%. In total viewers, the show went from 7.8 million viewers to [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in a Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Josh Cooke Castle Rock

    Josh Cooke Joins Katey Sagal in ABC Comedy Pilot 'Nana'

    Josh Cooke has been cast in a lead role in the ABC hybrid comedy pilot “Nana” opposite Katey Sagal, Variety has learned. Cooke will play Alex, a fire chief in Indianapolis who is a newly widowed single father of two girls. It’s clear that he is in over his head with the girls, but he [...]

  • Maggie Lawson

    Maggie Lawson to Star in Fox Comedy Pilot 'Geniuses'

    Maggie Lawson has been cast in one of the lead roles of the Fox multi-camera comedy pilot “Geniuses,” Variety has learned. The pilot follows a blue-collar couple in South Jersey trying to get by and raise four kids, three of whom just happen to be certified geniuses. Lon Zimmet will write and executive produce. Lawson will [...]

  • Elizabeth Anweis

    'Batwoman' Pilot Adds Elizabeth Anweis as Catherine Hamilton-Kane

    The CW’s “Batwoman” pilot has cast Elizabeth Anweis, Variety has learned. Anweis will play Catherine Hamilton-Kane, the stepmother of Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman. Catherine made her fortune as a savvy, bullheaded defense contractor, and all those billions position Catherine as one of Gotham’s most powerful residents. For Catherine, it’s a matter of the bottom line: Batwoman [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content