History Channel Pulls 'Kennedys' Miniseries, Calling It 'Historical Fiction'The History Channel planned its first big step in scripted programming with the eight-hour miniseries The Kennedys. The channel has now, after seeing the controversial finished product, declined to air it.
The History Channel has announced that it won't air the highly publicized miniseries The Kennedys, which stars Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy.
While History said in a statement first covered by The Hollywood Reporter that the project is well produced and acted, it concluded after viewing the entire eight-part finished product that it isn't a "fit" for the network's brand, referring to its "dramatic interpretation" and classifying it, perhaps tellingly, as "historical fiction."
A trailer for the miniseries The Kennedys, which the History Channel has announced it won't air.
Ever since it was announced, The Kennedys, from 24 producer Joel Surnow, has been controversial; in December of 2009, Surnow told The New York Times that the fact that his personal politics are conservative and he's chronicling a prominent liberal family would undoubtedly raise questions at first, but predicted that once people saw the entire finished piece, those questions would become "irrelevant."
In February of last year, The New York Timescovered the growing controversy and the objections being raised, as well as History's process for ensuring the accuracy of the final product.
The fact that History won't air the series doesn't mean it won't air -- it's still scheduled to air in Canada in March, it's set to air internationally, and the producers will shop it to other networks to try to get it aired domestically.
That's what happened in 2003 when CBS pulled the series The Reagans, which was also criticized by supporters of the family it portrayed. The Reagans aired on Showtime instead, and there are certainly plenty of basic and premium cable options for The Kennedys. Given the cast -- which also includes Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson as Joe Kennedy -- it's hard to believe it won't be picked up somewhere.