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No One Wants to Air The Kennedys

| 12 Jan 2011 23:00

Under rumored political pressure, the miniseries was booted from its intended network, and hasn't found a home.

The History Channel recently canceled a planned US broadcast of The Kennedys, an eight-part miniseries about the American political family. The Kennedys stars Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, and Tom Wilkinson, but audiences in the United States are unlikely to see it, since History passed and no one else will pick it up. Since the series was produced for the History Channel, the network has exclusivity rights, and had to approve of the buyer. Showtime was approved, but even the network behind Dexter and Secret Diary of A Call Girl wouldn't touch The Kennedys.

Deadline quoted History's official statement on the cancellation, which said, "We recognize historical fiction is an important medium for storytelling and commend all the hard work and passion that has gone into the making of the series, but ultimately deem this as the right programming decision for our network."

What History did not say is that the cancellation was politically motivated. The long version of the story rests on the fact that History is owned by A&E Networks, which itself is partially owned by the Walt Disney Corporation. A&E Board Member and Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney is on the Board of Directors for the Special Olympics, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver (JFK's little sister) and currently chaired by her son, Tim Shriver. Those relationships alone may have made airing the historical miniseries awkward, but a more direct story alleges that Caroline Kennedy personally approached Sweeney to request the miniseries' cancellation. This isn't the only rumor of a Kennedy relation requesting the miniseries not be aired, but it is the most succinct.

Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment, the co-producers of The Kennedys, issued a statement after the History Channel bailed. Deadline quotes that statement as saying, "Although we regret this does not fit into the History Channel's plans, we are confident that television viewers in the United States will join viewers from around the world in having an opportunity to watch this series in the near future." No word yet on what they've said in response to Showtime taking a pass, too.

The Kennedys will still air in Canada and abroad, though, so let us know how it is.

Source: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter

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