The History Channel is pulling the plug on The Kennedys. The station’s parent network — A&E — says it will not air the controversial eight-part miniseries about the American political dynasty that stars Greg Kinnear as the former president and Katie Holmes as First Lady-turned-fashion icon Jackie O.
The Kennedys, which cost about $25 million to make — was expected to be the first original scripted series to be shown on History. The production — produced by 24 creator Joel Surnow and penned by Stephen Kronish — had been set for broadcast this spring, but quickly drew detractors for its envelope-pushing content. Producers of the miniseries drew flak last February when liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald, called the project “political character assassination” and “a cheap soap opera of the worst kind,” The New York Times reported.
On Friday evening, a representative for The History Channel issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter remaking that “upon completion of the production of The Kennedys, History has decided not to air the 8-part miniseries on the network.”
The network had stood by the project, but apparently got cold feet after pressure from its co-owners: Disney, Hearst and NBC Universal, according to the trade paper.
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
The miniseries is still set to air in Canada on March 6, and will broadcast internationally on dates still to be announced.