Why will no one air that The Kennedys miniseries? I was kinda looking forward to a trainwreck after seeing pics of Katie Holmes as Jackie O.
—Enlightened, via the inbox
If you're waiting for me to blame Katie Holmes for this whole mess, you may be holding your breath until you pass out. But if it's a quasi-political conspiracy theory you're after, well, sure, why not?
And I have found the grassy knoll:
It does not involve Tom Cruise.
Instead, it looks like the completed eight-part miniseries, which costars Greg Kinnear as JFK and Holmes as his wife, Jackie, may have been sunk by relatives of their doppelgängers. That is, if you believe Industry reports, and the accusations of the show's apparently-quite-frustrated director.
At first the series was destined for the History Channel. But then the network jettisoned it, issuing a cryptic statement saying that the show "wasn't a fit." Since then, other channels have been lining up to reject the show, including Starz, FX and Showtime.
Earlier this week, the director, Jon Cassar, accused friends of the Kennedy family of deep-sixing the project.
"I doubt they've even seen it," Cassar said. "They were objecting to it before it started. They were objecting to the idea of it."
And, Cassar insisted, the production went out of its way to accommodate every possible nitpick:
"Every time the History Channel wanted a change, or a lawyer wanted a change, we did it."
The Hollywood Reporter is also blaming the Kennedy clan for the show's demise. Citing sources "close to the situation," the Reporter says Kennedy family lobbied History Channel's parent company, A&E Television Networks, to kill the project.
The Kennedys have several business and social ties to that company. See, AETN is owned by a big blob of companies including the ABC/Disney juggernaut; Disney, in turn, has a book deal with Caroline Kennedy. That deal calls for Caroline to make promotional appearances on ABC shows like Good Morning America. But if Caroline gets angry—over, say, a less than flattering miniseries about her family—she just might forget to show up at the GMA studios.
One of Disney's top executives also was personally lobbied by Caroline over the Kennedy series, the Reporter says. That executive, Anne Sweeney, is also friends with another Kennedy, Maria Shriver, and serves on the board of the Special Olympics, which was founded by yet another Kennedy, Eunice.
(I tried to reach Caroline myself to comment on this, but without success.)
Given all that chumminess—and the fact that the series creator is a known conservative, Joel Surnow of 24 fame—it's a wonder this thing got shot at all.
(Originally published Jan. 12, 2011, at 6:21 p.m. PT)