Can someone say irony?
Reelz, which begins airing the eight-part miniseries this weekend, has dumped an ad from Ashley Madison, the infamous dating site that facilitates affairs for married folks.
So why'd Reelz get so touchy on the subject?
The CEO of ReelzChannel, Stan Hubbard, believes his network is not the right place for a dating service for cheaters to air its ads. Plus, he says, he doesn't want it airing during the already troubled series either.
"While it appears that Ashley Madison is a legal business entity, after viewing their spots I concluded their spots were not for ReelzChannel's brand, and we never agreed to run it. Honestly it's very crass," Hubbard told E! News. "I guess it is a legal business entity, but it's wholly inappropriate to show during The Kennedys. Our audience is a broad range of ages and there's already been enough controversy surrounding the show. I don't want to throw any gas on it."
Hubbard suggests that Ashley Madison knew its ad would be rejected by Reelz and was just looking for free publicity—just as the site's racy commercial starring lingerie-clad porn star Savanna Sampson was barred from airing during the Super Bowl.
"They find places they know they're going to get turned down, and they're not willing to spend the money," he said. "The spots really are in poor taste. Believe me, we like advertisers, this was a ridiculous one."
But—and here's where the irony comes in—even though Reelz will skip the ads, the series will certainly not skip over JFK's own infidelities, as they were widely known, and as Hubbard admits, are "part of the circumstance that create the family dynamic that JFK is in while making decisions that affect the nation."
Still, Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman swears he would have paid $15,000 for the air time. He says he immediately reached out to Hubbard when he heard the channel was having difficulty securing ads for the series and tells E! News that if Reelz now feels it's a stunt, then why not just let them air the spot?
According to Biderman, Reelz's general manager had given the thumbs-up to the commercial and had submitted it for placement to run. But on March 24, the network did a 180, Biderman said, sending him an email stating there were "concerns" with the spot and the "actual product that is being offered."
"It's no stunt," he says. "Reelz sent us the entire schedule and data provided on when it was going to run. We chose appropriate spots, like episode seven when JFK talks about his affairs, we were in that one for sure, then the premiere. It's garbage that [Hubbard claims the move is] a stunt. It's the perfect audience."
Reelz has been trying to build buzz for the series, which features Greg Kinnear as JFK and Holmes as wife Jackie, following the network rejections and Kennedy family objections over the historical accuracy of the storylines.
Who knows. Maybe a little extra scandal wouldn't hurt?