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Controversial Miniseries ‘The Kennedys’ May Air In Syndication Via Deal With Tribune

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The Kennedys may take an unconventional route to U.S. television screens, via syndication. The producers of the controversial miniseries, which was dropped by History earlier this month, are in talks with Tribune Broadcasting about picking up the 8-hour project starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes. A rep for Tribune confirmed that the company has been in talks for the mini, declining further comment.

I hear that Tribune has made an offer and may actually land the mini, which is being shopped by producers Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment. There are also cable nets in the running, but Tribune might have a leg up as History has a say in who gets the program and may not be willing to have it run on a direct competitor. “I’m not sure if History wants another (basic) cable net to air it so they might take less money to have it in syndication,” a source said.

History has to approve a buyer, as it did early on with premium cable network Showtime, which ultimately passed on the mini. DirecTV, which engaged in talks for The Kennedys but ended up not making a deal, also is not a direct competitor to History.  (Meanwhile, I hear BBC America made a serious play for the mini but, even if History gives its blessing, sourced doubted the cable net could afford the lavish $25-million production as its offers have come too low.)

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Would DirecTV Rescue ‘The Kennedys’?

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: A rep for DirecTV confirmed that the company is “in preliminary stages of discussion” for The Kennedys.

PREVIOUS: DirecTV already provided primetime refuge to two series that had faced premature death on other networks, NBC’s Friday Night Lights and FX’s Damages. Could it do it again for the controversial mini-series The Kennedys? TVLine’s Michael Ausiello is reporting that the satcaster is in talks to air the eight-part miniseries, which was scrapped by History on Friday, shortly before it was to debut, because of reported political pressure from the Kennedy family. Unlike History and most of the broadcast and cable networks, DirecTV is not part of a vertically integrated conglom. The Kennedys, from 24 co-creator Joel Surnow, stars Greg Kinnear as JFK, Katie Holmes as wife Jackie, Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy, and Tom Wilkinson as Joseph Kennedy. The mini was recently shopped to Showtime, which passed on Wednesday.

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Exclusive Video Of History’s Cancelled ‘Kennedys’ Mini, Which Now Eyes Showtime

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment, who co-produce The Kennedys, just issued the following statement about the mini-series’ cancellation by History: “We are proud of the work all of our talent put into the making of The Kennedys and the painstaking efforts that went into creating a drama that is compelling while rich in historic detail. 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.”

PREVIOUS: The Kennedys miniseries, just canceled History, is now being shopped to Showtime. The 8-part miniseries, a brain child of 24 co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow, stars Greg Kinnear as JFK, Katie Holmes as Jackie, Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy, and Tom Wilkinson as Joseph Kennedy. I hear the stunning cancellation, which was done after the mini had been completed, was done under political pressure from the Kennedy family who were not comfortable with the project coming out in the year of the 50th anniversary of Camelot. History is part of the A&E Networks, which is co-owned by the Walt Disney Co. Disney’s interest in the company is overseen by Disney-ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney who is an A&E Networks board member.  She is also a board member on the Special Olympics, which is synonymous with the Kennedy family, having been launched by John … Read More »

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