Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The most investigated crime in world history — the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 — gets yet a new theory when ReelzChannel premieres the original investigative doc JFK: The Smoking Gun on Nov. 3 precisely 19 days before the 50th anniversary. While JFK conspiracy fatigue long ago set in, it provided undeniably fascinating fodder during a TCA panel that comes to a genuinely fascinating conclusion: There was a second shooter during that fateful day in Dallas, and it wasn’t an assassin. It was a Secret Service agent named George Hickey, who was riding in the car in the motorcade directly behind Kennedy’s vehicle and whose automatic weapon accidentally discharged. This is the theory, presented in painstaking scientific detail, that the doc will lay out. On the panel, an author named Bonar Menninger and a retired Australian detective Colin McLaren presented their argument that the bullet that exploded into Kennedy’s brain came not from Oswald’s rifle but from Hickey’s in the chaos of the moment. “We believe it wasn’t intentional but a tragic accident,” McLaren said, indicating that the evidence was long covered up at the highest levels of United States intelligence as well as by JFK’s brother Robert. “The lone gunman theory is nonsense and always has been.” Part of the reason the doc is proceeding now, besides the 50th anniversary, is the fact that Hickey died two years ago and can no longer bring suit. But the airing of an undeniable hot potato seems to tie into ReelzChannel’s self-appointed mission of being The JFK Network. The first evidence of that came two years ago when it acquired the miniseries The Kennedys, which went on to win four Emmys.
That panel — hosted, like the ones that preceded it, by entertainment reporter Sam Rubin — made for a decidedly jarring contrast with the sessions that preceded it promoting the reality sitcoms The Capones and Hollywood Hillbillies. The Capones featured a bickering, working-class, stereotypically Italian clan involved in running an Italian restaurant in Chicago called Capone’s Restaurant & Pizzeria. The centerpiece of the discussion was a debate over whether or not the family had a legitimate genealogical claim to being blood descendants to the real Al Capone.