Following a couple of weeks of searching for a new buyer after being dropped by History, the controversial Kennedys miniseries has landed on ReelzChannel. The four-year-old digital cable channel, owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, has already set a premiere date, Apr. 3, and has put up a trailer for the mini, which is expected to run unedited. The little known Albuquerque, NM-based ReelzChannel, which runs movie-themed program and syndicated fare, is probably looking for some visibility with the high-profile acquisition. The mini, from 24 co-creator Joel Surnow, stars Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson, and Barry Pepper, was previously shopped to Showtime, FX, Starz, DirecTV and Tribune, among others.
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.)
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.
Hope for U.S. distribution of Joel Surnow’s 8-part miniseries The Kennedys is fast fading away. Showtime has just passed on the project, which was cancelled by its original network, History, on Friday. Showtime was considered The Kennedy‘s best shot for an airing on a traditional network in the U.S. because of 24 co-creator Surnow’s long-standing relationship with Showtime’s new programming chief David Nevins, who previously ran 24 producing company Imagine TV.