Late Night: “The Kennedys” Scandalous?

The Kennedys, an eight part miniseries beginning Sunday, April 3, on ReelzChannel, has been fraught with intrigue and dismay since it was announced last year. It was originally scheduled to air on the History Channel, which paid $30 million to make the sex, drugs and scandal-scented series.

Joel Surnow, the conservative producer of 24 was tapped to produce the miniseries; and early on, complaints began: In February of last year The New York Times ran a front-page story in which former JFK adviser/biographer Theodore Sorensen called the project “vindictive” and “malicious.”

Surnow told the Hollywood Reporter that a lot of the criticism may have sprung from his own known conservative political views. Plus, there were scenes which were not 100% historically accurate. Though Surnow and historical research team, one of whom was brought in by the History Channel, worked hard to make history truthfully come alive, the execs at the History Channel weren’t happy, especially about depictions of the characters’ sex lives.

The History Channel is part of A&E Television Network. The Hollywood Reporter [THR] brought forth this exclusive tidbit:

AETN is owned by a consortium including the Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal and Hearst. The source said that Disney/ABC Television Group topper Anne Sweeney, who serves on the AETN board and is said to hold tremendous sway over its decisions, was personally lobbied by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy. Caroline Kennedy has a book deal with Disney’s Hyperion publishing division, which announced in April 2010 that it will publish a collection of previously unreleased interviews with the late Jackie Kennedy timed to the 50th anniversary of the first year of JFK’s presidency this fall.

According to THR, had The Kennedys come out on the History Channel, Caroline Kennedy might not have been so eager to promote her book. Meanwhile her cousin, Maria Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and wife of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

is said to have voiced her displeasure with the project to outgoing NBCU[niversal] execs Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin…and a source said Shriver criticized the Kennedys project to Sweeney after a leaked early script was attacked in the New York Times as “vindictive” and “malicious” by a former JFK aide (though the final shooting script is said to have been vetted for accuracy by History’s in-house historians).

Meanwhile, Greg Kinnear who stars as President John Kennedy told THR last night at the premier that

when he heard “it wasn’t going to be broadcast on The History Channel, I didn’t know [what to think] … I’ve had movies that nobody saw, I supposed it could be a TV show that ended up in a dusty vault somewhere. I really didn’t know what to expect.”

Katie Holmes, who plays Jackie Kennedy said:

I am so thrilled it did find a home. There was a lot of work put into this. People felt so passionate about this and worked so hard, so it’s wonderful to be here tonight.

The questions are: Does anyone know where REELZ is on their cable guide? Will The Kennedys prove watchable for 8 parts?

75 Responses to "Late Night: “The Kennedys” Scandalous?"
Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 07:59 pm 1

I think it’s sort of scandalous that Kennedy family members wouldn’t put up the cash to fund their own version of their history, and instead pressured the network not air one they found distasteful. But I’m not really inclined ot watch it. Not my fave period of history. I’m enjoying The Borgias and Mildred Pierce


Suzanne | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:01 pm 2

lisa!


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:03 pm 3

Hi Suzanne!


lsls | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:04 pm 4

Dish channel 299


Suzanne | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:05 pm 5

i don’t have reelz on my basic cable lineup — thank goodness


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:09 pm 6

It will be Netflix soon enough. The costumes look good.


jo6pac | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:09 pm 7

Just don’t care, there is to many real problems right now that we seem to be repeating because we can’t seem to learn from history.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:10 pm 8

Lisa!

I refuse to watch as everything I have heard suggests that it is a conservative hatchet job. There are many things I do not admire about the Kennedys and they were far from perfect, but the still beat the hell out of anybody the Goopers have fielded in 50 years.


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:11 pm 9

Will Marilyn Monroe be naked? No? Then I’m not watching.


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:14 pm 10
In response to KrisAinCA @ 9

In response to myself, what a pig!


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:15 pm 11
In response to DrDick @ 8

I am not sure how much a hatchet job it is. The script was gone over and vetted with a fine tooth comb by History Channel experts. The original draft may have been more melodramatic and fanciful. But I’m not inclined to watch it simply because the subject matter isn’t that interesting to me. And KAtie Holmes kinda creeps me out.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:16 pm 12
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 11

There is that as well. I lived through all that and really am not all that interested in fictionalized versions.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:16 pm 13

And would a white washing have been any better in terms of historicity?


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:18 pm 14
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 13

There are a number of very historically accurate documentaries about the Kennedys. The History Channel has a bunch of them. I’m not sure what the point of this film is, except to make money.


oldgold | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:18 pm 15

Reelz is included in my cable package – 223.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:19 pm 16
In response to KrisAinCA @ 14

exactly, and I think it will fail on that account.


Suzanne | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:19 pm 17
In response to KrisAinCA @ 14

and to create an alternative reality that takes the tarnish off the jfk camelot image


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:22 pm 18
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 13

Not at all. If I thought this was an honest and accurate portrayal (which would include quite a few warts) that added new insights into the people, I might be inclined to watch, but I have seen nothing to indicate that.


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:22 pm 19
In response to Suzanne @ 17

As a youngster and a student of history, I still see the Kennedys through the Camelot lens.

Yes, there was corruption, adultery, petty infighting at times, lies, etc., but the men and women of the family have shaped our nation in many ways, and usually for the better.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:23 pm 20
In response to Suzanne @ 17

That is my sense as well. I get the feeling that this is more of the conservative effort to undermine the legitimacy of the Democrats and the modern social welfare state.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:25 pm 21
In response to KrisAinCA @ 19

They made plenty of mistakes, the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam in particular, but on the whole they left the country a better place than they found it.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:25 pm 22

More wingnuttia destruction of anything that might be a leftie symbol.


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:28 pm 23
In response to DrDick @ 21

Sure did. And they governed in what I see as a true conservative manner. Being painted as flaming liberals is just smoke and mirrors. Democrats, yes, but conservatively so. Funny how true conservatism in its actual practice is good policy that takes care of everyone.


RonD | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:28 pm 24

As a youngster and a student of history, I still see the Kennedys through the Camelot lens

.
Hmmm. It was history that erased the Camelot image for me. I could not care less about Kennedy’s sex life, but his Administration’s embrace of covert terror and assassination shocked me deeply.
‘evenin’, all-


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:31 pm 25
In response to eCAHNomics @ 22

I think the Kennedys, along with FDR, are special targets of the Goopers because they as much as anyone are responsible for the modern welfare state and the idea that we have an obligation as a society to take care of the less fortunate and to provide equal opportunity for all. All anathema to the right.


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:32 pm 26
In response to RonD @ 24

I agree, and I think my youth is what dictates my perception more than my knowledge of history.

I look back at a time when our country was in far better shape, we had a thriving middle class, we had actual leaders, not pathetic sock-puppets pandering to the masses while pleasing their corporate masters.

50 years ago America was a far better place in a lot of ways. Well, 45 years ago. I regret the loss of truth and the rule of law.

That’s why I look toward the Kennedy era with a bit of longing.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:32 pm 27
In response to KrisAinCA @ 23

They were rather more complicated than that. Their foreign policy was pretty conservative by modern standards, but their domestic policies were pretty progressive, especially for the times.


ruralresident | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:33 pm 28

Remember that this was made prior to the 2010 elections, and was intended as a smear against the Democratic party and its priorities. Much of the goal was to influence the 2010 elections. Cheers to the History Channel for not wanting to air sheer fiction. They’re right about the fact that it would have sullied their brand.

It will be there on whatever this channel is (I’ve never heard of it, and certainly would never pay to have it on my TV). This will keep the creeps that produced it from being able to claim that their “rights of free speech” were abridged.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:34 pm 29
In response to DrDick @ 25

Agree. But LBJ’s gotta be on the target list too.

According to my TX friend, LBJ had certain opponents killed when he was a TX pol, so when they get around to him, it ought to be truly lurid.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:34 pm 30

My stepfather and stepgrandmother were close with Marilyn Monroe; family hisotry has my stepfather telling Joe DiMaggio he didn’t want those “sons of bitches Kennedys” to attend her funeral. Weirdly my stepfatherr died 17 yrs to the anniversary of MM’s death.


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:35 pm 31

Katie Holmes

So did L Ron approve of this film if so why is his cult targeting Dems now?


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:36 pm 32

Norman Mailer’s essay on JFK, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket” is fascinating.


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:37 pm 33
In response to ThingsComeUndone @ 31

I was thinking that a few minutes back, but more on the Tom Cruise line, not L Ron.

Her family is so immersed in that strange “religion” that I can’t imagine her taking a job without the approval of her husband and the church.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:38 pm 34
In response to eCAHNomics @ 29

LBJ was actually more progressive on social issues than Kennedy, though his foreign policy was much the same. I would not put too much stock in those kinds of rumors, I remember hearing how Hillary killed Vance Foster or some such. That kind of rumor mongering is pretty common in the South.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:41 pm 35
In response to DrDick @ 34

Nixon gave us the EPA, alternative action, and OSHA, but maybe that was all just to sop the DFHs and quell social unrest.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:43 pm 36
In response to DrDick @ 34

My friend’s father was in TX local politics at the same time as LBJ, so I wouldn’t be so dismissive. Though I am so far removed from the original info, I have no idea whether they’re true or not. However, it is also useful to know even if there’s no truth & just TX rumors, bc if LBJ is on the enemies’ list, they will be advanced as true.


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:43 pm 37
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 35

Jeebus, what a commie.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:44 pm 38
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 35

No, Nixon for all of his many faults was pretty good on a number of issues. He was one of the best presidents ever on Indian Affairs for instance. While he was very strongly pro-corporate, he was still at least partially sane (if totally evil and power mad).


eCAHNomics | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:44 pm 39
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 35

It’s not about choosing enemies bc of their actual policies. It’s about destroying reputations of prez who are lefty symbols. Nixon would not be on that list.


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:44 pm 40

The Kennedy’s slept with attractive women this may back fire on the GOP with Newt and Donald’s how many wives making the news if they run for President. From a Public relations perspective the GOP with their constant sex scandals look well…like the guys who took the girls the Kennedy’s passed on.
Sure this implies voters are superficial but hasn’t the GOP made a point on running on rumors as well as hate for years while we talk about the issues?
This film might not help them like they think it will. Plus the Dems have been pretty scandal free for awhile on one of my diaries I got into a fight with a troll about that he kept quoting Dem sex scandals with the exception of Clinton from before I was born.
I’m a political junkie and I had to google the sex scandals he was talking about. My GOP Sex scandal examples were all recent Mark Foley and boys, Scooter Libby and a bear, Newt etc.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:46 pm 41
In response to ThingsComeUndone @ 40

The voters are largely superficial. How else do explain Dubya?


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:48 pm 42
In response to KrisAinCA @ 33

Her family is so immersed in that strange “religion” that I can’t imagine her taking a job without the approval of her husband and the church.

I think L’Ron is dead so yes Tom and the *cough* Church gave the blessing I’m sure they target movie stars so I assume they are hyper press sensitive.
If we assume they are hyper press sensitive then this was deliberate. But why what does that Church want from the GOP?


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:49 pm 43
In response to DrDick @ 41

Diebold:) Just kidding agreed!


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:50 pm 44
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 35

but maybe that was all just to sop the DFHs and quell social unrest.

Thats my bet.


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:52 pm 45

Tom can’t get his wife into better movies?


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:53 pm 46
In response to ThingsComeUndone @ 42

Joe Coale, Greta van Susteren’s hubby (both are members of that psuedo religious organziation/cult) is the man behind Palin’s PAC and one of her political advisors.

What do they want? To run the govt on their principals, just like other politically inclined religions who believe their way is the only way and will stop at nothing to make things run their way.


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:53 pm 47

what does that Church want from the GOP?

What it always wants, power and influence.


KrisAinCA | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:56 pm 48
In response to ThingsComeUndone @ 42

The GOP ideals align more with the ideals of the Church. And it’s okay to call it a Church. It’s a Church for tax purposes.

Follow the money, and the motives. The Church wants more money and more influence, and the GOP is handing that out like candy to anyone that can right a 4 figure check (or larger).


DrDick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:57 pm 49

Time for me to toddle off. Take care all.


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:57 pm 50

Lisa what issues are they pushing what do they really want to change about America first?
DrDick what how do they want to express that power and influence? Wallstreet wants our cash, the fundies want us to conform and all follow God their way…plus they want to regulate our bedrooms.


Suzanne | Tuesday March 29, 2011 08:57 pm 51

g’nite dr dick


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:00 pm 52
In response to DrDick @ 47

exactly. In Hollywood they buttered up the local LAPD division wiht video surveillance cameras and large donations to LAPD afterschool programs, plus funded a literacy program (starring the works of their founder). Ostensibly humantiarian, but they demand have had the LAPD as their servants for years. Now the cops are wising up. Same with city council and the various bureaus (street closure for one). Though recently street closure and permitting divisions were hoodwinked into extending special privileges for Kirstie Ally’s weight loss store’s huge opening. The day after city council elections, and our local council man got hundreds of complaints instead of congrats on his voice mail. That wont be happening again. And the neighborhood expects “Organic Liasons” to close in under 11 months.


PJEvans | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:01 pm 53
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 11

Considering all the crap the History Channel runs, that’s not saying much.


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:03 pm 54
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 52

Kirstie Ally’s weight loss store’s huge opening.

The Guys at the YMCA watching tv were all saying she has a nice face but what the hell happened to her and her weight?


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:05 pm 55

She pulled it in…


ThingsComeUndone | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:06 pm 56

“Organic Liasons”

?

Now I have to worry about L’Ron and Organic food? Somehow I doubt the Church will pay for legal farm workers this seems like it might be my topics of research.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:06 pm 57

Gonna hit the sack. Good night all.


Suzanne | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:07 pm 58

g’nite ecahn


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:13 pm 59

night ecahn.


mattcarmody | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:26 pm 60
In response to DrDick @ 21

The Bay of Pigs fiasco was carried out three months after JFK was inaugurated. It was an operation planned by Nixon, Dulles, Helms, E. Howard Hunt, Ted Shackley, and carried out by that crew with the active assistance of George H. W. Bush who gave two of his ships to the endeavor, the Barbara B and the Zapata. The CIA decided to go ahead with the attack on Cuba because Dulles and others thought, wrongly it turned out, that once the people were committed and the action was taking place they could force JFK to provide air cover. They were wrong and none of them ever forgave Kennedy nor did they place the blame where it rightfully belonged, on CIA.


eblair | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:30 pm 61

E pur se muove.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:31 pm 62

Organic Liason opening

and info on company is currently offline but the site is organicliaison.com


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:41 pm 63

wow, you mention weight los scams and the place goes silent…


Kelly Canfield | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:41 pm 64
In response to eblair @ 61

“And yet, it moves” from Galileo.

Nice try.


Suzanne | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:42 pm 65
In response to mattcarmody @ 60

i had not made that connection… thanks


ChristineEdmonson | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:43 pm 66
In response to Kelly Canfield @ 64

Kelly, love
Where have you been?


ChristineEdmonson | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:45 pm 67
In response to Suzanne @ 65

Suzanne! Pretty scary, yes.


Suzanne | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:47 pm 68
In response to ChristineEdmonson @ 67

the more i learn the more it feels like there have been dark forces working in the shadows of our gov’t for a long long time….


ChristineEdmonson | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:50 pm 69
In response to Suzanne @ 68

Yes. Perhaps always.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:55 pm 70
In response to Suzanne @ 68

Alex Jones would say it’s the Llumanait, forgettign that there are good Illums and bad. There are people who are greedy and shortsighted in out govt (and other govts); some hide behind religion–or beleive that their faith is correctly driving their actions–while others just do what they do because they are nasty.


Kelly Canfield | Tuesday March 29, 2011 09:58 pm 71
In response to ChristineEdmonson @ 66

Bizzy. Frankly worst week of my life came down to me just this evening.

I should really go hide and brood, frankly. But oddly I thought of two crazy tunes to represent my frame of mind right now:

It’s My Life

and

Mahler 8


AitchD | Tuesday March 29, 2011 10:04 pm 72
In response to Kelly Canfield @ 71

2nd time, same suggestion: Why don’t you compose and perform your ‘story’? First-time suggestion: And premiere it on firedoglake….


ChristineEdmonson | Tuesday March 29, 2011 10:06 pm 73
In response to Kelly Canfield @ 71

Sorry Kelly. Will listen now. Big love, my dear. I can guess.


bobInpacifica | Wednesday March 30, 2011 06:45 am 74

There is an interesting essay in the book The Assassinations, edited by Pease and DiEugenio, about the second “assassination of JFK.

In the early years after JFK’s death Americans almost unanimously held Kennedy in high regard. They also did not trust the Warren Commission’s version of events in Dealy Plaza.

A number of anti-JFK books and news accounts began circulating, and continue to this day. They have all been largely unsubstantiated or demonstrably false. They also come from sources that have connections to the American intelligence services.

What is the motive? Well, if JFK were a no-good, womanizing, violent, diseased lout who was going to die anyway, why care about him and how he died?

The essay is an excellent summary of how the Mighty Wurlitzer has promoted this propaganda. Here’s the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Assassinations-Probe-Magazine-JFK-Malcolm/dp/0922915822/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301492682&sr=1-1


bobInpacifica | Wednesday March 30, 2011 07:04 am 75

There are many good books which touch on the coup of 1963, to include The Man Who Knew Too Much, Family Of Secrets and others.

An out-of-print book which goes into incredible detail is Harvey And Lee, which documents what many people reported soon after the assassination, that there appeared to be numerous Lee Oswalds.

In fact, having several people use the same identity is an old intelligence trick (Castro had identical twins working for his intelligence unit). While one agent does something the other can appear publicly at another place to provide an alibi. In the Oswald case it appears to be the opposite. While one Oswald was put into place to take the blame another flamboyantly behaved to incriminate the fall guy. That’s why while Oswald (who didn’t have a driver’s license) worked at his job at the book depository another Oswald went to a car dealership during the first Oswald’s working hours, drove a test car crazily, talked about how great Soviet cars were and how he was going to come into a lot of money very soon.

Among many other incidents.

In fact, the CIA had a picture of a man who looked nothing like Oswald impersonating Oswald in Mexico City the same time that another Oswald was around Alice Springs, TX and still a third Oswald, the one arrested for the assassination, was in the Dallas area. Why would anyone impersonate a nobody in front of a camera in Mexico City six weeks before the assassination?

A remarkable book. Good luck in finding a copy.


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