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Thursday
Mar312011

'The Kennedys' Mini-Series: Sorting Fact from Fiction

Michael Caulfield/WireImage(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- When the controversial miniseries The Kennedys, starring Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear, debuts Sunday night, viewers will finally get a chance to see what all the fuss has been about.

In January, History Channel dropped the $25 million production it had optioned two years earlier, saying in a statement, "After viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand."

Showtime, FX and Starz all passed on the eight-part drama before ReelzChannel, an Albuquerque-based digital outlet available in about 60 million homes, picked up the U.S. rights, reportedly for a fraction of the cost. The Kennedys will also air in over 30 countries, including on Britain's History Channel, in the coming months.

Much like John F. Kennedy's assassination, conspiracy theories abound for why the series was dropped by History, whose parent company A&E is owned in part by ABC's parent company, Disney. But criticism about its historical accuracy hounded the project long before filming began.

Among the critics is liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald, who led a campaign called "Stop Kennedy Smears" with several prominent historians and JFK adviser Theodore C. Sorensen.

Before his death in October, Sorensen, who saw a version of the screenplay in 2010, said, "Every single conversation with the president in the Oval Office or elsewhere in which I, according to the script, participated, never happened."

"It wasn't merely stupidity or getting facts wrong," Greenwald told ABC News. "They are in fact making things up from whole cloth."

His biggest objection, he said, is that the drama reduces President Kennedy's driving motives to "power and sex."

Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment, the series' producers, defended The Kennedys in a statement earlier this year: "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."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio