Airdate: The Kennedys

ABC1 has now scheduled the controversial US miniseries The Kennedys, which was dropped from the History Channel over questions about its accuracy.

The 4 part series was picked up by cable ReelzChannel in the US and History in the UK and Canada, but has attracted disappointing reviews.

Telling the intimate story of America’s first family, the series stars Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy (Jack), Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy and Tom Wilkinson as Joe Kennedy Snr. Also starring Barry Pepper (Bobby Kennedy), Diana Hardcastle (Rose Kennedy) and Kristin Booth (Ethel Kennedy).

From the creator of the Emmy Award-winning 24, The Kennedys, uses public events as a background to tell the iconic Kennedy story. The series is about epic achievements and private failures, about loyalty and love, resentment and betrayal, about people imbued with great gifts and burdened by great flaws, about success of Biblical proportions and tragedy worthy of the Greeks.

“We focused on the personal aspects of the Kennedys’ lives, rather than on the strictly political. So much of the political story had already been done. This was an opportunity to try and show who they were as people,” says screenwriter Stephen Kronish.

The scripts had to be dramatic and entertaining – and true to the historical record. “There was extra sensitivity to the veracity of what we were writing. We went through a rigorous vetting by a university professor who is a Kennedy historian,” says Executive Producer Joel Surnow.

This epic family story is told through a series of flashbacks, recounting the triumphs and tragedies of ‘Camelot’ and retracing the tumultuous journey of JFK on the way to the White House.

The series retraces the Kennedy family history through the 1930s and 1940s from Joe Snr.’s disastrous tenure in London to the intense competition between his two sons, Joe Jnr. and Jack, which ultimately leads to fatal consequences with the death of Joe Jnr. during World War II.

The series for the first time focuses on the dominant role that Joe Snr. had on the family and the loyalty of son’s Jack and Bobby, the latter of which becomes one of Jack’s key advisors.

Joe Snr. would do anything, and spend whatever money was needed to ensure that there was a Kennedy in the White House: committing electoral fraud; doing deals with Mafia bosses; and orchestrating the marriage of Jack to the socially well-placed Jacqueline Bouvier. His crusade to win the ultimate prize – The Presidency – borders on the obsessive.

Joe Snr. was the grand manipulator in the family, even ordering the lobotomy of his mentally impaired daughter Rosemary, without telling his wife. Evidence linking Joe Snr. to mob bosses, collected by the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover ultimately leads to his devastating stroke in 1961.

The key moments of the Kennedy Administration – the Bay of Pigs, civil rights, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis – will trace Jack’s maturation from an inexperienced mishandler of events, to a statesman who prevents the world from exploding in October of 1962.

Jack’s reliance on amphetamines, his infidelities, and the strain it puts on his marriage to Jackie is also revealed.

A Muse Entertainment Production in association with Asylum Entertainment. Executive Producers Joel Surnow, Michael Prupas, Jonathan Koch, Steve Michaels, Jamie Paul Rock, Stephen Kronish, Jon Cassar. Produced by Jamie Paul Rock; Written by Stephen Kronish; Directed by Jon Cassar.

It will begin 8:30pm Sunday May 22nd on ABC1 and in a new programming move is repeated on Monday, May 23rd at 1030pm on ABC2.


  1. “but has attracted disappointing reviews.” Indeed – it shows no real insight and sort of just plods along in an unsatisfyingly dry and also incomplete-seeming fashion.

  2. Interesting they are showing it on ABC2 the next day. They do similar with 4Corners re-running it one ABC1 late Tuesday nights. I think it’s a good idea and the other FTA networks would be wise to follow like Nine is doing with Harry’s Law later on GEM.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.