ReelzChannel will air "The Kennedys." (ReelzChannel )
A U.S. home has finally been found for "The Kennedys."
The controversial eight-hour miniseries about the life and loves of President John F. Kennedy (Greg Kinnear), his wife Jacqueline (Katie Holmes) and their storied family is headed to ReelzChannel, the Albuquerque-based digital outlet available in more than 56 million U.S. homes.
"The Kennedys" signals a major move into original scripted programming for ReelzChannel, which has so far relied mainly on Hollywood theatrical movies and noted critics such as Leonard Maltin and Richard Roeper.
In a statement, ReelzChannel Chief Executive Stan E. Hubbard alluded to the controversy surrounding "The Kennedys."
"We believe in the business we are committed to," Hubbard said. "If that means defending the right for well-told and important stories to be seen — then so be it.
"We're not beholden to anyone.... As an independent, we have the freedom few networks enjoy."
"The Kennedys," which cost an estimated $30 million, was pushed on to the open market after History, the cable outlet that commissioned and helped finance the miniseries, decided last month not to air the project in the U.S., saying that it did not fit with their brand. The parent company of History, AETN, then held talks with other potential distributors, including Showtime, FX and DirecTV. But those outlets also passed.
Historians who advised the producers raised qualms about the program's accuracy. Among its producers are Joel Surnow, a well-known conservative who executive produced Fox's espionage hit "24." Canadian studio Muse Entertainment split the costs of the project with AETN.
Surviving members of the political dynasty — including Caroline Kennedy, the president's daughter, as well as former California first lady Maria Shriver, the president's niece — are believed to have pressured the network not to run the miniseries. The late Theodore Sorensen, a Kennedy advisor and speechwriter, called the project "vindictive" and "malicious."
Last week, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the president's nephew, told Access Hollywood: "I don't think that — in any case, whoever it's about — that we should be teaching history to Americans that is not true." However, Kennedy — the son of former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy — said he was not aware of any family member who had protested directly to network officials.
The producers say they are satisfied with the project's accuracy.
"The Kennedys" is due to premiere on Reelz on April 3. News of the Reelz deal first appeared on the Hollywood Reporter's website.