Showtime cable network passes on "Kennedys"

Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:19pm EST
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - U.S. cable network Showtime has decided not to pick up the controversial miniseries "The Kennedys," The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

"Although 'The Kennedys' is well-produced, well-acted and a quality piece of work, it doesn't fit the Showtime programing brand," a rep for the network told THR in a statement.

The decision is a setback for producers of the eight-part miniseries, which was abruptly pulled from the History Channel network on January 8 in advance of a planned airdate in the spring.

In yanking the project, executives at A&E Television Networks, parent of History, have allowed producers Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment to shop the project to other U.S. networks. (It will air as planned in other countries.)

Showtime was seen by many as a possible home for the project because it aired the controversial miniseries "The Reagans" in 2004 after it was pulled from CBS due to advertiser concerns about the content.

In addition, Showtime president David Nevins also has a relationship with "Kennedys" executive producer Joel Surnow dating back to their work together on "24."

But Showtime has not aired a miniseries since "The Reagans," so picking up the lavish production starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes would have been an unusual step.

Starz and FX are among the other networks that have passed on the project.

HBO has its own Kennedys project in development, and networks owned by the Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal and Hearst — the three owners of AETN whose executives sit on the board of directors and authorized History to dump the miniseries — are unlikely to pick up the project.

(Editing by Zorianna Kit)