The four-year-old cable channel is making its first foray into original scripted programming with a hot potato.
The eight-part series from “24” executive producer Joel Surnow was dumped from the History Channel on January 7, after the channel’s owner A&E was allegedly lobbied by friends and members of the Kennedy clan who objected to the project. The project stars Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes as Jackie O.
“One of the benefits of being an independent network is that you can be an independent voice and you don’t have to worry about corporate pressure or political pressure,” ReelzChannel CEO Stan Hubbard said. “This is a project that deserves to be seen.”
The independent cable channel is owned by Minnesota-based Hubbard Communications and is available in 60 million homes nationwide on services including Comcast and others. It is not yet carried on Cablevision and Cox.
“We think it will drive ratings and put a spotlight on this network that has never been on it before,” said Hubbard. “We’re going to do a full-blown marketing campaign.”
Hubbard declined to comment on the channel’s financial commitment to the $30 million miniseries. Plans are already in the works to include in-theater ads, TV spots, online and a print campaign, according to THR.
“The Kennedys” was shopped to Showtime, Starz and FX, who all passed, but Showtime CEO Matt Blank reportedly reached out to his friend Hubbard after liking the miniseries but not finding it a good fit for his network.