Now, the Hollywood Reporter claims that the decision may have been motivated by pressures from the Kennedys themselves.
Owned by A&E Television Networks — which is owned itself by the Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal and Hearst — the History Channel reportedly received pressure from various AETN board members with ties to the family.
Disney, for one, currently has a vested interest in Caroline Kennedy, with her participation and promotion of an upcoming book of interviews with her late mother, Jackie Kennedy, which the company is publishing under its Hyperion division. The extent of her involvement in the project may have come down to the decision on the miniseries.
Another member of the Kennedy clan, Maria Shriver, was also reportedly not pleased with the project. A former NBC News staffer, Shriver reportedly expressed her feelings to exiting NBCU executives Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin. Shriver is also friends and fellow parishioners with Anne Sweeney, of the Disney/ABC Television Group and the AETN board.
We probably won’t know why the Kennedys are so sour on “The Kennedys” until bootlegs from foreign broadcasts start popping up later in the year. But going on the recent trailer, it may have something to do with how it paints one of American history’s most beloved families as scheming gangsters who bought their way into the White House. Just a thought.