Almost two million people tuned in Sunday to the first installment of the eight-part miniseries “The Kennedys” on Reelz Channel. Given that this relatively-unknown cablecaster only acquired this controversial property 10 weeks ago and that Sunday’s TV grid was jam-packed, this is quite the accomplishment, especially in light of the middling reviews. The rest of the mini will get maximum exposure this week with the two-hour finale set for next Sunday.
The nascent net picked up “The Kennedys” after the History Channel dropped it in January citing concerns about its accuracy. The Emmy-winning duo from “24” — writers/producers Joel Surnow and Jon Cassar— were among those shepherding “The Kennedys” to the small screen.
Oscar contenders Greg Kinnear and Tom Wilkinson head up the cast as John F. Kennedy, the fallen 35th president, and his father Joseph respectively. Katie Holmes is the glamorous first lady Jacqueline Kennedy while Barry Pepper plays the stalwart brother Robert F. Kennedy.
This year’s Emmys will combine Mini-Series and TV Movies into one catch-all category. In the recent past, the Emmy series race for Best Mini-Series has been between the big-budget HBO blockbusters (“The Pacific,” “John Adams”) versus the costume drama PBS/BBC co-productions (“Little Dorritt,” “Cranford”). However, the History Channel nabbed a surprise nod in the TV Movie category last year for “Moonshot.”