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Jack Bauer's Conservative Creator Lands Kennedy Mini

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Joel Surnow, the conservative half of the team that created and ran 24 for years, has found a home for the miniseries on the Kennedy family that he’s been shopping this year: the History channel. The eight-hour (apparently down from ten) project will be History’s first scripted miniseries.

Will Surnow’s politics slant his portrayal of Massachusetts’ liberal dynasty? Well, History is producing it, which means there is no chance they will take liberties or sensationalize anything for the sake of ratings.

[Buries face in hands.] Sorry, I thought I could get through that with a straight face. After the jump, a couple serious thoughts, and excerpts from the release:

In fairness, liberals in Hollywood write scripts about conservatives all the time, and there’s no reason a project like this can’t be balanced and good. (There’s also no reason a film can’t be politically opinionated and be good.) Also, it turns out the mini will be scripted by Stephen Kronish, a TV writer whose credits include, well, a lot of 24.

I’ll continue to say what I did when the news first came out: people inevitably judge political projects like this before they’ve seen a frame of them, and as a TV critic, I’m going to remain one of the few people to wait until I’ve actually seen it. But you go ahead if you want to.

HISTORY™ has greenlit an eight-hour, scripted mini series based on The Kennedy family, it was announced today by Nancy Dubuc, President & GM, History. THE KENNEDYS is the network’s first foray into scripted series. Executive Producer Joel Surnow developed the series with Asylum’s Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels for Muse Entertainment Enterprises who is producing the series in association with Asylum Entertainment.*  Steve Kronish will write the screenplays for the series and Jon Cassar has been set to direct.


THE KENNEDYS is the saga of the most fabled political family in American history, told in a manner similar to The Godfather: a manipulative, egocentric father determined to live out his own ambitions through his sons, who in turn spent their lives dancing to his tune while at the same time trying to stand on their own. This is history through personality – the tangled relationships through which paint a picture of one of the most turbulent periods of the modern age. Viewers will be upstairs at the White House, not in the Cabinet Room. Through iconic events in history – the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil rights struggle, the mob connection – viewers will learn about the lesser known, yet critical personal stories.

It’s the Kennedys not as mythic figures but as human beings capable of greatness on a grand scale and all-too-human frailty on a private one. It will be the definitive window into the emotional minefield that made the Kennedys America’s royal family.

*Update: History e-mails a correction to their press release: “Please note that in the first paragraph of the release

Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels are with Asylum and then developed the project with Joel Surnow for Muse Entertainment Enterprises.

Neither Surnow, Koch or Michaels work at Muse. They developed it for Muse who is the production company for the film.”