For its latest venture, The History Channel is giving drama a shot, according to Reuters. Already known for their documentaries on historical figures, the network is hoping to nab some critical acclaim and bring a whole new audience to their network with The Kennedys, a massive eight-hour epic about the first "royal" family of America.
The project was brought to them by Joel Surnow, co-creator/executive producer of 24. It will be penned entirely by Stephen Kronish, himself a former co-executive producer on 24, but more importantly a scholar on the Kennedy family dynasty. While John and Robert Kennedy will be at the center of the series, the overbearing presence of their father will be a dominating force throughout.
The plan right now is to kick things off with the 1960 election of John to the White House, and close with the assassination of Robert in '68. In that span, the mini-series will tackle such hot button '60s topics as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs and the burgeoning civil rights movement, but "we will play them as background to the personal stories of the relationships between brother and brother and father and son," according to Surnow.
While The History Channel is adamant that the series be as accurate to the truth as possible, they don't want to spotlight the big public speeches and the parts of the Kennedy experience the American public has already seen. Instead, they want to look to those more intimate conversations and private moments that drove these brothers.
While Surnow sought documentation and verifiable proof for every conversation he included, he opted out of interviewing any of the Kennedys themselves. The idea is not to glorify Camelot, nor is it to try and tear it down. Instead, it is to try and look at and understand these young men who had such pivotal roles in the shaping of this country in the latter half of the Twentieth Century.
Production on The Kennedys is scheduled to begin in spring 2010, with a 2011 premiere planned.