Oh, the Corporate Drama: History, other channels, pass on new 'Kennedys' drama

Late in January, History channel dropped a bio-pic on the Kennedy clan. The New York Times had a piece on it, "Dramatizing Camelot"

Concerns about accuracy led the History channel not to run "The Kennedys," a scripted mini-series starring Greg Kinnear.

The article:

The Times article explains that the program "was meant to bring History prestige, as well as to establish a connection to the 'Kennedys' producer Joel Surnow, an Emmy Award-winning co-creator of the Fox series '24' and outspoken political conservative. 


So, what are the great concerns with dramatic work being accurate, when their own documentary history series can be awfully juvenile? 

Accuracy or a balanced story about "us", the population of the United States from the origins of Native Americans to 20th century immigrants' families, did not seem to be a large worry during production of "America: The Story of Us". 

(Admittedly, this is a rant against evident lame media practices, not a deep critique, as I only managed to sit through about half of one episode, a few minutes of another, and I was through with it. Disappointed in it. (If it were a milk product, it would be cheese food product in a spay can, not even flavored cream cheese. Savvy?) 

That docu-series was using real, though a lot of small (or fairly even marginal?), historic events, and not using thespian portrayals, I don't think. It was marketed as a broad-brush telling of our story: Americans. It seemed like a lot of snapshots of us, not THE STORY of us. Should have called it "Some Stories of Us," or "A Story of Us," at least, for clarity (so no one would have expected what they promoted, which was big picture history). 

So, shown by this recent decision, one can assume that, at History, being clumsy with the historic impact of true events in documentary form is not toying with facts. But pushing dramatization is unsavory? For the HISTORY channel? I don't understand the struggle with facts in a drama after they pushed "The Story of Us" so hard. 

So long as it does not have an identity crisis as did the channel formerly known (or, prior to 2003, ACCURATELY known) as Bravo, an arts programming channel. 

Bravo is now one of many, many reality TV havens on the tube. And it is no longer a channel I watch. I had enough of overproduced reality TV segments after 10 minutes of the first season of "Big Brother", after experiencing "Cops", a little "Real Life",  after the first seasons of "Survivor" and "American Idol". 

No more identity-confused stations, please? Maybe at History they're having a hard time convincing themselves that original docudramas belong on History? Why not, so long as I may still enjoy my decent documentaries on there.

- jR
Post a Comment