The Girl Next Door
'Kennedys' a hit
Reluctant stars speak out about controversy
By Michael Starr
"The Kennedys" has given ReelzChannel a landslide victory.
The controversial $25 million miniseries starring Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes as Jackie averaged 1.9 million viewers Sunday night on Reelz, according to Nielsen.
Those are huge numbers for Reelz, a regional cable network that screens movies 24/7 -- and usually averages only around 3 million viewers a week.
"They actually accomplished their goal, which was to put them on the map and create appointment viewing," says industry analyst Brad Adgate of Horizon Media.
The network, which is owned by Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting, reportedly coughed up $7 million for "The Kennedys" after it was dropped by History -- reportedly under pressure from members of the Kennedy family including Caroline Kennedy and JFK niece Maria Shriver.
Cast of The KennedysReelz spent another $10 million to advertise the eight-part miniseries, and even launched on Time Warner Cable (Ch. 131) just last month in a bid to lure New York viewers to "The Kennedys."
"They needed to rise above the clutter and get people to watch -- and they used a very sharp plan and strategy," Adgate says.
New episodes of "The Kennedys" air tonight through Friday at 8 p.m. -- with the two-hour finale airing Sunday night.