EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that ReelzChannel and Canadian producer Muse Entertainment are plotting a sequel to their controversial 2011 mini-series The Kennedys. I hear the follow-up mini is eyed as an eight-episode event, matching the run of the original miniseries. It will be based on J. Randy Taraborrelli’s book After Camelot, which was published this spring, and is expected to pick up where the first mini took off — after the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy. Search is under way for a writer to adapt the book, described as “a personal history of the Kennedy Family 1968 to the present.” Neither Joel Surnow, who spearheaded the original miniseries as executive producer, nor Asylum Entertainment, which co-produced it with Muse, are involved in the sequel.
For Taraborrelli, After Camelot is a follow-up to his bestseller Jackie Ethel Joan – Women Of Camelot, which became a miniseries for NBC. It chronicles the Kennedy clan over the four decades after Robert Kennedy’s assassination, focusing on the the scandals, arrests, affairs, overdoses and antics associated with America’s royal family.
The Kennedys stirred controversy when it was abruptly dropped by History, the network that had commissioned it, shortly before it was to hit the air under what sources described as political pressure from the Kennedy clan. In a turnaround, with all major networks passing on the hot-potato project, ReelzChannel stepped in to pick it up for its first foray into original programming. The gamble paid off as The Kennedys put the fledgling channel on the map. Despite lukewarm reviews, the mini delivered strong ratings and four Emmys, including lead actor in a movie/miniseries for Barry Pepper.