EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of next month’s premiere of National Geographic‘s Killing Lincoln, the cable network has greenlighted Killing Kennedy, a new film from Killing Lincoln producer Scott Free about the assassination of John F Kennedy. Like Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy will be based on a book by Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly. Killing Kennedy: The End Of Camelot, O’Reilly’s latest New York Times bestseller with co-author Martin Dugard, is a follow-up to the duo’s hugely successful Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, which has sold more than 1 million copies. The new two-hour factual drama will keep the narrative storytelling devices used by O’Reilly in the book, published in October, which recounts Kennedy’s assassination and its impact on America. “The common parallels between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy are astonishing, with both assassinations profoundly changing the nation during crucial moments in its history,” O’Reilly said. “While Kennedy’s assassination continues to garner many conspiracy theories, our story is based on facts — some that haven’t been publicly known. And with National Geographic Channel and Scott Free once again at the helm, I have the utmost trust and faith that they will bring the story of Kennedy and Camelot to life.” Casting on the two-hour film, which will combine historical insights and archives with dramatic storytelling in the signature style of the Scott brothers, is expected to begin shortly for a sprint start of production. “Collaborating with National Geographic on Bill O’Reilly’s follow-up was an easy decision,” said Scott Free principal Ridley Scott. “They share the same passion of storytelling, willing to take creative leaps and risks to keep viewers entertained to tell the provocative story of Kennedy’s last days, a pivotal and historic moment.”
Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy are part of National Geographic Channel’s new emphasis on narrative historical programming under president Howard T. Owens. In the fall, the network picked up its first feature film, John Stockwell’s SEAL Team Six, which premiered to 2.7 million viewers, Nat Geo’s largest audience of 2012. “With the tremendous success of SEAL Team Six, our first feature film, and the growing excitement over this February’s premiere of Killing Lincoln, producing Bill O’Reilly’s follow-up was a no-brainer and will be yet another story that will resonate with our audience,” said Owens, adding that the network is “claiming a stake in producing factual dramas, delivering entertainment with substance.” The special will premiere globally on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 38 languages. Here is a teaser for Killing Lincoln starring Billy Campbell as the slain 16th US President and narrated by Tom Hanks.