The Kennedys

VIBE – Mondays from 4 June, 8.30pm (Encores Sundays, 9pm)

“It’s not what you are. It’s what people think you are. And with the right amount of money you can make them think what you want.”

This June the story of America’s most famous first family is brought to life once again, painting a picture of one of the most turbulent times of the modern age over four feature-length episodes. The story that has fascinated millions worldwide for decades is so embedded in the foundations of history that audiences know the general structure of this enigmatic political family.

9:40pm Tuesday, December 13 on Prime

Drama

It’s November 25, 1963. The nation watches as John F. Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Bobby sinks into a deep, debilitating depression born out of the suspicion that it was his actions – with respect to Castro and/or his pursuit of the mob – that might have caused Jack’s assassination. With Lyndon Johnson now in office, Jackie prepares to leave the White House. Memories of Jack come flooding back as she abandons her old life. But in Georgetown, her new life is no less hectic, as paparazzi invade her property and privacy. Bobby spends more time with her, leaving Ethel feeling jealous and abandoned. Bobby seeks solace not in the church but from Jackie, and their relationship becomes more and more intense. Ultimately, though, he realizes his life is with Ethel and his children. And Jackie urges him to make his return to public life – for the good of the country. But five years later, tragedy strikes again.

9:40pm Tuesday, November 29 on Prime

Drama

It’s October 1962. During a classical concert in the East Room, Jack tells Jackie he’s needed in the Oval Office. Instead, he heads to the White House theatre for a tryst with Mary Meyer, his on-again, off-again lover. Jackie finds out. Furious and humiliated, Jackie leaves with the children. With his marriage in shambles, Jack has to also deal with an impending crisis in the Caribbean. The Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba. Tensions are high, and Jack is being pressured to attack Cuba with the purpose of removing the missiles.

9:40pm Tuesday, November 22 on Prime

Drama

At home and with little to do, for the first time in his life Joe Sr. feels useless. Rose is angry, and feels her sons have abandoned their father. Over at the Justice Department, Bobby decides to put additional indictments of Sam Giancana on hold, compromising his principles. The stress weighs on him, and he brings it home. In the South, civil rights demonstrators are protesting. JFK calls a meeting with the Southern Caucus of the Senate, who state their opposition to desegregation. Being a southerner, Vice President Lyndon Johnson wants to be put to use to help diffuse the increasingly volatile state of affairs in the South. But Bobby is still bitter about comments Johnson made while running against his brother, and keeps him on the sidelines. Then, terrible news: Joe suffers a stroke from which he may never fully recover. Meanwhile, Jackie is still receiving ‘treatments’ from Dr. Jacobson, and Jack worries she may be developing an addiction.

9:40pm Tuesday, November 15 on Prime

Drama

It is August of 1961. The Russians have moved troops into Berlin, though their intentions are still unclear. JFK prepares for the possibility that Khrushchev may try and take the city. Bobby announces the formation of the Organized Crime Division. Chicago mobster Sam Giancana is livid about it, and blames Frank Sinatra, who had arranged a meeting between the gangster and Joe Kennedy Sr. before the 1960 election. Joe Sr. urged Giancana to support Jack. Giancana was non-committal, so Sinatra assured him that a Kennedy administration would give the mob a free ride in return for its support.

Bobby’s campaign against the mobsters has proven Sinatra to be a liar – and Bobby makes a virulent enemy in Sam Giancana. Back at the White House, reports are emerging of Khruschev’s intentions to build a wall between East and West Germany. John knows it would be disastrous for East Germans, but isn’t prepared to step in and fight a war they may not be able to win. Jackie becomes increasingly busy as First Lady, forcing her to spend more time away from the kids. Her responsibilities are overwhelming, and the time away from her family is taking its toll.

9:40pm Tuesday, November 8 on Prime

Drama

Just one month after the election, the Kennedys have a new baby – JFK Jr. Jackie wants privacy, but Jack puts the newborn directly in the media spotlight. Jack and Bobby try to convince their father that Bobby’s being named Attorney General would be a major mistake. But Joe Sr. insists that Jack needs someone who will be completely loyal, and he wants Bobby nearby to “keep an eye” on Jack. Both brothers are clearly upset – but what Joe Sr. wants, Joe Sr. gets. If there’s a man in Washington who’s more upset than Jack and Bobby, it’s FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover – who now has to accept Bobby as his boss.

9:40pm Tuesday, November 1 on Prime

Drama

On the morning of the 1960 Presidential election, Joe Sr. continues to pull out all the stops to guarantee Jack’s victory. Bobby, who has been drafted by his father to serve as Jack’s campaign manager, suffers the slings and arrows of Joe Sr.’s wrath as the returns take a turn against them. Bobby tells his wife Ethel that after the election – win or lose – he’s out of politics for good. Flashback to 1946 – Jack runs for Congress in Charlestown, Mass. Jack’s lack of enthusiasm – and political skill – almost sinks the campaign before it starts. He knows he’s not just running against his opponents for the House, he’s running against the ghost of his dead brother Joe, who possessed all the natural political instincts Jack does not.

9:40pm Tuesday, October 25 on Prime

Drama

Using public events as a background, The Kennedys follows the chronology of John F. Kennedy’s entrance into politics, through to his sudden departure. It is about epic achievements and private failures, about loyalty and love, resentment and betrayal, about people imbued with great gifts and burdened by great flaws, about success of Biblical proportions and tragedy worthy of the Greeks. Tonight, it is the eve of the 1960 presidential election, and John F. Kennedy is poised to become the youngest man ever elected to office. While he and a heavily pregnant Jackie are forefront in the media spotlight, behind the scenes Kennedy family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., one of America’s richest men, works furiously to ensure his son’s victory over Richard Nixon. The elder Kennedy poured $10 million of his own money into the campaign, and he drafted his other son Bobby to be the campaign manager.

Prime’s 2011 season launch includes more from their steady accumulation of programming assets that has helped the channel to successive years of 30%+ growth and unlike TV2, there are new local shows on the cards.  You probably won’t be seeing much of that NZ On Air logo at the ends of their credits either.

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The Kennedys

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