Congratulations to ReelzChannel for their successful launch of The Kennedys last night, which enticed 1.9 million viewers for a 2.5 household rating for the network. I don't usually talk about ratings -- not my area of expertise -- but you may want to check out this article from The Hollywood Reporter for more information and to read ReelzChannel's statement about the performance.
I wasn't expecting any great revelations from the mini, and I was pleased that at least it wasn't wince-inducing. Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper are doing good work as JFK and RFK, respectively. (I especially liked the scene where JKF is addressing a group of Gold Star Mothers and finds his empathetic mojo; a nice emotional scene which starts out crass and ends up meaning something.) Tom Wilkinson, who is never less than terrific, is a driven Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., propelling his sons forward into the respectability through public service that he never quite achieved despite his vast wealth and business acumen. At this point it's hard to believe that anyone would be surprised that Joe Sr. threw his money around to grease the election results, but it's entertaining to see Wilkinson portray such a shrewd villain and one with such a sense of destiny.
Katie Holmes is doing just fine as Jackie Kennedy, giving off the right amount of spunk, class and discomfort. You believe Jackie understood her decision to tie her fortune to the Kennedy clan was full of compromise and ambiguity, something we'll see more of in the coming installments. None of the actors have anything to apologize for with their performances here, and if The Kennedys isn't going to rewrite history or lay bare a family's soul for more public consumption, at least it's a worthy way to spend a few hours. Considering a lot of what else is on TV these days, it's a big step up.
The Kennedys continues tomorrow night -- with an encore tonight of the initial two hours from last night -- and through Friday, with the final two hours next Sunday. Visit The Kennedys on the ReelzChannel website for complete information.