The Kennedys, the mini-series that wasn’t a good fit for the History channel, was good enough for a handful of advertisers led by BWM and Microsoft Phone, which were presenting sponsors of the premiere episode Sunday night.
Advertisers reportedly were reluctant be associated with the controversial series, but a short list of marketers had multiple commercials in the first episode. In addition to the presenting sponsors, The Kennedys sported spots from Expedia, 1-800 Contacts, New York Life, Colgate toothbrushes, General Mills cereals, Domino’s pizza, Warner Brothers’ Arthur, Allegra, Marvin window and door, Emerald Breakfast on the Go, and Kraft singles.
There was also a promo for PBS’ Upstairs Downstairs, as well as a heavy load of promotions for a Kennedys app, the Kennedys DVD and Tuesday’s next episode.
The Kennedys was originally produced for History. After it was shot, History was reportedly pressured by the Kennedy family not to air the mini-series, and opted out, saying “while the film is produced and acted with the highest quality, after viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.” After Showtime passed, the miniseries was picked up by an obscure channel that was too overtaxed to return calls or answer email about its ad sales efforts last week. I’d prefer not to help this network’s promotional efforts by mentioning its name till I hear from someone there.
UPDATE: Heard from the folks at Reelz Channel, who apologized for misplacing my messages, which was buried by a wave of questions from viewers. Later Reelz announced that The Kennedys drew a record audience for the network.