Category: History

TCA 2011: Marching out of Vietnam War films

TCA 2011: Joe Galloway marches out of Vietnam War films There have been dozens of movies about the Vietnam War and Joe Galloway, a UPI correspondent  during the controversial war, has walked out on nearly all of them.

Two he could sit through were 1987's "Hamburger Hill" and 2002's "We Were Soldiers," the latter based on the book he co-wrote with Harold G. Moore.

"I walked out on most Vietnam War movies," said Galloway, speaking at the summer media tour in Beverly Hills during a panel about History's upcoming "Vietnam in HD." Of the film "We Were Soldiers," Galloway added that it was "about 75% accurate, and about 25% Hollywood [embellishment]," a pretty good batting average for a movie, he joked.

Galloway is one of the many faces to be featured in the six-hour miniseries to air in the fall on History. As a young war correspondent, Galloway found himself dropped into one of the war's most fearsome battles at Ia Drang (he was played in the movie "We Were Soldiers" by Barry Pepper). In 1998, Galloway was belatedly awarded a Bronze Star for rescuing wounded soldiers under fire during the battle -- and is the only journalist from the Vietnam War to receive such an honor.


TNT renews legal drama 'Franklin & Bash'

'Walking Dead' looks ahead to a post-Darabont life

'Jersey Shore' in Italy: Actions louder than (unknown) words

-- Martin Miller

Photo: Barry Pepper, left, as Joe Galloway and Mel Gibson as Lt. Colonel Harold Moore in the 2002 movie "We Were Soldiers."

TCA 2011: Robert Mariano travels to History Channel

TCA 2011: Robert Mariano travels to History Channel

Robert "Boston Rob" Mariano sort of has a knack for spending time away from home, whether he’s competing on “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” or globetrotting as the co-host in the new History channel series "Around the World in 80 Ways." And his wife, Amber, no stranger to competition shows either, is OK with that.

“I’m very very fortunate,” Mariano said.” I have a wife that supports me. She understands that I have an adventurous spirit. She’s done the same.”

In "Around the World in 80 Ways," the "Survivor: Redemption Island" winner teams up with monster truck guru Dennis Anderson and attempts to circumnavigate the globe via 80 different modes of transportation. From a blimp and an ostrich to a chariot and water buffalo, nothing is off limits. The catch: They can't repeat a vehicle.

“It’s really an opportunity to celebrate the engineering and advancement [of transportation],” said executive producer Philip Segal.

Yeah, but he's not the one who had to zipline in Peru!

"The zipline was very irritating to me," Anderson recalled. "It was a pretty rugged looking deal. It was a 1,600-foot drop and I did it with anger."

Modes of transportation were sometimes predetermined, but some improvisation took place whenever Anderson and Mariano came across a vehicle that piqued their interest -- such as the small tractor-trailer in Zanzibar that was hauling a wagon the size of two railroad cars behind it.

"They were very cool with letting us use our ingenuity," Mariano said.

The duo traveled more than 30,000 miles, in 10 countries and over four continents in less than 70 days.

The 10-episode series will premiere later this year.


Show Tracker: TCA Press Tour news

'Walking Dead' looks ahead to a post-Darabont life

Two new wives join 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Rob Mariano. Credit: Getty Images

TV This Week for July 24th – 30th

Click here to download TV listings for the week of July 24 - 30 in PDF format

TV listings for the week of July 24 - 30 in PDF format (from

Weekly TV Listings and more can be found at:

This week's TV Movies


What would you do if you had the “Same Name” as a celeb like former “Baywatch” star David Hasselhoff — besides change your name, we mean? Perhaps you'd swap lives for a spell. That's the switcheroo premise of this new reality series. (CBS, 8:59 p.m.)

Things are looking “dicey” on “Entourage” as controversial stand-up comic Andrew Dice Clay — banned from MTV way back in the day, don't you know — will be getting his very own story arc when the showbiz comedy launches its final season. (HBO, 10:30 p.m.)

Et-lojrtlnc-jul24 MONDAY

Too often, a local tragedy makes national news, then fades away before the facts of the case become clear. The documentary “There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane” digs deeper, revisiting a horrific 2009 car crash in upstate New York that claimed the lives of eight people. (HBO, 9 p.m.) 


The documentary “Google World” maps the many online territories claimed by the Web-based behemoth, while “Frontline” (right) visits “The Pot Republic” — also known as California — to examine marijuana use, medical or otherwise, here in the Golden State. (KCET, 9 p.m.; KOCE, 9 p.m.)


Life, liberty and the pursuit of beef, chicken and pork … mmm, pork: It's all on the menu in “Meat America.” Host Jamie Stachowski consorts and cavorts with carnivores from Chicago all the way down to Texas in this protein-rich special. (History, 9 p.m.)

Et-lolen3nc-jul24 THURSDAY

Heidi, ho! Super-est of the supermodels and hostess with the most-est Heidi Klum joins mentor-mensch Tim Gunn and judges Nina Garcia and Michael Kors as the fashion-design competition “Project Runway” sashays into its ninth season. (Lifetime, 9 p.m.)


Are you ready to rock? No? OK, we'll give you a moment. How about now? Bon Jovi, Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks and the Killers are among the acts putting on a jolly good show in London's Hyde Park in the concert special “Hard Rock Calling 2011.” (VH1, 11 p.m.)


Ben Affleck got back to his Boston roots when he directed and starred in the gritty 2010 crime drama “The Town.” But Johnny Depp would have done better to just stay home rather than play “The Tourist” opposite Angelina Jolie (left) in that pretty but pretty vapid 2010 thriller. (HBO, 8 p.m.; Starz, 9 p.m.)

Photo credits: Frontline; "The Tourist": Peter Mountain Columbia TriStar

Kevin Costner to star in History channel's 'The Hatfields and McCoys'

Kevincostner Call it "Field of Feuds."

Kevin Costner will star in "The Hatfields and McCoys," a new miniseries from cable's History network that will retell the story of the feuding families from the late 19th century American South.

The miniseries, eyed for a 2012 premiere, will be produced by Leslie Greif, best known as a co-creator of "Walker, Texas Ranger."

A spillover from the American Civil War, the Hatfield-McCoy feud started in 1865 after a member of the McCoy family, which mainly fought for the Union, was murdered by a band of ex-Confederates that was said to include "Devil" Anse Hatfield, whom Costner will portray. (Historians now believe that Devil Hatfield in fact was home ill when the murder took place.) The killing touched off a 25-year feud that led to gruesome revenge killings and eventually involved the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Everyone knows the legend of the Hatfields-McCoy feud, but few know the true story of what occurred to make the two families become mortal enemies," Costner said in a statement. "As an avid history fan, I am thrilled to join with Leslie Greif and History in this dramatic retelling of a classic and timeless tale that is forever immersed in the folklore of our country."

No word on whether Costner will rock the chest-length beard that Devil Hatfield wore during his life.


Mark Burnett brings the Bible to the History channel

History channel announces new slate

HBO renews "Treme" for third season

-- Scott Collins

Photo: Kevin Costner in Phoenix in March. Credit: Michael Buckner / Getty Images

Jousting, anyone? History Channel announces new slate at upfronts.

New series about jousting, inventions and statistics will highlight the History Channel's new lineup, executives for the cable network announced Tuesday at their upfront presentation.

The new slate will include "Full Metal Jousting," featuring a "maverick group of fighters" competing for top honors in jousting competitions. "Invention USA'" will focus on tech and science experts Riechart Von Wolfshield and Garrett Lisi who travel around the country, visiting with amateur inventors who have developed what they hope is the next big thing. Another new series, "United Stats of America," will utilize raw data from various sources and visualize "these surprising facts about who we are in a surprising new way."

Previously announced series include "American Restoration," in which business owner Rick Dale restores customers' old items and turns them into collectibles, and "Around the World in 80 Ways," in which hosts Robert "Boston Rob" Mariano ("The Amazing Race") and Dennis Anderson, creator of the monster truck Grave Digger, race around the world using various modes of transportation, and "How the States Got Their Shapes," about the boundaries of the various states.

-- Greg Braxton


TV This Week for March 20th – 26th

Click here to download TV listings for the week of March 20 - 26 in PDF format

TV listings for the week of March 20 - 26 in PDF format (from

Weekly TV Listings and more can be found at:

This week's TV Movies


While you’re sitting there in your pajamas, sipping your morning coffee and reading this, hundreds of your fellow citizens are running from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica in the “L.A. Marathon.” The least you can do is tune in and cheer them on. (KTLA, 7 a.m.)



“40 Funniest Fails” succeeds in the alliterative-title department, but the “win” stops there. Clips of unwise and tomfool-ish behavior, culled from TV and the Internet, are featured in this special hosted by comedian Julian McCullough and his puppet pal Ralphy. (VH1, 9 p.m.)


“Cheers’“ Kirstie Alley, “Kendra’s’“ Kendra Wilkinson and the “Karate Kid” himself — no, not Jaden Smith but Ralph Macchio — are among the celebrities putting their best feet forward on a new season of the mega-hit “Dancing With the Stars.” (ABC, 8 p.m.)


“Top Chef’s” Marcel Vigneron puts a futuristic spin on the cooking-and-catering show with “Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen.” We can’t wait to see his take on the classic soylent-green casserole; you might say the secret ingredient is … people! (Syfy, 10 p.m.)


The crust? That’s kind of a “staycation.” And the mantle is lovely this time of year, but try booking space this late in the season. So if you really want to get away from it all, take a “Journey to the Earth’s Core” in this new special. (History, 9 p.m.)


Expect nary an F-bomb or N-word — this is TV, after all — when “Community” pays homage to director Quentin Tarantino’s foul-mouthed 1994 crime tale “Pulp Fiction.” With Yvette Nicole Brown and Gillian Jacobs (above, from left). (NBC, 8 p.m.)


Alexandre Dumas’ “The Corsican Brothers” it ain’t … except that it kind of is: Wonder-twin teen stars Cole and Dylan Sprouse of “The Suite Life” and “The Suite Life on Deck” feel each other’s joys and pains in “The Suite Life Movie.” (Disney, 8 p.m.)


Amanda Seyfried is “Chloe,” a call girl who upends the lives of a married couple (Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore) in director Atom Egoyan’s sexy yet silly 2009 thriller, followed by Ms. Seyfried opposite Channing Tatum in Lasse Hallström’s rather more conventional 2010 romantic drama “Dear John.” (Starz, 9 and 10:40 p.m.)

Photo credit: Lewis Jacobs / NBC

‘Kennedys’ miniseries producer Joel Surnow rips Democrats for blocking History network airing

Joelsurnow America next month will finally see "The Kennedys," the controversial miniseries about the family story behind President Kennedy. But producer Joel Surnow is still sore at Democratic VIPs who he believes blocked the project from airing on the History cable network.

"I truly believe that this project would have seen the light of day on History Channel if the exact same film had been produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg," said Surnow, a co-creator of the spy caper "24" who is well-known in Hollywood for his conservative views.

Members of the Kennedy family -- including the president's daughter, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, and former California First Lady Maria Shriver, the president's niece -- are believed to have lodged private protests against the show, though neither has talked publicly about doing so. But Surnow said that "The Kennedys" fell victim to the same forces that pressed ABC over its 2006 miniseries "The Path to 9/11." That miniseries roused the ire of such Democratic notables as President Clinton and his secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.

"Some of those same people who were involved in that were involved with this," the producer said in an interview Thursday, breaking months of silence about the controversy. 

"The Kennedys" stars Greg Kinnear as President Kennedy, Katie Holmes as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Tom Wilkinson as Joe Kennedy, the clan's hyper-ambitious patriarch. ReelzChannel will broadcast the miniseries in the U.S. April 3.  

"It always felt from the very, very beginning of the project that at one point my known politics as a conservative might be a problem," Surnow said. "I'd always assumed the Kennedy family might have an objection to their family story being told by somebody that they perceive to be not friendly to them."

But when it comes to storytelling, he added, "I've never had any political agenda." Surnow said he believed that Kennedy was a "good president" who matured while in office, a journey he says the miniseries depicts. "The premise of the Kennedys miniseries was to take the iconic figures and turn them into flesh and blood people," he said.

Surnow said he started getting the idea that "The Kennedys" was in trouble on History when a movie trailer planned for December failed to materialize, and then the network backed out of presenting a session on the show at the January TV press tour in Pasadena. "All of a sudden, it felt like the marketing started getting stalled," he said. "There was pressure above History Channel from the board."

Above all, Surnow wants to dispel the notion that the miniseries is fact-challenged in any way. Two historians signed off on the scripts, he said, and the network never gave the producers a chance to correct any errors that may have been found.

"The show is not historically inaccurate," Surnow said. 


Producers of 'The Kennedys' finally get a U.S. outlet on ReelzChannel

History network pulls plug on Kennedys miniseries

--Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Joel Surnow is the writer-producer behind ReelzChannel's "The Kennedys."

Credit: Al Seib /Los Angeles Times




Producers of 'The Kennedys' finally get a U.S. outlet on ReelzChannel

A U.S. home has finally been found for "The Kennedys."

The eight-hour miniseries about the life and loves of President John F. Kennedy (Greg Kinnear) and his storied family is headed to ReelzChannel, the Albuquerque-based digital outlet available in about 60 million U.S. homes.

"The Kennedys," which cost an estimated $30 million, was pushed into the TV marketplace after History, the cable outlet that helped finance the miniseries, decided last month not to air the project in the U.S. Historians who advised the producers raised qualms about its accuracy. Surviving members of the political dynasty - including Caroline Kennedy, the president's daughter - are believed to have pressured the network not to run the miniseries.

Last week, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the president's nephew, told Access Hollywood: "I don’t think that — in any case, whoever it’s about — that we should be teaching history to Americans that is not true." 

The producers say they are satisfied with the project's accuracy.

"The Kennedys" is due to premiere on Reelz on April 3. News of the Reelz deal first appeared on The Hollywood Reporter's website.

-- Scott Collins

(Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Greg Kinnear, center, as President Kennedy in "The Kennedys." Credit: Muse Entertainment


DirecTV votes down 'The Kennedys' as producers struggle to sell miniseries

Finding a safe haven for "The Kennedys" is proving much tougher than many had imagined.

Word came late Friday that DirecTV was the latest outlet to pass on the four-hour miniseries that examines the rise of President Kennedy (Greg Kinnear) and his controversial family.

That's bad news for the producers, who had hoped that the satellite TV provider would offer a last-minute rescue for a $30-million project that has already been rejected by Starz, Showtime, FX and other outlets.

The travails for "The Kennedys" started earlier this month, after word leaked that cable network History had given the thumbs-down to the project over concerns about accuracy. Family members, including Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver, are also said to have strongly objected to the program in contacts with corporate bosses overseeing the cable network.

The producers' next move is unclear. But they insist that "The Kennedys" will still air in Canada no matter its fate in the U.S.

-- Scott Collins

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

Photo: Greg Kinnear, center, leads the cast of "The Kennedys." Credit: Muse Entertainment



'The Kennedys' still without U.S. network to air miniseries

The producers of "The Kennedys" miniseries are running out of options in their quest to find a U.S. network to air the series.

Word leaked out this week that FX, Starz and Showtime had all passed on the show. The producers are said to be shopping for a deal at AMC and even the HD movie channel start-up Epix, but as of late Thursday nothing seemed close to fruition.

The producer's dilemma started when cable network History decided not to air the four-hour saga of the Kennedy family's rise to political power, after complaints from Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, and former California First Lady Maria Shriver, the late president's niece.

"The Kennedys" stars Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes as Jacqueline Kennedy.

Most network executives are said to be highly skittish about running the miniseries due to fears that political backlash. The producers have defended the accuracy of the project.

The miniseries, which cost an estimated $30 million to make, was produced by Joel Surnow, a former executive producer of the Fox drama "24."

Canadian broadcaster Shaw Media has committed to air the miniseries in that country sometime early this year.

-- Scott Collins

Photo: A scene from "The Kennedys." Credit: Muse Entertainment




History Network pulls plug on Kennedy miniseries

The Kennedys may have no one left serving on Capitol Hill, but the family still has enough clout to keep a miniseries about their political dynasty from airing in the United States.

In a statement, the History Channel said it has decided not air "The Kennedys," an eight-part miniseries about the family that starred Greg Kinnear as President John F. Kennedy, Katie Holmes as his wife Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy and Barry Pepper as his brother Bobby Kennedy. 

"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," the network said in a statement. 

The History Channel had not set a date for the miniseries to air. It was expected to run later this spring, and is scheduled to premiere in March in Canada.

The concern from both the Kennedy family and their associates about this miniseries from Joel Surnow, a creator of the Fox action show "24," was no secret. Heavy lobbying by the family and friends of the family played a key role in getting the project yanked, people close to the situation said.

People close to the Kennedys got their hands on an early script for the program and immediately blasted it. The late Theodore Sorensen, a senior advisor to President Kennedy, called the draft he saw a "one-sided right-wing script" that was "vindictive" and "malicious" in a short film about the project made by Robert Greenwald, a documentary filmmaker.  Some people even managed to see the first few episodes of the completed program.

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president, also made an effort to get the project stopped in its tracks. She lobbied Anne Sweeney, a top television executive at Walt Disney Co., one of the three companies that co-owns History Channel. The other two companies that own the network are NBC Universal and Hearst Corp.

Kennedy has ties to both Sweeney and Disney. She has a book deal with Disney's publishing unit Hyperion, which is set to publish a book of previously unreleased interviews with the late Jacqueline Kennedy this fall. Caroline Kennedy is to edit and write the introduction for the book, and is likely to help promote it.

On a more personal level, Sweeney is on the board of the Special Olympics, which was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the president's sister.

Maria Shriver, the daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, also has connections to NBC Universal, having had a long relationship with the company as a reporter and anchor for NBC News.

Although History Channel has passed on the project, it will air elsewhere around the world and could find a new home in the United States should another television outlet strike a deal with the producers, Aslyum Entertainment and Muse Entertainment.

In a statement, the two companies said, "We are proud of the work all of our talent put into the making of The Kennedys and the painstaking efforts that went into creating a drama that is compelling while rich in historic detail. Although we regret this does not fit into the History Channel’s plans, we are confident that television viewers in the United States will join viewers from around the world in having an opportunity to watch this series in the near future."

History Channel also has sister networks it could run the series on including Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network. However, it seems that the parent companies of all those channels are looking to move on despite all the money invested in the project.

This is not the first time a political family was able to persuade a network to not run a program. Several years ago, the Reagan family and friends of the former president were instrumental in getting CBS to not carry its movie about his life. It did eventually run on Showtime, the pay cable channel that is in far fewer homes.

-- Joe Flint


'Top Gear' recap: American, and proud of it

Topgearep4-2Episode 4 got me wondering: Who has more testosterone coursing through his slender bod? Tanner Foust, who raced Ford's mega-beast F-150 Raptor through the Arizonan scrub, or his competitor, the unidentified HALO jumper, who bulleted downward through the clouds at 120 miles per hour?

Until Episode 4, Foust was pretty unrivaled in his machismo. But this unnamed military member was spectacular to watch as he jumped from 25,000 feet and tumbled through the air like a rag doll with a contrail exiting at his foot.

Perhaps it was because the opening segment was so cool that its follow-up seemed so mundane. First, the not-so-new Mercedes-Benz Gullwing has been covered to death. Second, I'm just tired of watching Adam Ferrara floor fancy-pants sports cars in a straight line.

Note to BBC Worldwide's producers: Get this man to Bondurant.

I will give Ferrara this. He's excellent on his feet. While much of "Top Gear's" colorful monologuery sounds like it could have been written by my former colleague, Dan Neil, and the show's stunning cinematography is often used to cover up for the driving inadequacies of two of its three hosts, Ferrara has a great sense of comedy.

I loved his narration of entering the Gullwing, which included "Sharon Stone" as a seating position. And his description of the SLS "running out of ass," when he talked about the car's unfinished rear end, was brilliant.

Now. About Kid Rock. Say what you will about his music, or his lifestyle, but I appreciated what he had to say about his hometown. I think he spoke for a lot of Americans who are waiting for the Big Three Detroit automakers to reclaim their past greatness and come up with innovative designs that speak to a new generation.

Like the Ford F-150 Raptor that opened the episode -- if it got better than 14ish mpg.

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Ford F-150 Raptor. Credit: History


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