There are countless examples in Hollywood of a successful film or TV project being rejected by the studios or networks before eventually going on to find a moment in the sun. But in the case of The Kennedys, this is also what happened with Reelz Channel’s PR campaign for the 2011 Primetime Emmys. The total of ten received by the Greg Kinnear–Katie Holmes drama is all the more impressive given the fact that awards season rookie Reelz was forced to do the campaigning themselves.
“We were turned down by some of the biggest [Emmy] PR firms in Los Angeles,” Reelz CEO Stan Hubbard (pictured) tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “We were basically told that we’d embarrass ourselves if we ran an Emmy campaign.”
“We literally did it in-house,” he adds. “We didn’t have a PR firm or any dedicated publicist or anything. We created some Emmy ads and made sure a screener was sent out, and talked to the press when they called.”
On the logistical side, Reelz contracted with LA firm The Awards Group and Kim Reed to make sure those screeners properly got out to TV Academy members. But the Reelz Emmy PR campaign team was basically Hubbard, his head of marketing, key art firm BPG, and Reelz’s director of communications. In hindsight, when asked, Hubbard says two reviews that stand out as being prescient with regards to the miniseries’ success were one in GQ by Tom Carson and another on page three of the New York Post by Linda Stasi.
In the wake of The Kennedys, Hubbard says he has an eye out for similar “radioactive” material. “There are some really interesting scripted projects that are out there that are, if you will, too hot to make. There’s at least one that I would love to do if I could figure out the financing on it, the international and so on. But that would be a big, big project.”
“There’s also a lot of controversial stuff that I’m not interested in. Reelz Channel is not interested in being a political channel or having a point of view.”