After years of charting the Kennedy clan's personal and political intrigues, celebrity biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli
now finds himself embroiled in one of them.
Recently, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy's camp convinced NBC to delay the airing of Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot, a four-hour miniseries based on Taraborrelli's best-selling pageturner about the long-suffering Kennedy wives. Originally scheduled to air during the first week of November sweeps, the mini—which stars Law & Order's Jill Hennessy, Lauren Holly and Leslie Stefanson as the titular brides—now won't be seen until February 2001.
Taraborrelli says he wasn't surprised when NBC West Coast president Scott Sassa decided it would be "inappropriate" to air the special as originally scheduled, just two nights before Sen. Kennedy's Nov. 7 bid for reelection. "Ted Kennedy is a political animal, like all of the Kennedys," he tells TV Guide Online. "I can completely understand that he wouldn't want to [risk] being portrayed in a light that may affect his [campaign] negatively." (On the plus side, the author's also relieved that his mini is no longer slated to air directly opposite CBS's competing Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life.)
Fueled by fresh, spicy insider anecdotes, Women of Camelot unblushingly details the indignities endured by the spouses of skirt-chasing Kennedy brothers John, Robert and Ted during the so-called "Camelot years" from 1960 to 1980. "Historically, these women were treated as if they weren't there," Taraborrelli says. "Growing up, when I heard about JFK and Marilyn Monroe, the reports were given as if he were single I thought Jackie must've had a point of view about that. And I was amazed that Joan had a miscarriage during [the Chappaquiddick scandal], without anybody really thinking how horrible that must've been for her. Their story should be told."
Taraborrelli is already at work on a sequel called Jackie, Ethel, Joan: After Camelot, which will find the ladies commiserating over their headline-grabbing children. With a gleeful glint in his eye, the writer promises an in-depth look at scandals including "Jackie dealing with JFK Jr.'s affair with Madonna, which is really cool."