The Kennedys (lost unaired pilot of American remake of "The Royle Family" British comedy TV series; 2002)
A cast photo from The Royle Family, the series that The Kennedys aimed to bring to an American audience.
The Kennedys is an American sitcom pilot that was produced in 2001 for CBS. The pilot was an American adaptation of the British comedy series The Royle Family. Many British viewers doubted that the pilot would be successful as The Royle Family has many British cultural references that seemed difficult to adapt to an American audience. Though CBS produced the pilot, they did not pick it up for a full series, and the pilot has never resurfaced online.
The Royle Family was created and co-written by Craig Cash and Caroline Aherne. It aired on BBC1 from 1998 to 2012, with three seasons total and several yearly television specials.
The series centered around a Manchester family, comprising of father Jim, mother Barbara, daughter Denise, son Anthony, and nana Norma. Several supporting characters, such as Denise’s boyfriend Dave and friend Cheryl, appear throughout the series. Each episode takes place within the family home, and the storylines often involve everyday activities and conversations.
The series was a massive success in Britain. Its third season boasted nearly 10 million viewers, and many critics praised the show for its clever writing and down-to-earth feel. Jim Royle, the father of the family, even made Channel 4’s Top 100 Characters list at spot #11. The show went on to receive several BAFTA awards, including Best Situation Comedy.
The American Pilot
In 2001, it was announced that CBS was going to produce a pilot for an American adaptation of The Royle Family. This new series would be called The Kennedys. Randy Quaid was announced to play the father character.
Initially, Royle Family creator Caroline Aherne was signed on to help with the project, however she later left, citing that she felt she was losing control. She allegedly stayed on as a consultant. Wally Wolodarsky and Maya Forbes were also set to executive produce and co-write the pilot.
Little is known about the pilot itself. Sources claim that it was set in Boston, Massachusetts and followed a working-class family. It is said that the pilot (and series, if it had been picked up for one) would’ve adapted several storylines from Royle Family.
Randy Quaid is confirmed to have played the father. Unverified sources claim that Pamela Reed played the mother, John Francis Daley played the son, Sarah Ann Morris played the daughter, and Angela Paton played the grandmother. Page Kennedy is also alleged to have played the daughter’s boyfriend.
The pilot was not picked up for a full series by CBS, though there is no known reason for why.
Since the pilot was not picked up by CBS, it has become unavailable for public viewing. Like with many dropped television pilots, it is unknown if the studio still has access to it, or if they have plans to release it. Information is scarce on the pilot, and no images or video clips have resurfaced.
- A brief summary on the production of The Royle Family. Retrieved 03 Jan '23
- A plot summary for The Royle Family. Retrieved 03 Jan '23
- The ratings for Royle Family. Retrieved 03 Jan '23
- Channel 4’s Top Characters list. Retrieved 03 Jan '23
- Some of the BAFTAs received by The Royle Family. Retrieved 03 Jan '23
- The announcement for The Kennedys. Retrieved 03 Jan '23
- An LA Times article on the pilot. Retrieved 03 Jan '23
- An article discussing details of the pilot. Retrieved 03 Jan '23