JFK Assassination, 50 Years Later: A Guide to How TV Is Remembering the 35th President
Killing Kennedy debuted Sunday night on National Geographic Channel, bringing in a ratings bump still two weeks before the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination. As Nov. 22 approaches, there is still a slew of JFK-centric programming hitting the small screen.
The television specials, airing by a diverse group of networks, reflect on Kennedy's life, sprawling family, legacy and tragic death -- perhaps also to inform younger generations of the historical significance of the events surrounding the president's assassination.
The Kennedy-themed TV schedule kicked off on Sunday, Nov. 3 with various retrospectives and will culminate in extensive coverage of the anniversary day ceremonies.
Continue reading for a list of JFK 50th anniversary television specials. While the initial air-dates are listed, many of the shows will repeat throughout November.
NOVA: “Cold Case JFK”
PBS, Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
This special episode of NOVA explores what modern science can reveal to us about Kennedy’s assassination. It is the first time since the original investigation by the FBI laboratory that forensic scientists trained in firearms identification and shooting-scene reconstruction review the ballistics evidence in the Dallas shooting.
Secrets of the Dead: “JFK: One PM Central Standard Time”
PBS, Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
George Clooney narrates this special, which chronicles the assassination of Kennedy, from the fatal shooting until Walter Cronkite's sorrowful pronouncement of the president's death one hour and eight minutes later. Also featured are rarely seen archival footage from the CBS newsroom and local broadcasts in Dallas.
48 Hours Presents: “As It Happened: John F. Kennedy 50 Years”
CBS, Saturday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer looks at the life of the young president, his impact in the nation and how the events of 1963 continue to drive debates even today. The hourlong special features interviews with Dr. Kenneth Salyer, who in 1963 was on the team that tried to save the President, and author and historian Robert Caro.
Meet the Press
NBC, Sunday, Nov. 17
Tom Brokaw discusses his documentary Where Were You: The Day JFK Died, which airs later that week.
This Week with George Stephanopoulos
ABC, Sunday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. ET/PT
Following a special tribute to JFK, this installment will include a live panel discussion on the impact of Kennedy's legacy.
Kennedy’s Suicide Bomber
Smithsonian Channel, Sunday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
This hourlong documentary tells the lesser-known story of Richard Pavlick, a man who tried to kill President-Elect Kennedy in Palm Beach, Florida a month before JFK's presidency began.
The Day Kennedy Died
Smithsonian Channel, Sunday, Nov. 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
This two-hour special, narrated by Kevin Spacey, recounts the day with eyewitness accounts from a Secret Service agent, the doctor who tried to save the president, the man wrongly accused of Kennedy's murder and a bystander who was injured by shrapnel from one of the bullets fired at the president.
Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy
TLC, Sunday, Nov. 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Based on a book of similar name, this special focuses on Jackie Kennedy’s life following the death of her husband. More than 20 actors, including Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Zooey Deschanel, Anne Hathaway, JohnKrasinski, Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Octavia Spencer and Channing Tatum read some of the most powerful letters she received from mourners across the globe.
My Days in Dallas: A Remembrance with Dan Rather
AXS TV, Monday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Dan Rather, who was on the ground covering JFK’s trip to Dallas in 1963, gives a first-hand report of the events that occurred that day in this retrospective.