Q&A with C.J.: Stan E. Hubbard still relishes 'Kennedys'

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 15, 2012 - 5:54 PM

Charming and reserved, ReelzChannel CEO Stan E. Hubbard still gets mildly excited recalling the results from gambling on "The Kennedys" mini-series.

"That's the program that more than anything, looking back, will have defined what the Reelz Channel is and Reelz Network," Hubbard told me.

I caught up with the eldest son of the also charming Stanley S. Hubbard, chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns New Mexico-based Reelz, when Stan E was at HQ a couple of months ago. Stan E was still beaming over those four Emmy Awards that "The Kennedys" won on 10 nominations. Not bad for a project other networks found "radioactive" because surviving Kennedys didn't want it to be seen. Once it aired, the controversy went away, Stan E believes, because the mini-series was not "an abomination of history."

Hubbard believes Reelz's current mini-series in rotation, "Bomb Girls," starring Meg Tilly, is good TV, as is October's "World Without End," with starring Cynthia Nixon in this $46 million sequel to Ken Follett's book, "Pillars of the Earth." He's also excited about "Barabbas," starring Billy Zane, and a show about a Beverly Hills pawn shop.

Hubbard's home life is not mini-series material. But his family keeps things interesting for the man whose residence has undergone a ZIP code inversion from MN to NM.

Q Who whines more about the weather, residents of Minnesota or New Mexico?

A I think residents of Minnesota have more to whine about; that's an easy one.

Q How do you like New Mexico?

A As a guy who lived here for 48 years and has spent three years in New Mexico, it's surprisingly nice. Albuquerque as a city is a little bit bigger than Minneapolis' population-wise, but it is very much a big small town, not a small big city. ... And I thought I saw a traffic jam a year or two ago, but it disappeared quickly.

Q Three boys under 7 years of age. Think you'll go for one more, maybe a girl?

A If I get the little one out of diapers before I'm in 'em things, we'll be going good. ... Three is a good number for us, especially at my age.

Q You resisted marriage a long time -- What were the qualities your wife has that moved you across the threshold?

A Oh, I'm not sure I resisted it so much as it resisted me. I was lucky to find Jennifer. I got married at the ripe old age of 41. ... I'm lucky I waited. Got the right one.

Q Do you miss hockey?

A I do miss hockey. One of nice things is I watch NHL Center Ice on DirecTV. So you can see a lot of games. I can follow the Minnesota Wild. We try to get back a couple times a year to go to some Wild games. [His eldest son] in particular loves hockey. When we moved out he was 4 and he said, Dad, you said I could play hockey this year. I said, "We'll try to find a program," not thinking we could find one. But we did. So he plays on the mite team.

Q Those three ribs you broke, that was hockey related?

A I broke three ribs last winter helping to coach the mite team. When a guy from Minnesota shows up, right away they act as if he can help and teach some of the younger kids how to skate. Someone took my legs out [from underneath me, sent me airbound] and boom. Broke three ribs in the back. Couldn't breathe, couldn't laugh. If you sneeze it feels like you got hit by a sniper. But it heals up.

Q John Salley's Reelz interview show went away and I know why. Salley didn't have a spine. He was the kind of interviewer who would have been uncomfortable asking, say, Justin Bieber about that 100-mph Fisker escapade and only would have talked about what movies the Biebs enjoyed. ... Chelsea Handler is a very abrasive personality on TV and she has no shortage of guests.

A I do know most entities that cover celebrities get intimidated by them, to some extent. I will take a mental note of that. I think John does have a spine. I think he's a really good, smart, thoughtful, engaging guy. For the show we were trying to make, he was probably the wrong guy.

Q Did you get to spend time with "The Kennedys" star Katie Holmes?

A I did, and she is absolutely delightful. A true professional. ... Katie Holmes captured Jackie, and she didn't get that critical recognition because people remember Jackie as a more mature woman, not the 31-year-old First Lady who she was. When those tapes came out some months later of Jackie Kennedy, it was Katie Holmes. She and her team quickly embraced what we needed to do and got behind our really shortened public relations effort. And she brought the husband to our red carpet premiere. And by the way, he was delightful in the one very short meeting we had with Tom.

Interviews are edited for space and clarity. You can reach C.J. at cj@startribune.com and see her on Fox 9.

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