May 06, 2002 08:51 AM

Always a favorite family as far as TV biographies — in both dramatic and documentary form — are concerned, the Kennedys are about to show up in prime time once again, this time with the late John Kennedy Jr. front and center. Variety reports that CBS is planning a TV movie based on the new biography “American Son,” about the handsome son of President John F. Kennedy, by former George managing editor Richard Blow. An unknown will play the leading role, according to Ed Gernon, executive vice president of movies and miniseries for Alliance Atlantis, which owns the book rights with True Entertainment. This will solve the problem of having one celebrity portray another. “Ben Affleck in a JFK wig just wouldn’t work,” Gernon told Variety. A screenwriter has yet to be hired. “I envision the script as a coming-of-age story of a young man whose life was in some sense mapped out by the society that worshipped his celebrity,” Gernon said. Kennedy, 38, died along with his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, in July 1999 when the single-engine Piper plane he was piloting crashed just off of Martha’s Vineyard. According to the Internet Movie Database, nearly 20 TV programs about the Kennedys have already been produced, including the 2000 miniseries, “Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot.”

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