Following the news that Ryan Murphy would not tell Monica Lewinsky’s story in a season of American Crime Story, History is now announcing that they have also halted plans for a series based on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. The six-part series was picked up with a straight-to-series order in September with Nashville‘s R.J. Cutler and David K. Israel were tapped to write.
Based on Peter Baker’s The Break: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton, the project was described as a political thriller and was to offer a detailed account of how the Lewinsky scandal unfolded, taking viewers inside the war rooms on both sides of the political aisle, the clashes among the president’s advisers, the secret negotiations between the White House and Congress, and the pressure from both sides to either push Clinton out or force him to resign.
In addition to writing, Cutler was attached to direct and executive produce with A+E Studios’ Barry Jossen. The project hailed from FremantleMedia North America.
While the decision to drop the miniseries was reportedly made “a while ago”, the news came the same day Murphy revealed in an interview that he would not do a Lewinsky story unless the activist produced it with American Crime Story producer.
The past year has seen a huge conversation in the media about women controlling their own narratives. Ditching shows about Lewinsky, who saw the media dictate a negative narrative around her that defined her life in the public eye for years, seems like a great next step.
Murphy has found great success in recent years with rewriting narratives about women such as Marcia Clarke’s depiction in the media in People vs. OJ and the sexist spin placed on the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in the first season of Feud. The showrunner has sparked a great drive for anthology series based on real events but now Murphy may be sparking a new shift away from them.
Emily J | Managing Editor