FX’s anthology series American Crime Story is, hands-down, one of the best shows on television, so I’ve learned to trust the producers when they settle on a piece of material. The first season chronicled the controversial O.J. Simpson trial, while the second season focused on the thrilling manhunt of Gianni Versace‘s murderer, Andrew Cunanan. The two seasons were nominated for 41 Emmys in total, ultimately winning 16 statues. And while it’s hard to capture lightning in a bottle for a third time, FX has found the perfect story for the show’s upcoming season — Bill Clinton‘s presidential sex scandal and subsequent impeachment.
The role of Clinton has yet to be cast, but Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein will play White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who entered into a consensual affair with the President while he was married to Hillary Clinton. The power dynamic between the two certainly raises some interesting questions, especially in the #MeToo-era. Meanwhile, Lewinsky was turned into a national punchline, all because she was a young woman who was seduced by the Most Powerful Man on Earth. It’s a sad story all around, folks, and I can’t wait to see how ACS tackles these events, which played out in public for all to see.
Feldstein will be joined by Sarah Paulson, who played O.J. prosecutor Marcia Clark on the first season of American Crime Story, as well as Annaleigh Ashford. Paulson will play Linda Tripp, while Ashford will play Paula Jones.
Titled Impeachment: American Crime Story, the third season will be based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Production will begin in February, and the series will premiere on Sept. 27, 2020.
Sarah Burgess will write the script as well as executive produce alongside Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Alexis Martin Woodall, and Paulson. The series hails from Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions, and the third season will be produced by Henrietta Conrad, Jemima Kahn, and Lewinsky, whose hellish personal experience will no doubt be invaluable to this series.
“FX’s American Crime Story franchise has become a cultural touchstone, providing greater context for stories that deserve greater understanding like the O.J. Simpson trial and saga, and Andrew Cunanan’s tragic crime spree which concluded with the assassination of Gianni Versace,” said John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions. “This franchise re-examines some of the most complicated, polarizing stories in recent history in a way that is relevant, nuanced and entertaining. Impeachment: American Crime Story will likewise explore the overlooked dimensions of the women who found themselves caught up in the scandal and political war that cast a long shadow over the Clinton Presidency.”
We’d already known that the ACS producers had had their eye on the Clinton scandal as far back as 2017, though it was believed that FX had scrapped those plans along with a season surrounding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which had already started casting. While I certainly hope that story is told one day, whether by FX and the ACS team or another network entirely, the Clinton-Lewinsky story is just too juicy to pass up at this extremely competitive time in the TV business, as the streaming wars heat up and traditional cable networks hunger for statement shows that will bring eyeballs — and think pieces.
Paulson is a mainstay on FX, where she has starred on multiple seasons of American Horror Story, and is currently working on the Cate Blanchett series Mrs. America. Feldstein and Ashford are no strangers to the network either, as the former appeared on the FX comedy series What We Do in the Shadows, while the latter played Elizabeth Cote in Season 2 of American Crime Story.
Paulson is represented by CAA, while WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners represent Feldstein. Ashford is repped by ICM Partners and Beth Rosner Management.