In the last few years, Lifetime has diversified its programming in a way that, occasionally, points to great changes for the channel. Recent examples include their acquisition of the miniseries War & Peace, as well as their series UnREAL, and even weird projects like James Franco‘s Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? But Lifetime’s bread and butter always has been — and perhaps always will be — its ripped-from-the-headlines TV movies. And somehow, they’re only now getting around to shining the spotlight on suspected killer Robert Durst.
Durst has been a mainstay in the New York tabloids for decades as the eccentric heir to a real estate fortune, but he came to national prominence after starring in Andrew Jarecki‘s heralded HBO docu-series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. (And for fans of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Fred Armisen portrayed Durst as a flame of Lillian’s). In the concluding Jinx episode, Durst seemed to admit to the three killings he’s allegedly responsible for, saying on a hot mic, “killed them all, of course.” One of the victims is potentially his first wife, Kathie Durst, who disappeared in 1982.
According to Variety, it will be through Kathie that the narrative of the movie takes place. The story will be based on Matt Birkbeck’s book A Deadly Secret: The Bizarre and Chilling Story of Robert Durst, and the adaptation will be written by Bessie‘s Bettina Gilois. Robert Durst was officially charged with the murder of his friend Susan Berman last year and was arrested in New Orleans and is awaiting trial.
The announcement of the Robert Durst movie comes on the heels of Lifetime’s announcement of a JonBenét Ramsey movie titled Who Killed JonBenét? Two decades have passed since that unimaginable tragedy, and so of course, three TV projects are planned for it — Lifetime’s movie, along with CBS’s six-part docuseries and Investigation Discovery’s three-part special.
Whether any of these will be worth watching is a little unlikely, but The Jinx is an engrossing watch, if you haven’t had a chance to catch it yet. Mostly, this all just feels like more grief for the families of the victims, even though all are sure to be ratings hits …