12:11pm PT by Kate Stanhope
Bill Clinton Impeachment Drama Series Greenlighted at History
History is digging back into former President Bill Clinton's impeachment for its next scripted drama series.
The cabler has greenlighted a six-part series from Emmy winner R.J. Cutler titled The Breach: Inside the Impeachment of Bill Clinton, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The series is described as a "political thriller" that offers an extremely detailed account of how the Monica Lewinsky scandal unfolded. The drama aims to take viewers inside the war rooms on both sides of the political aisle, the clashes amongst the president's advisors, 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 Clinton himself, other major players in the historic 1998 events include then-first lady Hillary Clinton, Republican politician Newt Gingrich, prosecutor Ken Starr and congressman Bob Livingston, among others.
The project is based on Peter Baker’s New York Times best-seller The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton.
Cutler penned the pilot with David K. Israel and will also direct. Cutler will executive produce alongside A+E Studios' Barry Jossen. FremantleMedia North America will produce in association with A+E Studios, and FremantleMedia International will also handle global distribution. Casting is currently underway.
The order comes as History has been pushing further into scripted series with Vikings, which recently earned an early season six pickup, and the military drama Six. Upcoming projects include the Jeremy Renner-produced Knightfall and the UFO drama Blue Book from Robert Zemeckis.
“Featuring an array of well-known modern political figures, The Breach will bring audiences behind the scenes of an event that changed Washington forever — the first impeachment of an elected president in American history,” History exec vp programming Eli Lehrer said Thursday in a statement. “This drama builds upon our core scripted programming slate of compelling, contemporary storytelling that embraces our recent history and we are confident R.J. will bring a unique vision to President Clinton’s gripping story.”
For FremantleMedia, The Breach joins a growing list of scripted series that includes Starz' American Gods and HBO's The Young Pope.
“This is a moment in American history that altered the direction of this country," said Dante Di Loreto, FremantleMedia North America's president scripted entertainment. "It’s a deeply emotional and personal story that caused one of the biggest political storms in our history. FremantleMedia is home to some of the finest creative talent around the world. We’re thrilled to now be partnering with R.J. and History on The Breach.”
Cutler famously made a name for himself as a producer on the Oscar-nominated 1992 documentary The War Room that documented Clinton's first presidential campaign. He also directed the political films A Perfect Candidate and The World According to Dick Cheney, in addition to his work on scripted series like Nashville.
“Set at the dawn of the cable news wars and the social media revolution, The Breach is a remarkable political story,” said Cutler. “It’s the origin tale of how our government was broken and has never really healed. It’s also a thrilling tale of personal and professional ambition, of enormous hubris in the name of acquiring power and of personal foibles, all of which nearly brought down a presidency.”
In addition to The Breach, prolific producer Ryan Murphy is also prepping a potential scripted series project centered on Clinton's affair with Lewinsky. In January, he optioned Jeffrey Toobin's A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President for a potential upcoming season of his American Crime Story anthology at FX.