3:37pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Bill Clinton Impeachment Drama Series Scrapped at History
Ryan Murphy isn't the only one scrapping scripted projects about Monica Lewinsky.
Hours after The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported that the prolific showrunner had canceled plans for a Lewinsky-themed season of FX anthology American Crime Story, History has done the same with its Bill Clinton impeachment drama.
Picked up straight to series in September, The Breach: Inside the Impeachment of Bill Clinton was set to be a six-part scripted series from Emmy winner R.J. Cutler (Nashville). The project was poised to be based on Peter Baker’s New York Times best-seller The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton. Described as a political thriller, the series 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.
Cutler wrote the script alongside David K. Israel and was also set to direct and executive produce alongside A+E Studios' Barry Jossen. FremantleMedia North America was on board to produce. The project began a casting search for an actor to play Clinton but had trouble casting the lead. An A&E spokesperson told THR that the creative decision to scrap The Breach was made "a while ago."
Murphy, meanwhile, optioned Jeffrey Toobin's A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President in January 2017, eyeing a reunion with the author whose source material inspired the Emmy-winning People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The prolific showrunner, who recently inked a $300 million deal to move to Netflix, had wanted to cast a newcomer as Lewinsky. Murphy told THR as part of this week's cover story that he had second thoughts about taking on Lewinsky's story.
"I told her, 'Nobody should tell your story but you, and it's kind of gross if they do,'" Murphy recalls telling Lewinsky at a Hollywood party. " 'If you want to produce it with me, I would love that; but you should be the producer and you should make all the goddamn money.'"