Lifetime's College Admissions Scandal Movie Casts Penelope Ann Miller, Mia Kirshner

The quick-turnaround production has also set Michael Shanks to play the man at the center of the bribery case.
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Penelope Ann Miller (left), Mia Kirshner

Lifetime's movie about the college admissions bribery scandal has cast three of its lead roles.

Penelope Ann Miller, Mia Kirshner and Michael Shanks will star in the film, which carries the self-explanatory title The College Admissions Scandal. The cable network announced the film in late July and is planning for a quick production and premiere on Oct. 12 — which will likely make it the first of several projects on the scandal, dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues" by federal investigators, to make it to air.

Following the movie, the cabler will air an hour-long Beyond the Headlines documentary on the scandal, hosted by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.

Miller (American Crime, Riverdale) will play Caroline, an interior designer, and Kirshner (Star Trek: Discovery) will play Bethany, the head of a financial services firm. Both characters are mothers obsessed with their teenage kids being accepted into the best possible colleges. Enter William "Rick" Singer (Shanks, Stargate SG-1, Saving Hope), who offers them a "side door" to prestigious institutions.

Caroline and Bethany willingly take part in Singer's deceptions, but when he starts cooperating with the FBI, they must face the consequences of their crimes and loss of trust and respect from their families.

The real-life scandal, news of which broke in April, brought the arrests of 50 people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin; Loughlin's husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli; and film financier Bill McGlashan. The accused have been charged with crimes including paying bribes to college coaches and administrators and falsifying SAT and ACT tests to help their kids gain entrance to several schools, including Yale, Stanford and USC.

Huffman has said she will plead guilty to charges she paid someone to take the SAT for her oldest daughter and disguised the payment as a charitable donation. Loughlin and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty; they and 14 other parents also face money-laundering charges that came down after the initial indictments.

Annapurna TV is working on a limited series about the scandal, based on an upcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporters Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz. Vanity Fair writer Evgenia Peretz has optioned her story on the case to producers Rachel Horovitz and Jennifer Wachtell.

Miller is repped by Innovative Artists and Management Production Entertainment. Kirshner is repped by Innovative Artists and Trademark Talent.

Deadline first reported the castings.