On Tuesday, FX used its time at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour to announce that season three will focus on the saga of the Clinton presidency scandal with Monica Lewinsky on board to produce.
Impeachment: American Crime Story will star frequent Murphy muse Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp; Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird, Booksmart, FX’s What We Do in the Shadows) as Lewinsky; and Annaleigh Ashford (season two of ACS, Masters of Sex) as Paula Jones. Sarah Burgess penned the script for the season, which is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s best-seller A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. It is the same book that Murphy optioned in January 2017 and later had second thoughts about telling Lewinsky’s story.
“I told her, ‘Nobody should tell your story but you, and it’s kind of gross if they do,'” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter in April 2018. ” ‘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.'”
ACS staples Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Alexis Martin Woodall, Paulson and Feldstein will executive produce, along with Burgess. Henrietta Conrad and Jemima Khan will also produce the Fox 21 and FX Productions entry, alongside Lewinsky. Production is set to begin in February, and the series is scheduled to premiere Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
“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,” FX CEO John Landgraf said Tuesday in a release announcing the new season. “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.”
In February, FX CEO John Landgraf told reporters that Murphy — who last year moved his overall deal from American Crime Story producers 20th Century Fox TV to Netflix — had three or four different ideas for another season of the franchise after potential seasons built around Hurricane Katrina and Lewinsky were abandoned. Katrina was posed to be the second season and was flipped with The Assassination of Gianni Versace when producers switched the source material on Katrina before ultimately ditching the concept entirely.
Katrina: American Crime Story had previously cast several key roles with high-profile stars, including Dennis Quaid as former President George W. Bush, Annette Bening as former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Matthew Broderick as former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown.
“We have three or four ideas in active development where we’ve acquired rights and done a fair amount of research and have writers working on them,” Landgraf said earlier this year. “I couldn’t tell you what will be ready first. The likelihood is all of them may be produced over time.”
Meanwhile, the status of Feud 2 remains unclear after Murphy and FX abandoned plans to tell the story of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, after scripts failed to stick the landing (and after Matthew Goode and Rosamund Pike had quietly been cast to star).
Repped by CAA, Paulson, who won an Emmy for ACS, is currently working on Murphy’s Netflix series Ratched, which she also is producing. Feldstein is with WME and Brillstein. Ashford is repped by ICM Partners and Beth Rosner Management.