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Investigation Discovery is exploring sex scandals and cold-blooded murders.
The network’s new hourlong series, Vanity Fair Confidential, will bring the magazine’s investigative stories of the powerful, wealthy and famous to the small screen.
“When you send the right writer out on the right story, something really good comes back,” Vanity Fair deputy editor Dana Brown said. “With our crime stories, we recognize how incredibly important it is to just let a journalist go.” To help unfold the mysteries, the show will feature in-depth interviews with the writers of the magazine articles throughout the entirety of each episode, interspersed with first-person accounts from friends, family and law enforcement involved in the cases.
An early episode of the series, which premieres Jan. 19, follows the story of “The Counterfeit Rockefeller,” Christophe Rocancourt, a French man who swindles millions of dollars pretending to be a member of the Rockefeller clan. His ex-wife, Gry Park, was on hand Thursday at the Television Critics’ Association’s semi-annual press tour. “He said that he was a son of a diplomat and that his father was sending it to him,” she revealed of the explanation her ex-husband would give her for the loads of money laying around the house. “Everybody loves cash, but sometimes if there’s too much cash, you tend to get a little nervous.”
Author of the VF story on the scandal, Bryan Burrough, was surprised by the experience of turning his investigative reporting into a television show. “This was different [than other TV interviews I’ve done] because they said that they wanted the writers to carry the stories all the way through the 47 minutes,” he said on stage. “I can say without a second thought that these were the most vigorous hours of interviewing that I’ve submitted to with TV people.”
Another episode will tell the evocative story of accused millionaire murderer Robert Durst, but it’s not the only show to do so. HBO is premiering its own documentary, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, about the mysterious man — and Durst is actually participating. “We went to Durst,” said True Entertainment’s executive producer Steven Weinstock, who hoped to include interviews with the man himself. “But HBO was obviously paying him a lot of money, something that we weren’t able to do.”