The United States is swearing in a new president, but the people behind the new hit anthology series American Crime Story might be taking a deep look at a past president.
Ryan Murphy has optioned Jeffrey Toobin’s 2000 book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President that covered the Monica Lewinsky intern scandal at the White House that led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998.
This is the second book American Crime Story has picked up from the lawyer and CNN legal analyst. Another Toobin book, The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson was the basis for the first season of the award-winning FX show American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Although American Crime Story already has two other season subjects lined up – Hurricane Katrina and the Gianni Versace murder – The Hollywood Reporter says Murphy and his producers already are meeting with potential actresses to play both Lewinsky and her co-worker Linda Tripp.
Clinton was accused of having an affair with Lewinsky, who at the time was a White House intern. Because he denied the liaisons in a court deposition for an unrelated case, a Republican-controlled Congress sought to remove the popular president through impeachment.
Tripp was a major player in the scandal, as she secretly recorded conversations she had with Lewinsky about her affair with Clinton.
While the U.S. House impeached Clinton, the U.S. Senate was unable to convict. The entire scandal proved unpopular with Americans, but not when it came to Clinton himself.
In fact, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken immediately after the House voted to impeach showed Clinton with a 73 percent approval rating.
By contrast, Donald Trump has a 40 percent approval rating, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll, heading into Friday’s inauguration.
The popularity of doing an anthology series based on real-life crime has inspired a number of shows. The biggest is probably at NBC where Dick Wolf is putting together Law & Order: True Crime, which will focus initially on the Menendez brothers conviction for murdering their parents that gripped the nation just before the Simpson murder trial.
CBS, according to the trade publication, is working on a project of their own that would focus on newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, who was abducted by a terrorist group in 1974 and later convicted of bank robbery – although President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence, and Clinton himself pardoned her.
In the meantime, Murphy remains busy with a number of projects, including American Horror Story, which recently earned a two-season renewal. That show is expected to return in the fall, while two installments of American Crime Story will likely run in 2018.
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