FX’s network president John Landgraf defended his decision to air the Clinton-Lewinsky White House sex scandal-inspired series Impeachment: American Crime Story ahead of the 2020 election cycle, warning that “no one will shout us down” within the “toxic” media environment.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, Landgraf rejected criticism from Vulture journalist Mark Harris, who warned that “there is nothing that Trump would like more than to turn the homestretch of 2020 into a revisitation of the Clintons” and that airing it would be a “disservice to our fragile political system and to the talented people involved in this show.”
There is nothing that Trump would like more than to turn the homestretch of 2020 into a revisitation of the Clintons. Don't do this, @FXNetworks. It's a disservice to our fragile political system and to the talented people involved in this show.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) August 6, 2019
“Let me just say something about the current environment,” Landgraf said. “This certainty that says we can’t have conversations, we can’t make art, we can’t have nuance, that I won’t even wait to pronounce judgment, is toxic in the media environment. I believe very, very strongly in what we’re making. I’ve read it, I think it’s great.”
“I don’t believe it’s going to decide who’s the next president of the United States,” he continued. “That’s a little hysterical, from my standpoint, somebody saying that’s going to affect the next presidential election.”
The criticism followed FX’s announcement on Tuesday that the third season of American Crime Story, which focuses on the Monica Lewinsky White House sex scandal that led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, will air in September next year, six weeks before the 2020 presidential election, contradicing previous reports of producers scrapping the concept in favor of producing anti-Trump documentaries. Landgraf argued that he sought to capitalize on the interest surrounding next year’s presidential election.
“People are going to be very interested in this right around the presidential election and it’s going to be a great show,” he contended. “I’m going to support artists who want to make great art and they want to put it at the time and place when people are going to watch it. I will stand up here as long as I’m here and I will stand for artists and I will stand for art and no one will shout us down.”
Plans for the season were drawn up back in 2017, with producer Ryan Murphy explaining how the series would be based on CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin’s book, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down A President, which he described as detailing the “rise of a certain segment of a right-ring group of people who despised the Clintons and used three women, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, and Linda Tripp to try and tear him down.”