FX Networks has nixed the September release of its upcoming series about the Bill Clinton impeachment, pushing the premiere back until some time after the presidential election — a decision that network leadership is blaming on scheduling.
The reshuffling represents a change of heart for FX, which had previously defended its decision to air the show prior to the election despite outrage from liberals and members of the mainstream media, who said that it might sway voters.
Impeachment: American Crime Story, which would have been the third season of FX’s popular anthology series, will dramatize the 1998 impeachment proceedings against then-President Clinton following his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Clive Owen has been cast as President Clinton while Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein is slated to play Lewinsky. It remains unclear if Hillary Clinton will be a character in the series and who would play the former first lady.
The series is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s 1999 book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.
Impeachment was originally expected to air in Sep, 27, well before the 2020 presidential election. But the basic cable network, which is now owned by The Walt Disney Co., has delayed it to an unspecified date.
John Landgraf, president of FX, reportedly told journalists gathered at the Television Critics Assn. Winter Tour in Pasadena that the show is set to begin production in March and won’t finish until October. He also said that producer Ryan Murphy will be busy this year working on his Netflix adaptation of the Broadway play The Prom.
“As for when we’ll schedule it, we don’t know,” he said on Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We have to get into production and see how it goes and how long post-production will be. I guess I would say it’s TBD at this point.”
A plot synopsis on FX’s official site says the limited series will explore “the national scandal that swept up Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp as principal characters in the country’s first impeachment proceedings in over a century.”
When the series was first announced, Landgraf addressed claims from the left that the show would influence the 2020 election.
“I don’t believe it’s going to determine who is the next president of the United States,” he reportedly said at the time. “I think that’s a little hysterical.”