April 5, 2018 / 12:27 AM / 4 months ago

Two Bill Clinton impeachment shows abandoned by U.S. TV networks

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. television networks have scrapped two planned series about former President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and his 1998 impeachment.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton introduces Fleetwood Mac during the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year show honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

History Channel said on Wednesday it had decided not to move forward with a six-episode scripted drama series that it announced last September.

“The Breach: Inside the Impeachment of Bill Clinton,” was billed as “an intimate, riveting depiction of how one of the nation’s biggest political scandals unfolded.”

“A decision was made a few months ago not to move forward on the series for creative reasons. Production had not commenced,” History Channel said in a statement. The network did not give details.

In a separate development, producer Ryan Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter that he was no longer developing the best-selling book “A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President” for FX television as planned.

Murphy, producer of the “American Crime” FX series that recently dramatized the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial, and the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace, had optioned the 2000 book more than a year ago.

He told the magazine in an interview for its April 4 edition that he had second thoughts about doing the series, and had informed Lewinsky.

“I told her, ‘Nobody should tell your story but you, and it’s kind of gross if they do,’” Murphy was quoted as saying. “‘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.’”

Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction during his second term as president but was acquitted by the Senate.

Lewinsky, whose affair with Clinton occurred while she was an intern at the White House, has been the subject of numerous books and has recently campaigned against bullying.

Clinton, however, remains a hot property for television. Cable channel Showtime has said it will adapt his debut novel for a series.

Co-authored with thriller writer James Paterson, “The President is Missing” is due to be published in June and will tell of the sudden disappearance of a sitting U.S. president.

Showtime has not said when the series will air, or given details of casting.

History Channel is a joint venture between Hearst Communications and Walt Disney Co (DIS.N). FX is a unit of 21st Century Fox (FOXA.O), while Showtime is a unit of CBS Corp (CBS.N).

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Peter Cooney

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