Why American Crime Story Isn't Doing Bill Clinton And Monica Lewinsky's Sex Scandal Anymore

American Crime Story has already tackled two of the most talked-about criminal cases in U.S. history with the trial of O.J. Simpson and the assassination of Gianni Versace. A future season of the series was originally slated to cover the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky sex scandal of the late 1990s, but that's no longer the case. According to showrunner Ryan Murphy, the American Crime Story team had second thoughts after optioning a book based on the scandal, and he spoke to Lewinsky herself about why the show won't tackle the story, saying this:

I told her, 'Nobody should tell your story but you, and it's kind of gross if they do. 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.'

Apparently, Ryan Murphy feels that it would be inappropriate for American Crime Story to chronicle the affair between Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton without Lewinsky on board. According to THR, Murphy broke the news that the show would not pursue her story when they met at a party in Hollywood and Lewinsky was "relieved" by what he had to say. He didn't comment on what exactly sets the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal apart from the O.J. Simpson trial and the Versace assassination as something that shouldn't make it to the small screen without any contribution from the real-life people involved.

The anthology season would have been based largely on Jeffrey Toobin's best-selling book called A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President, published in 2000. American Crime Story optioned the book as source material back in early 2017, and Sarah Paulson was attached to star, although not as Hillary Clinton and presumably not as Monica Lewinsky. Interestingly, Ryan Murphy didn't entirely rule out American Crime Story covering the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal at some future date; he would just want to produce it with Monica Lewinsky so that she would get a share of the profits.

Now that the Monica Lewinsky season of American Crime Story has been ruled out for the time being, the only upcoming season with a confirmed topic is the one revolving around Hurricane Katrina. American Crime Story: Katrina has been in the works since way back in the beginning of 2016, although it has gone through a number of behind-the-scenes changes in the time since. Sarah Paulson will star as a doctor who was stuck in a hospital in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and she (and others) were forced to make difficult decisions regarding critically ill patients when the hospital was without power and supplies.

Earlier reports place production on American Crime Story: Katrina as kicking off in spring of 2019, which means a premiere likely won't happen for at least another year. We'll have to wait and see if Ryan Murphy and Co. manage to produce another season in the meantime. The Monica Lewinsky season could have theoretically been produced in the meantime, given that it wouldn't require the same kind of effects that have delayed Katrina.

The first season of American Crime Story is currently available streaming on Netflix. For more streaming options, take a look at our 2018 Netflix guide and 2018 Amazon Prime rundown. If streaming isn't always your style, swing by our midseason TV premiere schedule and summer TV premiere guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).