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FX Chairman John Landgraf Defends ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story’ Timing

FX chairman John Landgraf faced questions about the timing of the third season of “American Crime Story” which is slated to premiere in September, 2020 in the middle of the Presidential election cycle, and whether the series would impact on the election.

“The way we look at ‘American Crime Story’ is as revisionist history; we look at moments in times that involve crimes that can be looked at with much more nuance, much more complexity through writing and characters than could have at the time,” Landgraf began. “I feel completely unabashed about my pride for ‘American Crime Story’….there’s a lot of nuance in this story that people don’t know about yet.”

However, during his executive session at the network’s Television Critics Association summer press tour, Landgraf continued to face a barrage of questions and concerns about the timing of the series. Landgraf responded in bullish fashion, calling out the critics on social media who are already “pronouncing judgment” on the series “without seeing it or knowing what it is” and labeling the backlash “toxic.”

“The idea that we can’t have art, we can’t have nuance is toxic in the media environment. I believe very, very strongly in the art we’re making. I don’t think ‘Crime Story’ is going to decide the next presidential election. I think that’s a little hysterical from my standpoint. I’m insistent that I’m going to support artists and make great art and put it in the time and place where people are going to watch it,” Landgraf said.

On why now is a good time to be revisiting the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, Landgraf pointed to the “younger, female, feminist point of view” which he believes playwright Sarah Burgess will bring to the series as a writer and executive producer.

“If you saw the way that story was covered at the time, you will see that the way we perceive many aspects of it, but particularly the women, the female characters, has really been transformed by the period of time, the #MeToo movement,” Landgraf said.

Later, Landgraf was asked whether he or anyone from the project will be contacting the Clintons about being involved.

“I won’t be reaching out to them, no,” Landgraf replied.

FX announced the series a mere hour before Landgraf took to the stage, but by that point the backlash had already snowballed online.

The series will explore the story of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Beanie Feldstein will star as Monica Lewinsky, with Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp and Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones. The season will be based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book “A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.”

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