Lifetime Explores ‘Surviving Jeffrey Epstein’ & R Kelly Follow-Up Plus College Admission Movie & Wendy Williams Projects – TCA

Jeffrey Epstein Booking Photo (Courtesy: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office)
Jeffrey Epstein/2011 police mug shot Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

Lifetime is doubling down on its ‘Surviving’ strand with a new series based on the case of billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is charged with multiple counts including sex trafficking of minors, and a follow up on R Kelly.

The A+E Networks broadcaster has commissioned Surviving Jeffrey Epstein and Surviving R Kelly: The Aftermath.

The former will bring to life the numerous crimes of Epstein, who is currently in jail awaiting trial for a range of allegations of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy for abusing young girls between 2002 and 2005 in New York and Florida. It is in development on Surviving Jeffrey Epstein with Robert Friedman’s Bungalow Media + Entertainment (Panama Papers) in association with award-winning filmmakers Anne Sundberg and Ricki Stern (The Preppy Murder). NY Times journalist Christopher Mason is also attached to the project.

Surviving R Kelly: The Aftermath is the follow-up to Surviving R Kelly, which chronicled the sexual abuse allegations against singer Robert R. Kelly. Produced by Kreativ Inc, the doc will feature interviews with new survivors, psychologists and experts on the case, and more insights into the ever-growing saga of the R&B singer, who is currently facing federal and state charges.

The news was unveiled by Rob Sharenow, head of programming at A+E Networks, at the start of TCA press tour.

He said, “We’re committed to provide platform for women to have their voices heard.”

Elsewhere, Sharenow revealed that it was working on a TV movie based on the college admission scandal and was also working on a biopic and a documentary about Wendy Williams.

Williams will exec produce the biopic, from Will Packer Media and will focus on her days in urban radio to the success of her own syndicated talk show. Leigh Davenport is the writer of the script

The doc is produced by eOne and Creature Films.

College Admissions Scandal follows the case, where over 50 privileged and elite individuals from across the country were exposed for criminally conspiring to influence the undergraduate admissions decisions at some of America’s top schools. College Admissions Scandal will follow two wealthy mothers who share an obsession with getting their teenagers into the best possible college. When charismatic college admissions consultant Rick Singer offers a side door into the prestigious institutions of their dreams, they willingly partake with visions of coveted acceptance letters in their heads. But when Singer cooperates with the FBI and pleads guilty, the mothers who risked everything for their kids, must face the consequences of their crimes and the loss of trust and respect from their families.

The two-hour film is produced by Varsity Films. The film is executive produced by Gail Katz and Howard Braunstein. Adam Salky will direct from a script by Stephen Tolkin.

Finally, Lifetime also revealed the premiere date for its new movie, Patsy & Loretta, starring Megan Hilty (Smash) as music legend Patsy Cline and Grammy winner Jessie Mueller as country icon Loretta Lynn, on Saturday October 19 at 8pm.  

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