Monday, May 27, 2024

No Cigar: Ryan Murphy’s Monica Lewinsky Series “Impeachment” Opens Low, Fails to Score a Million Viewers


“Impeachment” is impaired.

The Ryan Murphy FX series about Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton failed to score 1 million viewers on Tuesday night. The total came in at 916,000.

Since FX is not pay cable but on most cable systems automatically, this is a very low number. “Impeachment” didn’t come close to other Murphy series like “The People vs. OJ Simpson.” Another Murphy series, “Feud,” about the tug of war between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, started with 2.26 million viewers for example.

It’s not like the acting isn’t very good on “Impeachment.” Beanie Feldstein as Monica and Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp are doing top level work in their roles. The rest of the cast is just fine.

But “Impeachment” suffers from lack of objectivity. And lack of sex. At this point, the world knows the story of Monica and Bill Clinton, at least the official version. But with Lewinsky producing an authorized version of her story, we are getting more white wash than Whitewater. We’re not learning anything new about what brought Monica to this point, what she thought. We knew Clinton was a dog. But we’re not getting an new significant insights.

As “Impeachment” rolls along, things will not change. As much fun as it is to see all these people– and to see Paulson transform herself — where is that cigar wrapper? Where is the depiction of what actually happened in that White House? But I doubt it’s just Lewinsky’s fault. We’ll never see that story on a TV network, not one owned by Disney.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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