Lifetime is Making a ‘Surviving Jeffrey Epstein’ Documentary

Just over one year ago, Lifetime aired its Surviving R. Kelly documentary series that highlighted the sexual abuse accusations leveled against the R&B singer.

The network has a penchant for tackling controversial figures through its programming, and now they’re gearing up for the next one: convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Just like the R. Kelly series, this will not be a fictualized account.

Jeffrey Epstein with Ghislaine Maxwell and Carol Mack
Jeffrey Epstein with Ghislaine Maxwell and Carol Mack | Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Lifetime’s Epstein docuseries is moving forward

According to Deadline, the network announced it is greenlighting the documentary, Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, during the winter Television Critics Association press event. The four-part docuseries will air this summer and examine Epstein’s predatory behavior toward underage girls, sex trafficking allegations, and high-profile connections such as Prince Andrew.

Viewers can expect the series to be made in the same vein as Surviving R. Kelly, but with a different creative team. Per The Wrap, the project is directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg, and also has journalist Christopher Mason involved as contributor.

The documentary was first announced last year

In July 2019, Lifetime’s parent company, A+E shared the news that the project was in development. At the time, this is the description that was released:

“Lifetime expands its footprint in the investigative doc space with development on Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, centering on the billionaire New York financier who is alleged to have used his connections to the rich and famous to shield his predatory behavior with young girls. Accused of sex crimes with minors and trafficking, registered sex offender Epstein allegedly hid in plain sight while enablers protected him for over two decades, until his arrest by the FBI.”

Epstein died under what many consider to be mysterious circumstances in August 2019, leaving behind open wounds for his victims and a multitude of unanswered questions.

It is unclear whether the docuseries will address his death or if it will solely focus on the court charges, his victims, and the elusive Ghislaine Maxwell.  

It’s not the only Epstein-centered project coming to TV

If the questions raised in Lifetime’s documentary don’t get answered, then perhaps they will in Investigation Discovery’s anthology piece, Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?. Deadline reported that the special is being produced for the ID network and will dig into the life and death of Epstein and the people connected to him.

According to the press release from Discovery, the series will explore various clues and leave no stone unturned for the audience:

“Jeffrey Epstein’s repugnant saga begins in Palm Beach, Florida. Often thought of as a high-society retreat for the rich and affluent, Epstein was first accused of trafficking young women to his Palm Beach estate in 2005 – but, somehow, Epstein escaped relatively unscathed from the law enforcement system. This pattern repeated and persisted through seven civil cases, until this past year, when Epstein was finally pulled into the limelight and placed in a holding cell as he awaited trial.  But on August 10, 2019, Epstein was found dead in his cell.

This timely special follows the political connections, philanthropic ties, and famous friendships that Epstein fostered, begging the question: was Jeffrey Epstein’s death truly a suicide – or was it part of a far more sinister cover up?”

Viewers hoping to learn more about Epstein’s crimes, conspiracies, and the details surrounding his death will have to wait for the ID series to air later in 2020.