Lifetime Plots ‘Surviving Jeffrey Epstein’ Documentary, Plus a Follow-up to R Kelly’s

TCA 2019: Epstein was arrested and charged with sex trafficking in July

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department/Getty Images

Lifetime is making a followup documentary to “Surviving R. Kelly,” as well a new docuseries on Jeffrey Epstein called “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.”

“Surviving Jeffrey Epstein” will center on the billionaire New York financier, who was arrested earlier this month. He was charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors, who said that Epstein sexually abused dozens of underage girls and paid many of them to recruit others. He was denied bail last week.

Since Epstein’s arrest, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned after defending the plea deal he struck with Epstein as a federal prosecutor. Over a decade ago, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to soliciting a minor for prostitution. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence and was released in 2009.

“Surviving Jeffrey Epstein” is being developed by Robert Friedman’s Bungalow Media + Entertainment in association with filmmakers Anne Sundberg and Ricki Stern, both of whom will direct. Journalist Christopher Mason, who has contributed to The New York Times, New York Magazine, Town & Country and Architectural Digest, is also attached to the project.

The “Surviving R. Kelly” follow up, “The Aftermath,” will feature interviews with new survivors, psychologists and experts on the case. The R&B was arrested in Chicago earlier this month on 18 federal sex assault charges in two cities, a 13-count indictment in Chicago and a five-count indictment in New York.

In February, Kelly was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, based on accusations from four different accusers. In May, 11 additional felony counts were filed against him, including four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a victim between the ages of 13 and 16.

The initial “Surviving R. Kelly” series in January is credited for helping make the accusations against him more public and eventually leading to his arrest.

“Surviving R. Kelly: The Aftermath” will be executive produced by Joel Karsberg and Jessie Daniels of Kreativ Inc., Dream Hampton, Tamra Simmons, Maria Pepin with Bunim Murray Productions and Brie Miranda Bryant, who will executive produce for Lifetime. Sudi Khosropur is co-executive producer and showrunner.

A+E Networks programming president Rob Sharenow made the announcement during the network’s session at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday. He added that Lifetime is also developing a TV movie based on the College Admissions Scandal.