When it comes to making a buck off the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, can a TV movie starring Tori Spelling be far away?

By Ty Burr
Updated March 15, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Monica mania takes over America

You think it?s over? The Judiciary Committee went home, Clinton went to Central America, Monica made her peace with America via Barbara Walters while making her piece with her bank account via Andrew Morton?s book. You think it?s over.


Now comes the fun part: the remaking of the scandale de Lewinsky into pop-culture product. Oh, we?ll be allowed to catch our breath for a while, thankfully, if only because people in Hollywood are as sick of the meshuga topic as we are. But I guarantee you that the day Bill Clinton leaves office, all the major networks will greenlight competing TV movies on the subject. One will star Patrick Duffy and Tori Spelling; another will feature a career-altering turn by Harry Anderson as Ken Starr; the third will cast Roseanne as Lucianne Goldberg. Hey, grotesque is as grotesque does.

They?ll all get ratings, too, because we?ll actually be nostalgic for the fetid excitements of 1998 by that point (especially if Al Gore?s President). Then, if we?re really unlucky, Linda Tripp will finally get a book deal, which will kick off another wave of tell-alls: William Ginsburg, Betty Currie, the guy who makes coffee for the Oval Office. A little further down the line, there?ll be an earnest big-screen version of the story: think Alec Baldwin and Christina Ricci. And as the Clinton Era fades into musty history, we?ll eventually get the Broadway musical, with such winsome showstoppers as “A Woman Is Only a Woman, but a Good Cigar Is a Smoke” and ”Will You Marry Me, Bill?”

Oh, and it won?t stop there. The success of these vehicles — and the rise of Lewinsky herself as the most powerful Beverly Hills agent since Ovitz — will mean that OTHER political affairs will start getting mulched into media. See Denise Richards as Donna Rice in ”Affairs of the Hart”! Thrill to Madonna?s interpretation of the Judith Campbell Exner story in ”Flight From J.F.K.”! Witness the steamy trysts between Warren Harding (Brian Dennehy) and Nan Britton (Tori Spelling again) in a closet off the Oval Office in ”I?m A Little Teapot Dome”! Thrill to the paternity scandal that almost destroyed the career of Grover Cleveland (John Goodman)! Watch the Jeffersonian sitcom ”Heming and Hawing” Tuesday nights on Fox!

Eventually, we?ll receive the final insult: Linda Tripp will release an album of standards. And THEN it will, at last, be over.