Former head of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Jr. kicks off his week with some dreaded news. The disgraced Evangelical leader and his downfall will serve as the basis for a new limited series.
Journalist Gabe Sherman’s Vanity Fair exposé on the couple–which ran last month and featured the participation of both Falwell and his wife, Becki–will serve as the basis for the scripted show, produced by Michael London and Shannon Gaulding of Groundswell Productions. Sherman will adapt the article to the screen himself.
“Gabe Sherman is setting out to tell the story of a great American family business, where the business is religion,” London said in a statement to Deadline. “It’s an untold story with a larger-than-life cast of characters amassing vast power and fortunes. Yes, there’s a sex scandal, one that consumed the life of Jerry Jr and his wife Becki, but what’s most surprising is the insight and empathy that Gabe brings to their very human struggle to be true to themselves.”
A network or streaming service for the show has yet to be announced, though given Groundswell Productions’ relationship with the FX Network, we have a feeling it will end up there.
Sherman’s article had already grabbed headlines thanks to its chronicle of the rise and fall of the Falwells, and the stunning admission that they never “had much use” for Jerry’s father, Jerry Sr.’s church.
Jerry, Jr. resigned as President of Liberty University in 2020 after a former pool boy, Giancarlo Granda, claimed he’d had an affair with the couple. Granada also raised questions about the use of finances by the Falwells, who spent $4.6 million on buying a South Beach, Florida hotel with him as co-owner. Granada further claimed he made a number of sex tapes with the couple.
We hope that the new show also goes into details far beyond the infamous Falwell Pool Boy Gay Sex Scandal, and elaborates on the hedonistic Christian couple’s other exploits. Here are a few details we’d also like to see included:
- The “nudes” scandal of 2019, in which the Falwells hired former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to eliminate at least three nude photos of Becki;
- Becki’s affair with a then-22-year-old Liberty University student, who also played in a band with the couple’s son;
- Jerry Jr.’s publishing of a photo of a mask of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam painted in blackface;
- Jerry Jr.’s brandishing a gun following a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California while encouraging his followers to buy guns and “end those Muslims before they walked in;”
- Jerry Jr.’s surprise endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016, which received wide criticism from other religious leaders. Trump advisor Steven Bannon later credited Falwell with winning the election for Trump;
- Falwell’s encouraging of Liberty University to target LGBTQ students for harassment;
- Falwell’s lawsuit against Liberty University for wrongful termination, which he ultimately withdrew.
Set the DVR now.