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Lifetime's College Admissions Scandal finds its stars (sadly, Lori Loughlin isn't one)

“Did someone order a poorly disguised bribe?”
Screenshot: Nicki Swift (YouTube)

Despite it being the role she was born to play, it doesn’t appear as though Lori Loughlin will be getting the chance to play herself in Lifetime’s ripped-from-the-TMZ-updates TV movie The College Admissions Scandal. Instead, the soapy channel’s adaptation of the all-too-real story of rich and famous dummies doing dumb illegal things to help get their presumably similarly dumb kids into colleges for which they are supremely unqualified is going the normal route, and hiring other actors to play the scheming parents.

Not only that, but the characters of Loughlin and Felicity Huffman—the two most famous faces who came to embody the public’s perception of those involved in the criminal activity—won’t even appear in the film at all. Instead, Entertainment Weekly reports Penelope Ann Miller and Mia Kirshner have been hired to portray characters who are meant to be composites of women like Loughlin and Huffman. Miller and Kirshner will play “Caroline” and “Bethany,” respectively, an interior designer and financial services firm owner, who break the law in their efforts to get their progeny into elite schools.

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While Lifetime is apparently too chickenshit to depict the actual famous people involved in “Operation Varsity Blues,” perhaps for fear of burning bridges with the once-and-possibly-future stars of cable-TV films and series, it seems there’s no such compunctions about portraying the guy who oversaw this criminal enterprise. Saving Hope’s Michael Shanks is set to take on the role of real-life mastermind Rick Singer. (Keep in mind, “mastermind” is how we’re now describing a guy who convinced William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman to give him fifteen thousand dollars in exchange for—allegedly—fraudulently improving their daughter’s SAT scores by roughly 400 points, so.)

Production begins this month, meaning there was really no reason Huffman and Loughlin couldn’t have played themselves, save for maybe that pesky thing about not wanting to incriminate oneself in the eyes of the law. Still, small price to pay for artistic verisimilitude. Alas, we may have to wait for the much fancier Annapurna Pictures TV-series version of this same story for that. After all, Huffman and Loughlin clearly believes there are standards in this world, people (Annapurna > Lifetime), and they have to appear worthy of those more elite stomping grounds. Maybe they can pay someone to appear in Annapurna’s take? Just spitballing here.

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Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.