Netflix is bringing the college admissions scandal to the small screen. On Monday, the streaming giant announced it will release a documentary titled Operation Varsity Blues, named for the FBI operation that exposed the scandal in which dozens of rich parents, including Fuller House star Lori Loughlin, her husband Mossimo Giannulli, and Desperate Housewives alum Felicity Huffman, paid thousands of dollars to secure spots at top universities for their children.
Netflix confirmed the documentary on Monday, revealing that it will release on Wednesday, March 17. According to the Associated Press, rather than focusing on the Hollywood big names involved in the scandal, the documentary will instead focus on the man at the center of it, Rick Singer. Singer pleaded guilty to allegedly helping students of wealthy parents get into competitive colleges, either through bribes or helping them cheat on exams and later began working with investigators. In total, Singer pleaded guilty to four charges – racketeering conspiracy, money laundering, tax conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He later began working with investigators. The documentary will examine how Singer persuaded parents to cheat.
From filmmakers Chris Smith and Jon Karmen, whose previous credits include Netflix's Fyre Festival documentary and the March 2020 mega-hit Tiger King, Operation Varsity Blues will use "an innovative combination of interviews and narrative recreations of the FBI's wiretapped conversations between Singer and his clients," according to the streamer. Actor Matthew Modine is tapped to play Singer. Further casting information has not been released.
Operation Varsity Blues broke open in early 2019 and involved big names including Huffman and Loughlin. According to the investigation, Huffman paid Singer $15,000 in order to doctor her daughter Sophia's SAT scores. Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison, given a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service, and one year of supervised release, which began on Oct. 25, 2019. She has since been released from prison.
Loughlin, meanwhile, accepted a plea deal in which she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud after she and her husband were accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to have their daughters admitted into the University of Southern California as crew recruits. She was sentenced to two months in prison and completed her sentence in December. Her husband, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, honest services wire and mail fraud, was sentenced to five months in prison. Both were sentenced to supervised release and community service.