‘Killing Versace’ Special to Explore Failed Manhunt for the Designer's Assassin (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
George Rose/Getty Images
Hot off the launch of The Assassination of Gianni Versace, FX’s second installment of American Crime Story, Oxygen is taking audiences inside the real-life manhunt for the famed designer’s killer, Andrew Cunanan, with Killing Versace: The Hunt for a Serial Killer.
Cunanan, a maniacal and calculated killer, not only murdered Versace, but four other men across the country, leading up to the July 15, 1997 shooting.
The one-hour special hosted by NBC News Senior National Correspondent Kate Snow will re-examine what is believed to be the most mishandled manhunt of the past 20 years through new and exclusive interviews with industry insiders, legal experts and forensic specialists. Killing Versace will chronicle Cunanan’s cross-country movements that eventually took him to Miami. Experts will re-evaluate the evidence from the case, and pinpoint investigative flaws that enabled Cunanan to escape the law before taking his own life eight days later.
Premiering Sunday, Feb. 11, the Oxygen program airs halfway through The Assassination of Gianni Versace’s nine-episode run.
On the FX series, Darren Criss portrays Cunanan with Edgar Ramirez as Versace and Penelope Cruz as his sister, Donatella Versace. The series is adapted from Maureen Orth’s book, Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History.
Ahead of its January premiere, it was met with criticism from the Versace family. “The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace,” the family said in a statement. “Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is partly based nor has it taken part in the writing of the screenplay, this TV series should only be considered as a work of fiction.”
But Cruz told ET that she spoke to Donatella before accepting the part, assuring there was no bad blood between them. “When [ACS creator] Ryan [Murphy] told me, I said to him, ‘This sounds really interesting, but I have to make this call and I have to talk to Donatella,’” Cruz recalled. “I called her and we spoke, like, for an hour. I needed that conversation to say yes.”
Between FX and Oxygen, fandom for true crime has reached a fevered pitch, with the latter as the new destination for crime-themed programming. In addition to Killing Versace, Oxygen also has Snapped, The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway, The Jury Speaks, Cold Justice and It Takes a Killer.