The movie stars Penelope Ann Miller (Riverdale, American Crime) and Mia Kirshner (Star Trek: Discovery, The L Word) as two wealthy mothers desperate to get their teenagers into the best possible college.
In the trailer, Miller’s character Caroline vows she’ll “do anything” for her son, who she claims is “losing his way” — and she eventually pays to alter his SAT scores. Her story appears to be inspired by actress Felicity Huffman, who was arrested and charged for paying $15,000 to facilitate cheating on her daughter’s SAT test by having a proctor correct her answers. She pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Kirshner’s character Bethany, meanwhile, pays half a million dollars to get her daughter onto a prestigious university’s athletic team, even staging a full-blown photoshoot to make her look like a soccer player at one point in the trailer. Her story is apparently inspired by actress Lori Loughlin, who along with her husband Mossimo Giannulli stands accused of paying $500,000 to have their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew.
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Loughlin and Giannulli, who were also indicted on an additional charge of fraud and money laundering, face up to 20 years in prison for each charge if convicted. The couple pleaded not guilty in April after turning down a plea deal because it included jail time. Their attorneys have not returned PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
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On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced that it had charged 50 people, including Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli, in the cheating scandal. Along with coaches, admissions counselors and fellow parents, they were accused of alleged crimes such as falsifying SAT scores and lying about the athletic skills of their children, allegedly working with Rick Singer, a college admissions consultant who has admitted his role as the ringleader of the scam and pleaded guilty in March to multiple charges.
Though headlined by Miller and Kirshner, the Lifetime movie, a fictionalized account of the scandal, will follow the story of over 50 wealthy and elite families who tried to cheat the college admissions system.
Michael Shanks (Stargate: Atlantis, Saving Hope) has been cast as Singer.
The College Admissions Scandal premieres Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.