EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has greenlighted Babysellers, a two-hour original movie about the dark international crime enterprise of infant trafficking under the guise of seemingly regulated adoption. Executive produced by veteran longform producer Robert Halmi Sr, Babysellers is a follow-up to his praised 2005 Lifetime movie Human Trafficking, starring Mira Sorvino, Donald Sutherland and Robert Carlyle, as the films tackle a cause Halmi has been very passionate about.
Babysellers stars Kirstie Alley and Jennifer Finnigan. Alley plays Carla Hughes, a well-respected, influential owner of a major U.S.-based adoption agency that helps prospective parents fulfill their dream of having a family. While presenting an innocent veneer of kindness and good intentions to her trusting clients, behind-the-scenes Hughes functions as a ruthless international kingpin, controlling an expansive syndicate spanning the world and manned by subordinates authorized to use any means necessary to procure children for her business. Finnigan plays Nic Kingman, the dedicated, tough-as-nails Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who believes Hughes is fueling a global business that stops at nothing to find the right child for the right owner — at the right price – and goes undercover to bring her sordid operation down.
EXCLUSIVE: Cheers was once a staple on TV Land. Now the cable network, which has shifted its focus from classic sitcom reruns to original comedy series, is reuniting two of the stars of iconic the NBC series. Rhea Perlman is set to co-star opposite Kirstie Alley in the TV Land pilot Giant Baby. Created by Marco Pennette, the project revolves around Madison “Maddie” Banks (Alley), a Broadway star who finds her life turned upside down when Arlo, her long-lost son, turns up looking to connect after his adopted mother has died. Perlman will play Thelma, Maddie’s long-suffering assistant and best friend, who encourages her boss to form a relationship with her son. “We’ve hit the jackpot getting Kirstie and Rhea back together,” said Keith Cox, TV Land’s EVP Development and Original Programming. “It’s a dream to work with such talented comedic actors like these ladies and create a show for them that’s funny and has interesting characters — Giant Baby hits all of those notes.”
TV Land has given a cast-contingent presentation order to Giant Baby, a multi-camera comedy written by Marco Pennette starring Cheers alumna Kirstie Alley. The project centers on Madison “Maddie” Banks (Alley), a Broadway star who finds her life turned upside down when Owen, the son she gave up for adoption 26 years ago, turns up looking to connect after his adopted mother dies. “We’ve had our eye on Kirstie Alley for a long time, and we finally got her!” said TV Land president Larry W. Jones.
TV Land brass took a look at Pennette’s ABC pilot The Manzanis after the network passed on it in May. The multi-camera comedy also starred Alley, as well as her former Cheers co-star Rhea Perlman. Ultimately, TV Land opted to develop a new project with Pennette and Alley. It resulted in Giant Baby, which the two executive produce with Alley’s manager Jason Weinberg.
EXCLUSIVE: Following her memorable run on Dancing With the Stars last spring, Kirstie Alley is returning to ABC as the star of a new comedy project. I’ve learned that ABC is finalizing the deals for a pilot order to The Manzanis, a multi-camera family comedy written by sitcom veterans Marco Pennette and Dave Flebotte, with Alley attached to star. ABC Studios and studio-based Brillstein Entertainment are producing. The sitcom is described as a new take on Roseanne, and stars Alley as a very opinionated wife/mother who, along with her family, the Manzanis, moves to repressed country-club town. Pennette and Flebotte are executive producing with Brillstein’s new TV president JoAnn Alfano. Also expected to executive produce are Aaron Kaplan (Good Christian Belles) and Alley’s manager Jason Weinberg.