EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime’s new president and general manager Nancy Dubuc is putting her stamp on the female-centered cable network with her first scripted series orders. Lifetime has picked up to series two female-driven cop dramas, Against the Wall and Exit 19, for a launch later this year.
The orders, both for 13 episodes, can’t come soon enough for Lifetime, which desperately needs more original scripted programming. It is down to two scripted series – veteran Army Wives, which was renewed for a fifth season, and dramedy Drop Dead Diva, which has been picked up for a third season. The last scripted series premieres on the network were in 2009 (Diva and the short-lived comedy Sherri). Because of Lifetime’s acquisition by A&E Networks, Lifetime held off on development from mid-2009, when the deal was announced, until May 1, 2010 when History president and general manager Nancy Dubuc took over as Lifetime’s new president and general manager. She dived into development, reading piles of scripts identified by Lifetime’s development team led by JoAnn Alfano. “Over the last several months, we have been working tirelessly on a new development slate of scripted dramas, nonfiction series and original movies at Lifetime,” Dubuc said stressing that “continuing our legacy of great scripted dramas is critical” to the network’s success. She cited the newly picked-up Against the Wall and Exit 19 as examples of the “high-quality auspices … Read More »
From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA Coverage:
Lifetime plans to double its on-air drama series output in 2011 from two to four, the network’s new president and GM Nancy Dubuc said this morning during the network’s portion of TCA. That includes the pickup to series of two of the network’s five pilots ordered last year (four of them have already been shot). Lifetime brass will make the decision on which two will go to series by February, the network’s EVP JoAnn Alfano said. The two new series will premiere by fourth quarter 2011, along with the returns of vets Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva. The network also is launching a dozen new unscripted series this year, with the rollout beginning in February, along with 15 original films. “We’re committed to expanding our original programming in a major way,” Alfano said. “This is only the beginning.” Here is a list of Lifetime’s upcoming reality series, Seriously Funny Kids, One Born Every Minute, Quad Squad and Glamour Belles, whose premiere dates were announced today: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Matrix star Carrie-Anne Moss has been tapped as the lead in Lifetime’s untitled Michael Sardo pilot. The project, from writer-executive producer Michael Sardo and Universal Cable Prods., centers on Ann Brown (Moss), New York’s premiere celebrity psychologist. With her life and marriage in shambles, she leaves town to join her sister, the Dean at a teaching hospital, to become the chief of staff of the hospital’s psych ward. There, she rediscovers her love for helping people while reconnecting with her sister, despite their volatile history. Gerard Bocaccio is executive producing the pilot with Sardo, while Timothy Busfield is set to direct.
Moss, repped by WME and manager Elizabeth Hodgson, is the latest feature actress to headline a cable pilot. Moss started off on TV, with roles on such series as Dark Justice, Models Inc. and F/X: The Series, before her big breakthrough in the 1999 feature The Matrix, followed by memorable roles in Memento and Chocolat. In 2008, Moss starred opposite Joseph Fiennes in Ryan Murphy’s FX pilot Pretty/Handsome. The untitled Michael Sardo is one of five pilots ordered by Lifetime this year, along with Against the Wall, Exit 19, Meet Jane and an untitled project from Josh Berman. The other four are in various stages of production.
That was quick: Eliza Dushku has pulled out of TNT’s drama pilot Bird Dog. I hear she exited the project over the weekend, several days after she closed a deal to star in the drama, a mystery fashioned around an unlikely partnership of a father-daughter cop duo.
Meanwhile, NYPD Blue and 24 alum Ricky Schroder has signed on to star opposite Molly Parker in the Lifetime pilot Meet Jane. The project, from Warner Horizon, centers on Jane Bilinski (Parker) whose stale life as an unhappily married mother of two daughters in the Washington, DC area is suddenly re-energized and empowered when the FBI enlists her to spy on her husband (Schroder), a computer technician the government suspects is selling top-secret information to Russia. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Meet Lifetime’s Jane: Deadwood alumna Molly Parker has landed the lead in the cable network’s drama pilot Meet Jane. The project, from Warner Horizon, centers on Jane Bilinski (Parker) whose stale life as an unhappily married mother of two daughters in the Washington, DC area is suddenly re-energized and empowered when the FBI enlists her to spy on her husband, a computer technician the government suspects is selling top-secret information to Russia. Andi Bushell wrote the pilot on spec and is executive producing it with Mark Pedowitz. CAA-repped Parker, whose series credits also include the CBS drama Swingtown, starred in the CBS drama pilot Quinn-tuplets last season.
EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has handed out a pilot order to Meet Jane, a drama from writer Andi Bushell and executive turned producer Mark Pedowitz. This is the first pilot order for Pedowitz, who segued into producing early this year with a first-look deal for his Pine Street Entertainment at Warner Bros TV. Before that, he spent 19 years at Disney-ABC, including a stint at ABC Studios which he ran as president for 5 years until he was pushed out by Steve McPherson.
Meet Jane centers on Jane Bilinksi, whose stale life as an unhappily married mother of two daughters in the Washington, DC area is suddenly re-energized and empowered when the FBI enlists her to spy on her husband, a computer technician the government suspects is selling top-secret information to Russia. Bushell wrote Meet Jane on spec and will executive produce the pilot with Pedowitz. Warner Horizon is producing.
Bushell serves as a co-executive producer on the new ABC drama My Generation. Her resume also includes writer-producer gigs on CBS’ The Mentalist and Criminal Minds and NBC’s Crossing Jordan. This is Lifetime’s fourth pilot order this year. The other 3 pilots, Against the Wall, Exit 19 and an untitled Josh Berman project, are in various stages of casting.
EXCLUSIVE: Treat Williams has been tapped to star opposite Rachael Carpani in Lifetime’s drama pilot Against the Wall. Written by Annie Brunner and to be directed by Dean Parisot, Against the Wall is a family drama set in Chicago following policewoman Abby Kowalski (Carpani), who causes a rift with her three cop brothers when she decides to join the department’s Internal Affairs division. Williams will play Abby’s dad, an old-school career Chicago cop who is rough around the edges but has a real soft spot for his only daughter until she tells him of her new gig, news that makes him feel hurt and angry. Universal Cable Prods. is producing. Williams, whose series credits include the WB’s Everwood, TNT’s Heartland and ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, on which he had a recurring role, is seen in 2 movies this fall: Howl and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. He is with APA and the Schiff Co.
Some notable TV castings from the last couple of days:
– Lou Diamond Phillips has joined Lifetime’s untitled Josh Berman pilot. The project, from Sony TV, is a closed-ended drama set in San Diego, which centers on police detective Molly Collins (Sherry Stringfield), married mother of two on the verge of divorce, who, along with her partner Brooke Kross (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), investigate the city’s most high-profile crimes while navigating their divergent personal lives. Phillips, who most recently recurred on Stargate: Universe, will play their boss, a police lieutenant. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I hear The Sopranos alumna Jamie-Lynn Sigler has been tapped to star opposite Sherry Stringfield as the lead in Lifetime’s untitled Josh Berman pilot. In another key pilot casting, former Deadwood co-star John Hawkes is set to star in FX’s drama pilot Outlaw Country.
Lifetime’s untitled drama pilot from Drop Dead Diva creator/executive producer Josh Berman, from Sony Pictures TV, is a closed-ended drama set in San Diego, which centers on police detective Molly Collins (Stringfield), married mother of two on the verge of divorce, who, along with her partner Brooke Kross (Sigler), investigate the city’s most high-profile crimes while navigating their divergent personal lives. This is one of 3 pilots Lifetime greenlighted in June, along with Against the Wall and Exit 19. If the pilot goes to series, it will mark Sigler’s first regular series gig since The Sopranos. She recently recurred on HBO’s Entourage and ABC’s Ugly Betty.
Outlaw Country, from Fox TV Studios and FX Prods., is a crime thriller/family drama set against the backdrop of southern organized crime and Nashville royalty. It focuses on 4 main characters, played by Luke Grimes, Haley Bennett, Mary Steenburgen and Hawkes. Grimes plays twentysomething Eli Larkin, a half-cowboy, half-modern guy who tries to get out of the crime ridden life he has grown accustom. Bennett plays twentysomething Annabel Lee, a gorgeous country singer who is living in the shadow of her overprotective mother (Steenburgen). … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: ER alumna Sherry Stringfield is set as the lead in Lifetime’s untitled drama pilot from Drop Dead Diva creator/executive producer Josh Berman. The project, from Sony Pictures TV, is a closed-ended drama set in San Diego, which centers on police detective Molly Collins (Stringfield), married mother of two on the verge of divorce, who, along with her partner Brooke Kross, investigate the city’s most high-profile crimes while navigating their divergent personal lives. This is one of 3 pilots Lifetime greenlighted in June, along with Against the Wall and Exit 19. The pilot reunites Stringfield with Lifetime where she co-starred opposite Eric McCormack in the original film Who Is Clark Rockefeller?” earlier this year. She is repped by APA and John Carrabino.