Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret will have its world premiere on Saturday, June 22, at 8 PM, Lifetime said today. The two-hour movie will be followed by an hourlong documentary, Jodi Arias: Beyond the Headlines, featuring key players in the juicy murder trial. The telepic stars Tania Raymonde as Arias, who was just found guilty of murdering her former boyfriend Travis Alexander, who was found dead in his shower in June 2008 with a slit throat, 27 additional stab wounds and a bullet to the head. Jesse Lee Soffer plays Alexander in the movie, and Tony Plana and David Zayas co-star. The salacious case has been plastered across the tabloids and cable news shows for months; HLN even created a show devoted to the day-to-day happenings of the Phoenix-set trial. The movie was announced last month, with the ending needing to be written after the verdict was known. She was found guilty May 8 and the jury is now deliberating whether to hand down a death sentence. READ MORE »
Drop Dead Diva begins its fifth season with the first of 13 new episodes on Sunday, June 23 at 9 PM. The fifth-season opener is aptly titled “Back From The Dead” after the dramedy series was cancelled …
Lost alumna Tania Raymonde is in final negotiations and Jesse Lee Soffer (The Mob Doctor) is set for the leads in Dirty Little Secret: The Jodi Arias Story, Lifetime‘s original movie about the tragic couple. Directed by Jace Alexander from a script by Richard Blaney and Gregory Small, Dirty Little Secret tells the story of 32-year-old photographer Arias (Raymonde), who is standing trial for the 2008 murder of her boyfriend Alexander (Soffer), accused of stabbing him 27 times, slitting his throat and shooting him in the head in his apartment. She has pleaded not guilty, contending that she killed Alexander in self-defense. After 2 1/2 months of testimony, the defense in the case rested yesterday. The trail has drawn national attention and given its own nightly series by HLN, HLN After Dark: The Jodi Arias Trial. According to the breakdown for Dirty Little Secrets, Arias is described as a single-minded, head-strong, quick-tempered and jealous to the extreme woman who is hell-bent on emotionally suffocating and controlling Alexander, a handsome young Mormon and motivational speaker who soon falls prey. Filming starts right away in Los Angeles.
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.
UPDATED: Lifetime‘s soapy mystery dramedy Devious Maids, executive produced by Desperate Housewives‘ Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, will premiere on Sunday, June 23, at 10 PM. The project, originally developed and piloted by ABC last season, stars Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes as five maids with ambition and dreams who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills, where murder and mayhem collide in the mansions of some of the wealthiest and most powerful families.
Lifetime will be able to broadcast Romeo Killer: The Christopher Porco Story on Saturday as scheduled, a judge ruled today. NY Supreme Court Associate Justice Elizabeth Garry stayed all injunctive relief in a two-page order (read it here). The network had its emergency appeal granted after filling it Wednesday in the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department. The victory overturns the jailhouse injunction that another NY Supreme Court Judge, Robert Muller, granted Porco on Tuesday to prevent the depiction of his case airing this weekend. Porco claimed the TV movie was a violation of his rights to his image and name. Porco is currently serving 46 years to life in prison for killing his father and trying to kill his mother. Lifetime now intends to show a documentary Beyond The Headlines: The Real Romeo Killer after the movie Saturday.
One day after a judge stopped Lifetime from broadcasting its scheduled movie about murderer Christopher Porco, the network has filed an emergency appeal. “The March 19 injunction was improperly entered and should immediately be vacated or stayed,” Lifetime’s lawyers said in the motion (read it here) filed today in New York state Appellate’s Division. Romeo Killer: The Christopher Porco Story was set to air this Saturday night. On Tuesday, NY Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller granted a jailhouse injunction request by Porco, who is serving 46 years to life in prison for killing his father and trying to kill his mother. The Albany Times Union first reported the appeal. The injunction not only pulls the plug on airing the film but also stops the Lifetime from promoting it — meaning the network must pull ads and TV spots immediately. “A preliminary injunction will have a devastating financial and reputational impact on Lifetime, with millions of dollars in investment, lost revenues, and untold harm to its brand,” Lifetime states in its motion, adding, “Lifetime has spent over two million dollars acquiring the United States and International rights to the movie, and nearly one million dollars promoting the premiere of the movie on March 23, 2013.”
Lifetime has decided not to go forward with Cinnamon Girl, its drama pilot co-created and executive produced by Renée Zellweger, which was set against the backdrop of the Los Angeles music and movie scenes of the late 1960s/early 1970s. It tells the story of four coming-of-age girls — Cassie (Allie MacDonald), Lola (Alexis Knapp), Junie (Brooke Anne Smith) and Lou (Jade Bartlett) — and explores their lives at the crossroads of the era’s political, artistic, social and sexual rebellions. Zellweger co-created Cinnamon Girl with Anthony Tambakis (Warrior), and the premise was a combination of Zellweger’s real-life journey from small-town Texas to Hollywood stardom and Tambakis’ lifelong fascination with the Laurel Canyon music scene and the New Hollywood, auteur-driven era that began in the late ’60s.
EXCLUSIVE: After featuring Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra as portrayed by Lindsay Lohan in its original movie Liz & Dick, Lifetime is now going for the real thing, putting in development a four-hour miniseries about the famous Egyptian queen. Written by Robert Port (Numbers) and produced by Michael Goldstein and Mike Larkin (Scoundrels), the mini tells the story of one of the most popular figures in ancient history. The last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra is known mostly for her beauty; her liaisons with Rome’s Julius Caesar and Mark Antony; and her tragic suicide that was followed by the fall of Egypt, which became a Roman province. This is a rare multi-part miniseries for Lifetime, whose longform business has been focused primarily on TV movies. The cable network recently came on board History’s four-hour Bonnie & Clyde miniseries, which is being shared by the two sibling nets. It stars Holliday Grainger, Emile Hirsch, Holly Hunter and William Hurt and is directed by Bruce Beresford.
The first new drama series from Lifetime‘s most recent batch of pilots has emerged. The cable network has given a series order to drama Witches Of East End, starring Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Boston and Mädchen Amick. The 10-episode series, produced by Fox 21, will premiere later this year. The Witches Of East End was one of four hourlong pilots Lifetime ordered last summer. Of the other three, two have been completed, the Renee Zellweger-produced Cinnamon Girl, whose fate is still up in the air, and The Secret Lives Of Wives, which Lifetime passed on earlier this month. The fourth, HR, is still casting.
EXCLUSIVE: The cast of Lifetime‘s veteran drama Army Wives continues to staff up for the upcoming seventh season. Brant Daugherty has landed a major recurring role. He will play 2nd Lt. Patrick Clark, son of Jackie (Kelli Williams) and Kevin (Robert John Burke). An intelligent, capable infantry officer freshly minted from West Point, Patrick is eager to prove himself in combat. I hear the role, eyed as a potential love interest for Gloria (Alyssa Diaz), may become a regular next season. Daugherty, repped by AKA Talent and Sweeney Entertainment, has a major recurring role on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars as Lucy Hale’s former love interest and recently completed the male co-lead in the comedy spoof The Starving Games. He is also a recurring on Days Of Our Lives.