Lifetime has passed on hourlong pilot The Secret Lives Of Wives starring Kim Raver and Salli Richardson. Inspired by the book by Iris Krasnow, Secret Lives Of Wives explores the unvarnished truth behind the marriages of four different women — Michelle (Raver), Reed (Richardson), Keaton (Amber Clayton) and Jessie (Lauren Bittner). The pilot was written by Jill Gordon and produced by Lin Pictures in association with Warner Horizon Television. Lifetime seems to be cleaning house before it picks up its next new scripted series. Just yesterday, the network cancelled dramedy Drop Dead Diva after four seasons. The hourlong pilots that have been completed and are in contention for a series order are the Renee Zellweger-produced Cinnamon Girl as well as Witches Of East End. Lifetime also has pilot HR, which is still casting, and movie/backdoor pilot Stalkers, which premieres in the spring. Lifetime’s other movie/backdoor pilot, An Amish Murder, which aired earlier this month, will not be going to series. Secret Lives was one of two hourlong pilots with similar themes and titles ordered this past summer, along with NBC’s The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives, whose fate has not been determined.
EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime is closing the book on dramedy Drop Dead Diva after four seasons. I’ve learned that the cable network has opted not to order a fifth season of the show starring Brooke Elliott as a dead aspiring model trapped in the body of an intelligent, curvy lawyer. The decision comes three months after Season 4 of Drop Dead Diva wrapped its run on Lifetime. I hear the series producer Sony Pictures TV may shop it elsewhere.
Drop Dead Diva was one of two scripted series Nancy Dubuc inherited when she took over Lifetime in 2010, along with veteran drama Army Wives, which is undergoing casting and creative changes as it heads into a seventh season. There had been speculation that Lifetime brass felt Drop Dead Diva did not fit into the network’s shift toward edgier fare. The network tried to shake things up last season with the casting of Kim Kardashian in a recurring role. Ratings-wise, Drop Dead Diva has been a solid performer since its July 2009 premiere, which drew 2.8 million viewers. Its most recent season averaged consistently over 2 million viewers an episode in Live+Same Day.
Writer Nina Colman (Dr. Dolittle 3) has set up three projects at three different networks. She has teamed with producers Ben Silverman of Electus and Teri Weinberg of Yellow Brick Road for a comedy at NBC and a drama at Lifetime. The projects reunite Silverman and Weinberg, who worked together at Reveille and NBC.
Tentatively titled WTF, the NBC project, from Universal TV, is a dark comedy about four friends whose bad luck suddenly turns into a golden opportunity. The Lifetime drama Flesh And Blood is set in New York and centers on a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who infiltrates a very powerful New York family. Silverman and Weinberg executive produce both projects alongside Colman.
America’s Supernanny is coming back for a second season on Lifetime, with a slightly revised name. Now known as America’s Supernanny: Family Lockdown, the reality series will return for eight episodes starting January 8, 2013. Host Deborah …
EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime is turning another infamous real-life crime story into a TV movie with Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story. Matt Barr, Eric McCormack and Lolita Davidovich star in the project, inspired by the true story of Christopher Porco, who was convicted of killing his father and attempting to murder his mother. Written by Edithe Swensen and to be directed by Norma Bailey, Romeo Killer centers on beloved, handsome college student Chris Porco (Barr), who was every girl’s dream in the small town of Delmar, NY. Porco was accused of brutally murdering his father and disfiguring his mother, Joan (Davidovich), in a savage ax attack, a claim made all the more shocking when a local police detective (McCormack) believed the mother identified Chris as her attacker. Also cast in the movie is Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow), who plays Lauren Phillps, a young love interest of the accused killer who had maintained his innocence. The film is executive produced by Steve Solomos, Harvey Kahn, Michael Jaffe of Michael Jaffe Films and Ilene Kahn Power of Kahn-Powers Pictures.
EXCLUSIVE: This past summer, Lifetime picked up Devious Maids, Marc Cherry’s follow-up to Desperate Housewives. Now the cable network has added to its development slate Paranormal Housewives, a light drama executive produced by Julia Roberts, her longtime collaborator Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas as well as Robyn Meisinger of Madhouse Entertainment. Written/exec produced by Miss Congeniality scribe Katie Ford, it is about an all-female group of paranormal investigators who call themselves The Paranormal Housewives. The show is inspired by the real Paranormal Housewives, a Southern California group of female professional paranormal investigators. It was launched in 2010 by Erin Potter and her friends Kirsten Thorne and Marsha Covert-Garcia in part as a response to their field being dominated by male investigators.
Larry A. Thompson has managed a lot of talent and produced a lot of television over the years, but nothing he’s done before has attracted the kind of attention Liz & Dick has. Set to air November 25, the Lifetime TV movie about the stormy love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton was in the spotlight from the moment Lindsay Lohan was cast as Taylor. Car crashes, filming delays, exhausted crew members and the constant glare of the media hampered the production. Liz & Dick covers the couple’s two marriages, two divorces and career ups and downs. Grant Bowler plays Burton in the film. Lloyd Kramer directs from a script by Temple Grandin scribe Christopher Monger. Thompson talked with me about the trials of making Liz & Dick, hiring Lohan, and his next project on Oprah Winfrey.
DEADLINE: With all the attention on Liz & Dick, this could not have been an easy film to make.
THOMPSON: It was a challenge to make this movie. I certainly was aware of the risk I was taking hiring Lindsay Lohan. I realize now making the right decision is easier than living with the right decision. But it was the right decision nonetheless. Because in our movie none of the reported madness seeps into the story except when the story asks for it. It was a complicated jigsaw puzzle under the best case scenarios and then when you are challenged by new factors, it keeps you on your toes. When you’re promoting a movie, you always have to watch what you say and when you are working with Lindsay Lohan, it gives that piece of advice new meaning.
DEADLINE: So why did you hire her?
THOMPSON: I think by having Lindsay in our movie she will bring a younger generation that might not even know who Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are. And I think because of their interest in Lindsay Lohan they are going to see a story on Lifetime that’s going to thrill them. I think all the naysayers who think that Lindsay Lohan is a train wreck are going to shocked to see how much of an actress she is. I’ve learned to divorce one’s talent from one’s personal behavior and I think the audience will start doing that too one they start watching the movie.
The Ghost Whisperer co-star David Conrad is set for a male lead role in Lifetime‘s pilot The Secret Lives Of Wives. The project, inspired by the book by Iris Krasnow, explores the unvarnished truth behind the marriages of four different women — Michelle (Kim Raver), Reed (Salli Richardson), Keaton (Amber Clayton) and Jessie (Lauren Bittner). Conrad will play Michelle’s husband Wil, an erudite, handsome English lit professor who Michelle nursed through a serious illness 15 year earlier. Still head-over-heels in love, the two are about to renew their wedding vows — making it all the more shocking when Michelle learns that Wil has been leading a double life.