Lifetime has given a pilot order to The Lottery, a futuristic conspiracy thriller. Written by feature/longform writer Timothy J. Sexton (Children Of Men, Boycott), Lottery is set in a world destined for extinction as women have stopped having children. When remarkably 100 embryos are successfully fertilized, a national lottery is held to decide the surrogates. As conflict, control and mystery over this important scientific breakthrough unfolds, government interests and power begin to dominate one of the most personal and basic elements of humanity — the right to have a family. Oscar-nominated Sexton executive produces with Dawn Olmstead (Prison Break) whose Grady Girl Prods will co-produce with Warner Horizon Television. The order for The Lottery comes on the heels of the green light for Deliverance Creek, a two-hour backdoor pilot from Nicholas Sparks Prods, also produced by Warner Horizon. They join Lifetime pilots HR and Unreal.
Lifetime To Do Gabby Douglas Biopic; Regina King & S. Epatha Merkerson To Co-Star, Douglas To Make Appearance
EXCLUSIVE: Gabby Douglas, the first black gymnast in Olympic history to become the Individual All-Around Champion and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics, is getting a TV biopic. Lifetime has greenlighted The Gabby Douglas Story (working title), an original movie starring Imani Hakim (Everybody Hates Chris) and Sydney Mikayla as the two-time Olympic gold medalist, Southland alumna Regina King as her mother and S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order) as her grandmother. Mikayla will portray Douglas during her childhood while Hakim will play her as a teenager and young adult. Douglas also will appear in the film, produced by Sony Pictures TV.
EXCLUSIVE: Project Runway producer The Weinstein Co. has teamed with Lifetime for another fashion-themed reality series. Lifetime has greenlighted Million Dollar Shoppers, a six-episode hourlong series set in the exclusive world of personal shopping. It will premiere on October 10, at 10:30 PM, immediately following Project Runway, before moving to its regular time slot at 10 PM on October 24. Each episode of Million Dollar Shoppers will feature three personal shoppers as they try to meet the fashion needs of their rich, famous, powerful and often high-maintenance clients. With their pride, reputation and, ultimately, final commission on the line, the shoppers take close inventory of their clients’ closets and homes before consulting with them about the task, ranging from finding an outfit for a specific event, packing for an upcoming vacation or an entire wardrobe makeover. With the customers’ credit cards in hand, the shoppers use their retail sense and fashion connections to purchase what they believe fulfills their clients’ vision until the clients meticulously review all purchases before approving each and every expense. Each week, viewers will follow the driven shoppers to see who rakes in the most commission and the ultimate bragging rights. Personal shopping has drawn interest from TV recently, with Girls‘ Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner developing a comedy for HBO about long-time Bergdorf Goodman personal shopper and New York institution Betty Halbreich.
Lifetime’s newest drama Witches Of East End will debut October 6, the network’s EVP Programming Rob Sharenow announced at the start of that show’s Q&A session at TCA this afternoon. TV critics with suspicious minds wanted to discuss the fact that the name of Lifetime’s witch show sounds suspiciously like that of the John Updike novel made into a hit flick made into an ABC drama series that came and went in the blink of an eye. Witches Of East End exec producer Maggie Freidman, whose patience we hope we inherit in our next life, explained sweetly that her show is based on Melissa de la Cruz’s very popular novel of same name, and the idea is to attract the many fans of the book to the TV series, making all suggestions of a name change, however well-intended, pure horseradish. Besides, Friedman noted, the tone of her show is very different from that of the Updike-inspired ABC one. This one’s about Joanna Beauchamp (Julia Ormond), whose particular curse is that she keeps giving birth to the same two daughters, over and over again — a sort of OBGYN Groundhog Day. The daughters keep dying, which causes her to get preggers again, and so on. Friedman says it’s a metaphor for motherhood, making motherhood sound like a perfect hell.
V.C. Andrews’ controversial bestselling book, Flowers in the Attic, is getting a TV movie adaptation at Lifetime. The cable network has greenlighted the film, which will star Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn. Flowers In The Attic weaves the gothic tale of four young siblings, two boys and two girls, who, after the tragic death of their father, are torn from an idyllic life and subjected to cruel emotional and physical abuse resulting from a dark, long-hidden family secret. Abandoned by their mother, Corrine (Graham), and forced to endure unimaginable treatment living in the attic of their grandparents’ mansion, the children form a family unit of their own. But as the oldest boy and girl come of age both emotionally and physically while caring for their younger brother and sister, their family’s sordid past entraps them further as they try to survive and escape from the harsh conditions in which they live. Burstyn (Political Animals) will portray the children’s grandmother, Olivia.
The Saturday night premiere of the Lifetime original movie on the life of former Playmate Anna Nicole Smith pulled in 3.3 million viewers. Anna Nicole was even with the 3.3 million viewers the Rob Lowe-starring Prosecuting Casey Anthony drew on January 19. It was down from the 3.5 million that heavily hyped Liz & Dick with Lindsay Lohan garnered on November 25, 2012. Saturday’s movie drew a 2.6 household rating. Anna Nicole was the top original cable movie premiere of the year so far among adults 25-54 (1.6 million) and adults 18-49 (1.4 million). That’s best for Lifetime in the key demos as well as among women 25-54 and women 18-49 since last fall’s Steel Magnolias.
Drop Dead Diva was cancelled then brought back to life with a fifth season pick-up and now Lifetime has dropped the first promo for the June 23 premiere. The dramedy series, starring Brooke Elliott, is executive produced by creator Josh Berman, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. Check out …
The initiative makes sense for the upcoming Lifetime drama series, which was created by Desperate Housewives‘ Marc Cherry and counts Eva Longoria among its exec producers. Devious Maids is based on the hit Televisa telenovela Ellas Son La Alegría Del Hogar and centers on five Latina maids (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramírez, Roselyn Sánchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes) with ambition and dreams of their own while working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills — with murder and intrigue thrown into the mix. The network is making the pilot episode available early on digital platforms beginning Sunday in both English and Spanish. The sneak peak comes ahead of the series’ on-air debut June 23. Following the premiere, Lifetime will make each episode available in both languages the day after its Sunday 10 PM airing. “We are thrilled to work with our distribution partners on making Devious Maids available in both English and Spanish to maximize the show’s crossover appeal among the broadest range of their customers”, said Rob Sharenow, Lifetime’s EVP and General Manager.