VH1 is the latest basic cable network to get into the TV movie business this year, following similar forays by TNT, CMT, BET and, to some extent, USA Network. VH1 is planning a series of biopics about musicians and pop culture icons. First off is a movie about the 1990s R&B/hip-hop/pop trio TLC. The two surviving members of the group, Chilli and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, will serve as consultants and executive produce with Bill Diggins and Maggie Malina. Kate Lanier (What’s Love Got To Do With It) has signed on to write the movie. VH1 ventured into scripted programming earlier this year with the series Single Ladies, which was kicked off by a two-hour movie.
EXCLUSIVE: Real-life couple Anne Heche and James Tupper are set to star in the Lifetime original movie Girl Fight, their first on-screen pairing since the ABC dramedy series Men In Trees on which they met. Inspired by the true story of Florida cheerleader Victoria Lindsay, Girl Fight recounts the harrowing story of Tori Lindsay, a 16-year-old, stellar high school student whose life spirals downward when her “friends” brutally beat her up and then upload a video of the attack onto the Internet. Heche and Tupper will play the girl’s parents. David Craig (Flight 93), Linda Berman (Buffalo Dreams) and Rocky Lang (White Squall) are executive producing the movie, which was written by Benita Garvin and Teena Booth.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Luke Perry and Jason Priestley have reunited for Goodnight For Justice, a Hallmark Movie Channel original movie starring and executive produced by Perry and to be directed by Priestley. The Western is based on an idea by Perry who I hear envisioned it as a series of 3 movies. Set in the American Old West, it centers on John Goodnight (Perry) a circuit judge on a quest to catch the outlaw who killed his family. Production is slated to begin on August 4 in Vancouver for a 2011 premiere. Priestley directs from a script by Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky. Perry, repped by Fortitude and Himber Entertainment, John Morayniss and Ira Pincus executive produce. Entertainment One will handle worldwide distribution.
EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has tapped Taraji P. Henson to star in its next original movie, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story. While the network has being able land big-name feature talent for its recent biopics, Shirley MacLaine in Coco Chanel and Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen in Georgia O’Keeffe, getting an Oscar-nominated actress like Henson to headline one of the ripped-from-the-headlines films is a major coup for Lifetime. But the true story which Taken From Me is based on is also atypical for Lifetime’s brand of MOWs as it blends family drama with elements of a spy thriller.
It centers on Tiffany Rubin’s daring 2008 rescue of her seven-year-old son Kobe worlds away. Kobe had been the subject of a custody dispute between Rubin and her ex-husband, a South Korea native. In the summer of 2007, after a visit to his father’s Brooklyn apartment, Kobe was whisked away by him to South Korea. With little help from the authorities and no money to hire a private investigator, Rubin, a public school teacher in Queens, turned to Mark Miller, founder of the non-profit organization The American Association for Lost Children. He located Kobe in a town near Seoul and he and Rubin traveled there, launching a survailance operation to chart Kobe’ daily schedule. After a careful planning, one day Rubin went into her son’s school and was able to snatch him. The two, along with …
UPDATED: Kitty Kelley’s controversial unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey will be given the biopic treatment. Veteran TV movie producer Larry A. Thompson has acquired the rights to the book, Oprah: A Biography, published in the spring by Crown Publishers, a division of Random House.
Thompson plans to turn the book into a TV movie or a miniseries to air in September 2011, coinciding with Winfrey’s sign-off from her syndicated daytime talk show after 25 years. He is close to signing a writer for the adaptation and is already shopping the project to TV networks.
“I happen to be from Mississippi where she is from, and I know her career very well,” Thompson said. “I think it’s a fabulous story, and it’s certainly a challenge, but Kitty Kelley’s extensively researched book offers us the factual foundation to frame our cinematic portrait of this powerful and beloved icon.”
Asked about possible concerns basing a biopic on a book that has stirred so much controversy Thompson said “Oprah Winfrey is a very powerful woman, and that’s also something that will make our movie great. As for the challenge of casting Winfrey, the plan is to audition both known and unknown actresses Thompson said but after a long debate, he is leaning towards casting an unknown.”Oprah Winfrey is one of the most famous faces on the planet, and if you have an actress people know, it may make it more difficult to get into the character as the face may block the icon,” …