Lifetime Networks, television’s top destination for women, today unveiled its 2009-10 program slate that encompasses the most powerful line-up of original series and movies in Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network’s history, headlined by the sixth season of cable’s hottest unscripted competition series, Project Runway, from The Weinstein Company and Bunim-Murray Productions.
The announcement was made today by Andrea Wong, President and CEO of Lifetime Networks, and JoAnn Alfano, Executive Vice President, Entertainment, who is marking her first Upfront season since taking the programming helm last September.
“JoAnn and our programming team have put together an aggressive slate of development for movies, scripted and unscripted series that reflects our commitment to growing and evolving the Lifetime brand,” said Wong. “With the #1 and #2 networks for women, and an ever-expanding digital presence, we have unique strength, leadership and resonance with women and will continue to inject it with even greater energy and relevance. And, while Project Runway might be fashionably’ late in getting to Lifetime, some things in life are worth waiting for, and we couldn’t be happier to announce its August 20 arrival.”
Alfano noted, “You don’t often get the chance to work for a network that has such a clearly defined audience, and Lifetime has provided me with an opportunity to grow the Company through a broad slate of original series, movies and acquisitions. 2009 will see content that is even more contemporary, relevant and relatable to all women.”
Project Runway, featuring host Heidi Klum, mentor Tim Gunn and judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, is set to make its long-awaited return to television on Thursday, August 20, at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) with 14 hour-long episodes. The series, the highest-rated unscripted competition show on all of cable, will seamlessly lead into Models of the Runway at 11:00PM (ET/PT), beginning August 20. This all-new, half-hour companion series will center around the drama, anxiety, tears and joys of Project Runway’s models as they compete for money and a major magazine cover shoot. Both programs are produced by The Weinstein Company and Bunim-Murray Productions (The Real World).
Lifetime’s hit drama series Army Wives, 2008’s number one original drama on cable among W18-49, returns for its third season at 10:00 PM (ET/PT) on Sunday, June 7. The series, starring Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, Brian McNamara, Sterling K. Brown, Wendy Davis, Drew Fuller, Terry Serpico, Katelyn Pippy and Catherine Bell, has already been renewed for its fourth season. Army Wives is produced by ABC Studios and The Mark Gordon Company, and executive produced by Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy), Deborah Spera (Criminal Minds), Jeff Melvoin (Alias), Marshall Persinger (Prisoner) and Harry Bring (North Shore).
Joining Army Wives this summer will be Drop Dead Diva, the spirited new comedic drama, starring newcomer Brooke Elliott (Hairspray, Wicked) and Margaret Cho (17 Again). Debuting at 9:00 PM (ET/PT) on Sunday, July 12, this uniquely compelling twist on the age-old battle between brains and beauty tells the story of a shallow model-in-training who dies in a sudden accident, only to find her soul resurfacing in the body of a brilliant, thoughtful and plus-size attorney. Josh Berman (Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) is the creator and executive producer of Drop Dead Diva, and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Academy Award-winning Chicago, Hairspray, Lifetime’s Living Proof) are executive producers.
Last year, Lifetime launched Rita Rocks, its first original comedy in a decade. The family comedy, which stars Nicole Sullivan as an overworked wife and mother trying to find time for herself, will return for its second season in the fall. Rita Rocks is produced by Media Rights Capital and is executive produced by creators Stan Zimmerman and James Berg (Gilmore Girls, Roseanne).
Rounding out Lifetime’s current unscripted series are the new shows Cook Yourself Thin, which will debut on May 4 at 5:00 PM (ET/PT), and DietTribe, scheduled to return for its second season later this year. Based on the successful British series and cookbook hitting shelves April 28, Cook Yourself Thin follows three trained chefs who help one woman learn how to make her favorite fattening foods in a healthy way. DietTribe highlights a group of friends who are losing weight together through exercise, better eating habits and camaraderie.
In September 2010, Lifetime will begin stripping the hit off-net comedy How I Met Your Mother, which currently fills one hour of the Network’s schedule per week. This fall, Lifetime will begin airing two high-profile, off-net properties nightly, the popular dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Medium. They join a strong schedule that already features such top acquired product as Wife Swap, Desperate Housewives, Reba, Will & Grace and Frasier.
LIFETIME COMEDY DEVELOPMENT SLATE INCLUDES PROJECTS WITH STARS SHERRI SHEPHERD, VALERIE BERTINELLI AND CYBILL SHEPHERD
Lifetime will expand its comedy line-up in 2009 and, as such, is considering the following multi-camera comedy pilots:
Sherri, loosely based on Sherri Shepherd’s (The View, 30 Rock) personal family experiences, is from executive producer/writer Dave Flebotte (Desperate Housewives) and executive producers Nina Wass and Gene Stein (Less Than Perfect).
The Valerie Bertinelli Project (working title), from writer/executive producer Dave Caplan (The Drew Carey Show), is about a newly divorced mother (Bertinelli) who must maintain a balance between her family and running her ex-husband’s struggling hardware business.
Alligator Point, starring Cybill Shepherd (The L Word), follows the life and times of an eccentric group of Floridians whose lives change when a “Yankee” becomes part of their disjointed family. The half-hour sitcom is executive produced by Steve Stark (Medium) and writer/executive producer Robert Peacock (Reba), and Franco Bario (Rita Rocks) is co-executive producer. Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) directed the pilot and served as producer.
LIFETIME RAMPS UP DRAMA DEVELOPMENT
Building on the success of Army Wives and the July 12 launch of Drop Dead Diva, Lifetime Networks is developing a number of hour-long dramas with some of entertainment’s highest-level auspices. The programs include the following:
Mona Lisa Smile, based on the feature film of the same name.
Mystic Pizza: Another Slice, a two-hour, back-door pilot based on the hit film and executive produced and written by Amy Holden Jones (Mystic Pizza, Indecent Proposal).
Marry Me, a limited-run anthology series that starts with a couple who meets in the pilot and concludes with a wedding in Episode 13, from writer/executive producer Barbara Hall (Judging Amy, Joan of Arcadia).
Queens of the Rodeo, a comedic drama with the exciting and dangerous rodeo circuit as the backdrop, from writer/executive producer Sara Goodman (Reunion) and executive producers Neal Moritz (Prison Break, Fast & Furious) and Vivian Cannon (Tell Me You Love Me, Thief).
The Fallen (working title), based on T. Jefferson Parker’s novel of the same name, from executive producer McG (The OC, Charlie’s Angels) and executive producers/writers Ed Decter and John Strauss (Head Over Heels).
Murder in Suburbia, formatted from the popular British series, is written and executive produced by Jon Maas (True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet).
12 LIFETIME ORIGINAL MOVIES AND 16 LIFETIME MOVIE NETWORK ORIGINAL MOVIES TO DEBUT IN 2009
Lifetime Original Movies
Lifetime Television, the leading basic cable network for original movies among women, has assembled a diverse slate of contemporary films. The Network’s 2009-10 longform schedule remains top-notch, with the Company scheduled to present 12 Lifetime Original Movies by year’s end. Premiering at 9:00 PM (ET/PT) on May 30 will be the highly-anticipated, two-part miniseries event Maneater, presented by Vaseline Aloe Fresh, based on Gigi Levangie Grazer’s New York Times best-selling novel and starring Sarah Chalke (Scrubs). Other upcoming Lifetime Original Movies include Acceptance, with Joan Cusack (Working Girl, School of Rock), for August; and September’s Georgia O’Keeffe, starring three-time Academy Award?, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominee Joan Allen (The Contender) and Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune). October will feature the debut of Sorority Wars, featuring Courtney Thorne-Smith (Ally McBeal), Faith Ford (Hope & Faith) and Lucy Hale (Privileged), and the acquired feature film drama Personal Effects, starring Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Liaisons, Hairspray) and Ashton Kutcher (What Happens in Vegas), will make its U.S. television premiere on Lifetime in November. For the holidays, Lifetime will debut 12 Men of Christmas as part of its annual “Fa-La-La-La-Lifetime” holiday event, which last year reached more than 100 million viewers.
Looking ahead to 2010, Lifetime is currently in pre-production on At Risk and The Front, both based on best-selling works from crime writer Patricia Cornwell marking the first time ever that her novels will be adapted for television. The Company is also developing the movie Unanswered Prayers, based on the hit Garth Brooks song, with the legendary singer executive producing.
Lifetime Movie Network Original Movies
Lifetime Movie Network, the number two-rated women’s network in Primetime and Total Day for six straight years, with the first three months of 2009 being the most watched quarter ever in its history. Among the Network’s Original Movies debuting in 2009 are The Wronged Man, starring Julia Ormond (Sabrina, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and from producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator franchise); and two films based on novels by author Ann Rule that will air in August Too Late to Say Goodbye, starring Rob Lowe (Brothers & Sisters, The West Wing), and the miniseries event Everything She Ever Wanted, with Gina Gershon (Bound, Face/Off) and Victor Garber (TV’s Alias, Milk). Additional movies include June’s two murder-mystery franchise movies based on Ellen Byerrum’s popular Crimes of Fashion novels Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover, with Mark Consuelos (Hope & Faith), Maggie Lawson (Psych), Mario Cantone (Sex and the City) and Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves, TV’s Battlestar Galactica); and One Hot Summer, which will debut in July. The Network will close out 2009 with Christmas Hope, based on the third novel of Donna VanLiere’s best-selling Christmas trilogy, starring Madeleine Stowe (The Last of the Mohicans) and Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills, 90210). Christmas Hope will be joined by Christmas Shoes and Christmas Blessing, the first two movies adapted from the trilogy that were acquired by Lifetime Movie Network and have quickly become holiday favorites.
UNSCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT INCLUDES FIVE PROJECTS
Unscripted series in development at Lifetime include Camping with the In-Laws, a one-hour, closed-ended format that pits engaged couples and their respective future in-laws against each other through hilarious challenges, with Clay Newbill (The Bachelorette) and Spike Jones, Jr. (Animal Atlas) executive producing; and Deadbeat Dads, from executive producer JD Roth (The Biggest Loser), which follows National Child Support Founder Jim Durham’s personal crusade to track down and confront deadbeat fathers. Other series on the Company’s reality development slate are Multiple Mayhem, executive produced by Nicole Page (Miss Nobody) and Steven Engel (Runway Moms), a docu-soap about families with twins, triplets or more as they attempt to manage their lives and maintain sanity; Real Women/Real Lives (working title), with Banks Tarver and Alex Piper (Beyond the Glory) executive producing, an anthology series that every week will follow three unique women going through a common experience in different ways; and Tough as Nails, centering around a woman in a man’s world, Cindy Stumpo, as she runs her own multi-million dollar construction company. The program is from executive producers Ed Lemos, Charles Corwin (Miami Ink) and Matthew Ostrom (The Salt-N-Pepa Show).
LIFETIME NETWORKS 2008 RATINGS OVERVIEW
The most trusted network among women for nine straight years, Lifetime was 2008’s highest-rated women’s network on all of basic cable in both Total Day and Primetime across key female demographics, including W18-49, W25-54 and W18+. 2008 was also the Network’s most watched year among W18-49 in Primetime since 2005, and it was the top-rated, ad-supported cable network for original movie premieres in W18+. In 2009, Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network continue to out-rate all other women’s networks in W18+ and W18-49.
The first quarter of 2009 was Lifetime Movie Network’s most watched quarter ever in Total Day among W18-49 and in Primetime among households, P2+ and W18+. The Network, which has reached its milestone 70 million U.S. subscriber mark and is the industry’s fastest-growing cable network*, was supported by such original movies as Natalee Holloway, which broke all Lifetime Movie Network records upon its initial April 19 airing. The #1 original movie in the Network’s eleven year history, it was up 56% in viewership (W18-49) from the previous record holder, The Capture of the Green River Killer, and generated a 2.52 rating among W18-49 and a 3.45 household rating. Natalee Holloway, based on the book by her mother, is currently the #1 movie on all of basic cable this year to date (W25-54).