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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lifetime Showcases 2009-10 Season

By Mansha Daswani
Published: April 22, 2009

NEW YORK: Lifetime Networks unveiled a slate of dramas, comedies, unscripted series and movies for the 2009-10 season at its Upfront presentation in New York yesterday, with a development slate that includes a comedy with Cybill Shepherd, an American adaptation of the British detective series Murder in Suburbia and a show based on the 1988 theatrical release Mystic Pizza.

Headlining Lifetime Television's fall season, meanwhile, is season six of Project Runway, which previously aired on Bravo. Now that the legal dispute with NBC Universal has been settled, Lifetime is slated to launch the new season August 20. Produced by The Weinstein Company and Bunim-Murray Productions, the show is back with Heidi Klum as host, Tim Gunn as mentor to the contestants and Michael Kors and Nina Garcia as judges. Airing Thursday nights at 10 p.m., the show leads into Models of the Runway at 11 p.m. The half-hour companion series focuses on the models of Project Runway. Also on the unscripted front, Cook Yourself Thin, based on the British series, premieres May 4, while DietTribe comes back for a second season later this year. 

Returning to the schedule, in its third season, is the channel's top-rated drama series Army Wives on June 7, while the comedy Rita Rocks will be back for a second outing in the fall. New to the slate, meanwhile, is the comedic drama Drop Dead Diva, rolling out July 12. The show was created by Josh Berman and executive-produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

Lifetime also presented a wide-ranging development slate. In comedy, pilots include Sherri, with Sherri Shepherd (The View, 30 Rock); The Valerie Bertinelli Project (working title), from writer/executive producer Dave Caplan (The Drew Carey Show); and Alligator Point, starring Cybill Shepherd (The L Word). The drama development slate features 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 the final episode from writer/executive producer Barbara Hall (Judging Amy, Joan of Arcadia); Queens of the Rodeo, a comedic drama; 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 Murder in Suburbia, formatted from the British series, written and executive produced by Jon Maas (True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet).

Unscripted series in development at Lifetime include Camping with the In-Laws; Deadbeat Dads, from executive producer JD Roth; Multiple Mayhem, a docu-soap about families with twins, triplets or more; Real Women/Real Lives; and Tough as Nails.

Lifetime is also showcasing a range of new TV movies and mini-series, with 12 originals to air by year's end. The slate includes Maneater, based on Gigi Levangie Grazer’s New York Times best-selling novel; Acceptance, with Joan Cusack; Georgia O’Keeffe, starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons; and Sorority Wars, featuring Courtney Thorne-Smith, Faith Ford and Lucy Hale. Lifetime has also acquired the feature film drama Personal Effects, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Ashton Kutcher. 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, and is developing the movie Unanswered Prayers, based on the hit Garth Brooks song, with the singer executive producing.


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