Lifetime Announces 2016-17 Development Slate Including Projects from Selena Gomez, Janet Jackson & More
Lifetime announced today a bold new programming slate and a new multi-platform initiative dedicated to growing the network's leadership position as the ultimate destination for women's entertainment. With efforts spanning linear, digital, social and community partnerships, Lifetime is bringing all platforms together under a united effort called The Fempire, which is dedicated to entertaining and engaging the next generation of feminists by creating content for women, by women, about women. Continuing to add major talent to its roster, both in front of and behind the camera, projects include the untitled Selena Gomez Project, movie deals with Janet Jackson, Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey along with an aggressive digital programming initiative that will reach its viewers 24/7 with non-linear content.
About the announcement today, Liz Gateley, EVP and Head of Programming for Lifetime stated, "Lifetime will expand its brand into a multi-platform destination with an aggressive investment in short-form digital content that will engage and entertain our viewers 24/7. With content and conversations curated around the fourth wave of feminism, The Fempire will be a place where women come to share videos and conversations, connect with friends, learn new things and most importantly, be entertained." Gateley added, "It still sucks to be a woman in America because women feel dismissed in both big and small ways throughout their day every day. We know our viewers come to Lifetime because we empower them. Building on the momentum of our critical hit, UnREAL, along with our movies and growing unscripted success, our content will be centered around strong, complicated characters who stand up for themselves and refuse to be disqualified, and are overcoming the same obstacles our audience faces every day. We will deliver on that with exciting new talent partnerships in both linear and digital. No studio or network is giving women creators a bigger platform to freely express themselves and see their stories get made."
Continuing to build on the momentum generated by the critical hit UnREAL, Lifetime is making, developing and acquiring projects with complex female heroines and anti-heroines at their core.
Lifetime has ordered the two-hour pilot, Sea Change, a supernatural drama based on the YA novel by New York Times bestselling author, Aimee Friedman. The series follows a strong 17-year-old girl who, after the death of her father, moves to a small Nantucket-like island to live with her estranged mother. There she is pulled into classic small town rivalries and clashes with her mother, but quickly learns the depth of those conflicts when THE ISLAND legend about dangerous Sea Walkers appears to be true, presenting a mystery for her and her family. Sea Change is written by Liz Sczudlo (The Following, Awkward) and produced by MarVista Entertainment and Piller/Segan. Executive producers are Fernando Szew, Sharon Bordas, Lloyd Segan, Shawn Piller and David MacLeod.
The hit comedic series, Catastrophe, which premiered in the UK starring Sharon Hogan and Rob Delaney, will get its U.S. linear debut with Lifetime in early 2017. The series follows the unlikely match between an Irish teacher and an American advertising executive as a one-night hookup leads to pregnancy and the potential for a committed relationship. Catastrophe is made by Avalon Television and executive produced by Sharon Hogan, Rob Delaney, Richard Allen-Turner, Jon Thoday and Kara Baker.Jack Bayles produces the 12 half-hour episodes.
In development with Lifetime, Selena Gomez is set to executive produce a scripted drama inspired by her own life experiences, navigating a career in Hollywood as seen through the eyes of her friends who quickly become her most trusted inner circle. The drama is produced by A+E Studios and Trigger Street. Set to executive produce the untitled Selena Gomez Project are Kevin Spacey, Mandy Teefey, Dana Brunetti, Samantha Droke and Troy Searer.
Lifetime is also developing a one-hour drama, A Midsummer's Nightmare (wt), an anthological concept where each season takes a classic Shakespearean tale and twists it into a modern-day horror-mystery. A Midsummer Night's Dream inspires the first season as two young lovers escape their lives on a romantic getaway into the woods until their journey takes an unexpected twist when their friends arrive trying to lure them back home. Something hiding in the forest has other plans, however, and they are targeted one by one while a thrilling and desperate tale of survival unravels. Anthony Jaswinski (The Shallows) is writing the pilot. A Midsummer's Nightmare is from A+E Studios and Prospect Park. Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry are executive producing.
Also in development, NONE OF THE ABOVE (wt), based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, is a powerful coming-of-age drama that explores the story of a girl whose previous idyllic life as the homecoming queen is called into question when she discovers she is intersex. The drama is being written by Liz Maccie (Make it or Break It), with Stephen Chbosky (Perks of Being a Wallflower) attached to direct. Davis Entertainment and A+E Studios will produce with John Davis attached as executive producer.
The soapy and mysterious untitled Holly Brix Project, in development, is about a group of strangers who are brought together by an unknown puppet master, threatening to expose their past misdeeds and hidden lives. A race to uncover the identity of their blackmailer ensues before this deeply flawed group of people is forced into doing the unthinkable. Written by Holly Brix (The Vampire Diaries), UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and A+E Studios are attached to produce. Eva Longoria and Ben Spector are executive producing.
From the wickedly comedic mind of Jason Gann (Wilfred) comes Breeders (wt), a subversive dramedy that takes an honest look at support group survival for new parents and how new moms start to reflect the social circles of high school, where the ruthless rule and the weak rarely survive. The project is in development from A+E Studios and executive produced by Nicky Weinstock.
Lifetime is also developing Deadline (wt), a darkly satirical one-hour drama that follows aspiring journalist Emily Twist, who is frustrated by how hard it is to get noticed as a reporter in a world that values gossip over hard-hitting investigative news. To rise to the top, Emily must leave her integrity at the door and make increasingly deadly moves to keep her story alive. Deadline is from A+E Studios and produced by Imperative Entertainment with Justin Levy and Tim Kring.Sam Forman (House of Cards) is set to write the pilot.
Lifetime is cable's #1 destination for original movies in 2016 YTD with Women 25-54 and #2 with Adults 25-54, Adults 18-49, Women 18-49, and Total Viewers, according to Nielsen research. The 2016-17 slate of movies will continue to tell the stories of strong, daring women that have never been told.
Embracing our most prominent cultural icons exhibiting strength, Lifetime is developing movies with two of today's most inspirational female athletes. Ronda Rousey signed a three-picture movie deal to bring stories that reflect her passions about empowerment to the screen.
Additionally, as part of Lifetime's movie development, Serena Williams will executive produce the movie, Sister Dance (wt), a story inspired by the annual dance-off competition she hosts with her sister, Venus. In the film, two sisters become rivals once they pit themselves against each other and their respective dance teams in an epic dance battle.
Janet Jackson will executive produce the story of 1920's New York City mobster, Queenie (wt).This is a true story about the first and only woman gangster during the prohibition, set against the backdrop of The Cotton Club. Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) will direct.
The Michel'le Story (wt) details the life of R&B singer Michel'le, who was discovered at a young age by Easy E and became a platinum artist on Ruthless Records. Dr. Dre's girlfriend for more than a decade and later married to Suge Knight, Michel'le was there for N.W.A.'s wild ride, with all of its dramatic ups and down. Finally, after years of silence, Michel'le is ready to reveal her side of the story. The Michel'le Story will be produced for Lifetime by Sony Pictures Television and Thinkfactory Media. Leslie Greif executive produces.
Under the Lifetime Films banner, Paris Can Wait, written and directed by Eleanor Coppola, starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin, is based on Coppola's own life journeys in romance and travel and will have its premiere on Lifetime after a theatrical release. Produced by Fred Roos and executive produced by Michael Zakin, Paris Can Wait is presented by Lifetime Films, American Zoetrope and Corner Piece Capital. Rob Sharenow, Molly Thompson, Tanya Lopez and Lisa Hamilton Daly executive produce for Lifetime.
Lifetime's unscripted slate showed record growth for 1Q16 as all-new unscripted hits, including The Rap Game, LITTLE WOMEN: ATLANTA and PROJECT RUNWAY JUNIOR led a +45% Adults 25-54 and +49% Women 25-54 average 1Q16 vs. 1Q15 among new unscripted series. With a median age of 33, THE RAP GAME is one of Lifetime's youngest series ever. LITTLE WOMEN: ATLANTA was the strongest unscripted series premiere in four years among Adults 25-54 and Women 25-54. Returning franchise LITTLE WOMEN: LA showed double-digit growth in all demos, including +16% Adults 25-54 and +20% Adults 18-49, according to Nielsen research.
New unscripted series coming to Lifetime this year include:
Fashion Inc. is Lifetime's latest offering for today's trendsetting audience. Set in New York City's celebrated fashion district, aspiring fashion and beauty entrepreneurs compete for the chance to secure funds from a panel of expert investors to help grow their budding ventures. The fashion and beauty titans helming the series include Katia Beauchamp, the Co-Founder & CEO of beauty retailer Birchbox; tech marketplace maven and CEO of plus-size clothing rental startup Gwynnie Bee, Christine Hunsicker; celebrated fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff; and business mentor for the CFDA Incubator program and co-CEO of Hilldun, Gary Wassner. With their own money and time on the line, THE EXPERTS will be tough critics on each entrepreneur as they analyze their concepts. Fashion Inc. could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership for some, or the end of a dream for others. Production begins in April in New York. Produced by The Weinstein Company with executive producers Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Patrick Reardon and Barbara Schneeweiss, in addition to Matador with executive producers Jay Peterson, Todd Lubin and James Bruce, eight one-hour episodes will premiere later this year following Season 15 of Project Runway. Executive producing for Lifetime are Eli Lehrer, Mary Donahue and David Hillman.
The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat is all in a day's training in the new Lifetime docuseries, Gold Medal Families, premiering this summer. The series showcases six Olympic hopefuls and their families, revealing the extraordinary lengths, economic hardships and personal sacrifices they all go through to get their elite athlete to the podium of the world games. Joining are gymnast and gold medalist Aly Raisman, divers Steele Johnson and Jordan Windle, boxer Jajaira Gonzalez, rhythmic gymnast Nastasya Generalova, and swimmer Sean Greishop.Gold Medal Families is produced by The Company. Charlie Ebersol, Mike Lanigan and Bryn Freedman are executive producers. Eli Lehrer, Mary Donahue and David Hillman executive produce for Lifetime. Eight one-hour episodes have been ordered.
Lifetime has an aggressive new plan to make short form content that will serve its audience 24/7 through social distribution and The Fempire digital HUB at www.mylifetime.com, providing standout content at the audience's fingertips. This grouping of programs and conversation will offer a positive and informative place for women to connect and share. In partnership with Hello Giggles, Lifetime is breaking into the comedy space and creating comedy shorts, Oversharing, that feature the best of today's up-and-coming female comedians telling way too much about their personal lives. All ten episodes are available online.
UnREAL fans can already binge the all-new spinoff series, The Faith Diaries, written and produced by UNREAL co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro. This first digital short series for the network follows fan favorite, Faith (Breeda Wool) and her girlfriend Amy as they travel to Los Angeles to pursue their Hollywood dreams and they learn about their own relationship along way.
Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning scripted series, non-fiction series and movies. The critically acclaimed UnREAL, Devious Maids, Project Runway, Dance Moms, Bring It!, THE RAP GAME and Little Women franchises anchor the network's programming, in addition to its over 25 original movies annually that continue to define the TV movie genre. In 2015, Lifetime launched Broad Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers to make its content which totals over 450 original hours. Lifetime Television(R), LMN(R), Lifetime Real Women(R) and Lifetime Digital(TM) are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation