CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest telefilm news, culled from recent wire reports:
BIG BUCKS: THE PRESS YOUR LUCK SCANDAL (GSN) - The Game Show Network saw its highest numbers in its eight-year history for its March 16 broadcast of the film. 1.2 million viewers tuned in for the telefilm, about an unemployed ice cream truck driver who mastered the show's game board, more than three times its previous record of 400,000 for "The Best of Family Feud" in 2000.
CHILDREN OF DUNE (Sci Fi) - The mini-series became the third most watched program in the network's history as roughly 2.7 million viewers on average watched the three-part adaptation of Frank Herbert's novels. The first night earned a 2.9 rating, the second a 2.3 and the third a 2.1. Only the original "Dune" mini-series and the recent "Taken" maxi-series have performed better for the cable channel.
CODE 11-14 (CBS, New!) - David James Elliott ("J.A.G.") and Terry Farrell ("Becker") star in this thriller that follows an F.B.I. agent whose search for a serial killer intensifies when he finds himself and his family trapped on board an international flight with the murderer. The telefilm bows Sunday, April 13 at 9:00/8:00c.
EVIL NEVER DIES (TBS) - The cable channel will premiere its new take on the Frankenstein legend on Sunday, June 1 at 8:00/7:00c. Thomas Gibson ("Dharma and Greg") stars as a police officer who loses his wife at the hands of a brutal murderer. After being transferred to patrol duty at a prestigious college, he discovers that the now-executed murderer is part of a professor's strange experiment that results in his being brought back to life, his murderous drive still intact. Katherine Heigl ("Roswell") also stars. Visit the official web site by clicking here.
FRAMED (TNT) - The Turner owned network will premiere the telefilm on Sunday, April 13 at 8:00/7:00c. Golden Globe nominees Rob Lowe ("The West Wing") and Sam Neill ("Jurassic Park") star in the psychological drama about a disgraced cop (Lowe) who gets his last shot at redemption when he tracks down the key witness in a money-laundering case (Neill). Visit the official web site by clicking here.
THE GOODBYE GIRL (TNT) - Two-time Emmy winner Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond") is set to star in TNT's upcoming remake of Neil Simon's classic feature "The Goodbye Girl." Marsha Mason snagged an Oscar nomination for playing the part in the original 1977 film. Simon himself is writing and executive producing the new take on "Girl," with Ron Ziskin and Dave Collins ("Stealing Sinatra") on board as executive producers. The telefilm is a co-production between Warner Bros. TV and TNT. Shooting is expected to begin this summer for an early 2004 debut.
HOMELESS TO HARVARD: THE LIZ MURRAY STORY (Lifetime) - The cable channel will premiere its biopic of Liz Murray (portrayed by "American Beauty's" Thora Birch) on Monday, April 7 at 9:00/8:00c. Murray was raised in severe poverty by loving, yet drug-addicted parents. After her mother's AIDS-related death when she was 15, she turned her life around, eventually earning a New York Times scholarship for needy students, enabling her to attend Harvard University.
LUCY (CBS) - The celebrated, complex, passionate and tumultuous relationship between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz is profiled in the Eye's original telefilm that also features a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the creation "I Love Lucy." It premieres Sunday, May 4 at 9:00/8:00c.
OUT OF THE ASHES (Showtime, New!) - The pay channel will bow the original telefilm on Sunday, April 13 at 8:00/7:00c. Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress/director Christine Lahti stars as Dr. Gisella Perl, a Jewish doctor who survived the holocaust to set up a practice in the United States. The film, directed by Joseph Sargent, is based on Perl's book, "I Was A Doctor In Auschwitz."
RUDY: THE RUDY GIULIANI STORY (USA) - USA has announced it has cut a brief shot of a body falling from the north tower of the World Trade Center in its Giuliani biopic. Review copies of the telefilm (which airs March 30) included the shot. In a letter set to journalists, USA said "after much internal discussion, we have decided that the potential distress that could be caused by one particular shot -- a shot of a body falling from the north tower -- outweighs its place in the accounting of the life of Rudy Giuliani."
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters