CBS ANNOUNCES MOVIES AND MINI-SERIES SLATE
FOR 2004-2005 SEASON
Kirstie Alley, Anne Heche, Rob Lowe, Joe Mantegna, Mary Louise Parker,
Tom Selleck And Sela Ward Are Among The Stars Set To Appear In
The "CBS Sunday Movie"
"Elvis," A New Four-Hour Mini-Series About The King of Rock �n� Roll, To Be Produced With The Cooperation Of The Presley Estate
Rosie O�Donnell Makes Her Network Television Movie Debut
In "Riding The Bus With My Sister"
"Surburban Madness" Tells The True Story of The Texas Woman Who
Ran Over And Killed Her Husband With Her Mercedes Automobile
"A Christmas Without Ornaments" And "Say When" Continue
CBS�s Tradition of Holiday Themed Movies
Blythe Danner, Faye Dunaway, Peter Fonda, Jack Palance, Peter Riegert,
Keri Russell, Skeet Ulrich and Mare Winningham Star In Two New
"Hallmark Hall of Fame" Presentations
Theatrical Movie Premieres Include "The Bourne Identity," "I Am Sam,"
"How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," "The Scorpion King," "Oceans 11"
And "John Q"
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- CBS, which continues to broadcast the highest-rated and most-watched television movies, will again present a star-studded slate of movies in the 2004-2005 season.
CBS has the top six and eight of the top 10 most-watched television movies of the 2003-2004 season including No. 1 "Fallen Angel" (17.39m). The CBS SUNDAY MOVIE, which has enjoyed its best season since 2001-2002, is up 8% in households, 13% in viewers, 10% in adults 18-49 and 14% in adults 25-54 compared to last year.
Highlights for the 2004-2005 season include ELVIS, a mini-series about the life of Elvis Presley, one of the most famous stars the world has ever known; THE DEAD WILL TELL, inspired by the readings of famed psychic James Van Praagh, starring Anne Heche in a supernatural thriller about a young woman whose world is turned upside down when her fianc� gives her an antique engagement ring; RIDING THE BUS WITH MY SISTER, starring Rosie O�Donnell, who makes her network television movie debut in an inspiring true story about the unbreakable bond between two very different sisters; SUBURBAN MADNESS, starring Sela Ward and Elizabeth Pe�a in the stranger than fiction true story of Clara Harris, the woman who killed her philandering husband by running over him with her Mercedes automobile; PERFECT STRANGERS, starring Rob Lowe in a romantic comedy about a high-powered New York advertising executive and a junior ad rep in London who switch lives for a month and learn that they have more in common than they imagined, and, THE CULPEPPER CATTLE COMPANY, starring Tom Selleck in a drama about a cattle drive boss who mysteriously comes out of retirement to look for work.
Additional highlights include WHILE I WAS GONE, starring Kirstie Alley in a drama based on the Oprah Book Club Selection and New York Times best-seller by Sue Miller, about a woman whose existence is shaken to the core when a friend from her past comes back into her life; JAMES PATTERSON�S SUZANNE�S DIARY FOR NICHOLAS, a haunting love story, based on the author�s New York Times best-seller, about a woman who discovers the truth about her lover from the diary his wife, Suzanne, wrote to their son Nicholas; STRANGE FITS OF PASSION, an emotional thriller, based on the book by best-selling author Anita Shreve, about a woman who escapes from her abusive husband with their baby girl and is then faced with a terrifying choice when he tries to get her back, and, VINEGAR HILL, based on an Oprah Book Club Selection, starring Mary Louise Parker in a drama about a schoolteacher and her husband who are down on their luck and are temporarily forced to move their family into his parents� home.
The two "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentations are: BACK WHEN WE WERE GROWNUPS, starring Blythe Danner, Faye Dunaway, Peter Fonda, Jack Palance and Peter Riegert, in a quirky story based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Ann Tyler, about a widow who is contemplating what her life would have been like if she had married someone else, and THE MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS, starring Keri Russell, Skeet Ulrich and Mare Winningham, in a drama set during World War II about an unwed pregnant woman who is sent to a small Colorado town to marry a lonely farmer who agrees to raise her child as his own.
The two holiday movies are: A CHRISTMAS WITHOUT ORNAMENTS (working title) that once again features the angel Max in a heartwarming story about two
very different families who need his help at Christmastime, and, SAY WHEN, starring Joe Mantegna in a story, based on the best-seller by Elizabeth Berg, about a man whose orderly life begins to fall apart when he learns that his wife is having an affair and wants a divorce during the holiday season.
ELVIS (four hours) is a fact-based drama about the life of Elvis Presley, one of the most famous stars the world has ever known. With the full cooperation and participation of the Elvis Presley estate, his electrifying yet tumultuous story will be told. Elvis�s rise to fame was meteoric. He was born into poverty in Tupelo, Miss., honed his musical sensibilities as a teenager in Memphis, and was universally proclaimed the King of Rock 'n' Roll by age 21. He also provided the catalyst for a revolution in music and popular culture. His life -- both public and private -- his music, his movies, his personal and professional relationships, his style and his impact will be explored. For the first time, actual master recordings of Elvis� most famous hits will be heard in the film. Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari ("Six Feet Under"), Howard Braunstein and Michael Jaffe ("It Must Be Love") are the executive producers for Jaffe/Braunstein Films, Ltd.
Among the television movies:
THE CULPEPPER CATTLE COMPANY stars Emmy Award-winner Tom Selleck ("Magnum, P.I.") as a cattle drive boss who mysteriously comes out of retirement to look for work. Cap Mabrey (Selleck) was once the best cattle drive boss in the West, but he stopped working for hire after he had raised enough money to buy his own cattle concern. When he returns to Little Aberdeen, Texas, looking for a job, it takes the townspeople by surprise. Known and respected for his cattle sense and for being a man of principle, Cap lands a job but is forced to take on a rough, untrained boy as one of his cowhands when help is scarce. The drive itself is hard work, but even a man of Cap�s skill and principles is challenged by the new wave of settlers who are mostly fortune seekers in pursuit of land and prestige that threaten the cowboy way of life. Adding to his personal struggle, Cap battles a growing attachment to the boy who threatens to break open the secret behind Cap�s return. Laurie Parker ("Twelve Mile Road") for Fox Television Studios.
THE DEAD WILL TELL, inspired by the readings of famed psychic James Van Praagh ("Living With The Dead"), stars Anne Heche ("John Q") in a supernatural thriller about a young woman whose world is turned upside down when her fianc�e gives her an antique engagement ring. Soon after she begins to wear it, Emily Parker (Heche) begins to see fleeting images of a beautiful young woman who then disappears into thin air. Emily visits the dealer who sold her fianc�e the ring and learns that its original owner, Marie Sallinger, died 35 years earlier. Convinced that Marie is trying to make contact with her, Emily begins to investigate the mysterious circumstances of her death and soon becomes entangled in a series of terrifying circumstances as the afterlife and present day collide. Barbara Lieberman ("Gleason") and James Van Praagh ("Beyond with James Van Praagh") are the executive producers for Barbara Lieberman Productions in association with Robert Greenwald Productions.
JAMES PATTERSON�S SUZANNE�S DIARY FOR NICHOLAS, based on the author�s New York Times best-selling novel, is a haunting love story about a woman who discovers the truth about her lover from the diary his wife, Suzanne, wrote to their son Nicholas. Katie Wilkinson is a New York book editor who falls deeply in love with author Matt Harrison. On the night Katie plans to take their relationship to a deeper level, Matt tells her that he is breaking up with her and leaves with no further explanation. Katie is devastated and, unbeknownst to Matt, pregnant with his child. As she struggles to make sense of what has happened, Katie receives a package from Matt containing a diary written by his wife to their young son with a note that though it will not be easy to read, he hopes will help Katie understand him better after she finishes it. Katie is compelled to open the journal, as Matt had never told her much about his past. As she reads, she begins to comprehend the painful journey that he recently experienced and how it influenced everything in his life and, in turn, in Katie�s life as well. David Madden (producer, "Runaway Bride"), James Patterson (writer, "Miracle on the 17th Green") and Lourdes Diaz (producer, "And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself") are the executive producers for Fox Television Studios.
PERFECT STRANGERS stars Rob Lowe ("The Christmas Shoes") in a romantic comedy about a high-powered New York advertising executive and a junior ad rep in London who switch lives for a month, as part of a company exchange program, and learn that they have more in common than they imagined. Lloyd Rockwell (Lowe) is a star at his agency and newly engaged to a beautiful society girl when he is asked by his boss to work in the firm�s London office in preparation to make partner. Susie Wilding, a terminally single junior ad rep, is offered the opportunity to work in the New York office, a change that her boss feels will help heal her broken heart. A condition of the exchange is that Lloyd and Suzie swap apartments as well. Lloyd lives in a white, minimalist, ultra-modern Manhattan apartment that couldn�t be more different than Susie�s kitschy, colorful old English cottage cramped with furniture and cluttered with pets. Things get off to a terrible start when Susie takes some questionable career advice from Lloyd that almost causes her to lose one of the company's principal accounts, and Lloyd is accused of giving away proprietary client information to the competition. On the verge of losing his career and his fianc�e, Lloyd realizes that Susie may be the only one who can save his job, if only he can convince her, from across the Atlantic, that he's not the arrogant, underhanded jerk she's come to believe he is. Simon Wright ("Double Bill") and Analisa Barreto ("Last of the Blonde Bombshells") are the executive producers for Working Title ("Notting Hill," "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Bridget Jones's Diary").
RIDING THE BUS WITH MY SISTER stars Rosie O�Donnell, who makes her network television movie debut, in the inspiring true story about the unbreakable bond between two very different sisters. Beth (O�Donnell) is endearing, feisty and developmentally disabled. Her sister, Rachel, is an in-demand New York City photographer whose busy life camouflages her emotional isolation. When their father suddenly dies, Rachel comes face to face with the family problems she has tried so hard to avoid. Forced to spend time with Beth, who fills her days riding city buses, Rachel discovers that her sister has created a whole family for herself with bus drivers and regular passengers who value Beth in a way that Rachel could never have imagined. Their days together are both demanding and challenging, but for the first time, the disparate sisters have the opportunity to really get to know one another and find a way to communicate as a family. Larry Sanitsky ("Open House") and Rosie O�Donnell are the executive producers for The Sanitsky Company.
STRANGE FITS OF PASSION is an emotional thriller based on the book by best-selling author Anita Shreve (The Pilot�s Wife) about a woman who escapes from her abusive husband with their baby girl, and is then faced with a terrifying choice when he tries to get her back. Maureen Cowan is a striking, ambitious young woman beginning her journalism career at a respected New York magazine where she meets charismatic Harrold English, a worldly, seasoned reporter. Things heat up quickly between the magnetic couple and their whirlwind romance quickly turns into marriage. At first, Harrold convinces Maureen that his volatile behavior is just how he expresses his passion for her, but she soon comes to realize that it's much more. After one particularly terrifying, violent episode, Maureen takes their 6-month-old daughter Caroline and flees. Her drive up the coast of Maine leads her to a small fishing town where she eventually settles, starts a new life as Mary Amesbury and becomes friendly with some of the good-hearted townspeople. But when one desperate moment forces her to make contact with her old life, she knows her future will never be the same. Arla Sorkin Manson ("The Wedding Dress") and David Manson ("Nothing Sacred") are the executive producers for Sarabande Productions.
SUBURBAN MADNESS stars two-time Emmy Award-winner Sela Ward ("Once and Again," "Sisters") and Elizabeth Pe�a ("Tortilla Soup") in the stranger-than-fiction true story of Clara Harris, the woman who killed her philandering husband by running over him three times with her Mercedes automobile. The story is told through the eyes of Bobbi Basha (Ward), the private investigator who was hired by Harris (Pe�a) to investigate her husband, David. What seems like a perfect life and marriage for the two well-respected Houston orthodontists comes crumbling down the day Clara learns that her husband is sleeping with a divorced mother of three who is working as a receptionist at their dental practice. The movie is based on a true story as reported in the Texas Monthly article by Skip Hollandsworth. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("Martin and Lewis") are the executive producers for Storyline Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television.
VINEGAR HILL, based on an Oprah Book Club Selection, stars Golden Globe Award-winner Mary Louise Parker ("Angels In America") in a drama about a schoolteacher and her husband who are down on their luck and, with their two children, are temporarily forced to move into her husband�s parents� home. Once there, they discover that his parents have a loveless, bitter relationship that thrives on making each other miserable. Ellen (Parker) realizes that there are dark and terrifying secrets being kept inside and watches helplessly as her husband, torn between his father and herself, begins to change into a person with whom she doesn�t want to live. In the end, in order for her family to survive, Ellen must discover the mysteries that are tearing everyone apart. Frank von Zerneck, Robert Sertner ("We Were The Mulvaneys") and Ira Pincus ("Scared Silent") are the executive producers for von Zerneck/Sertner Films.
WHILE I WAS GONE, based on the Oprah Book Club Selection and New York Times best-seller by Sue Miller, stars Emmy Award-winner Kirstie Alley ("David�s Mother," "Cheers") in a drama about a woman whose existence is shaken to the core when a friend from her past comes back into her life. Jo Becker has everything she ever wanted -- a successful veterinary practice, a devoted husband and a beautiful home. Still, she is strangely dissatisfied with her life and even has a premonition that she is no longer in it. When a man brings his dog into her practice to be treated, Jo recognizes him as a former housemate from her bohemian days who is now married and has moved to her small town. Though they were never involved in the past, Eli is still attractive to Jo and when he invites her to lunch in a neighboring city, she goes with the intention of sleeping with him. Instead, Eli reveals a secret to Jo that returns her to the darkest moments of her past and threatens to destroy her life as she knows it. Frank von Zerneck and Robert Sertner ("Scott Turow�s Reversible Errors") are the executive producers for von Zerneck/Sertner Films.
The "Hallmark Hall of Fame" Presentations:
BACK WHEN WE WERE GROWNUPS stars Tony Award-winner Blythe Danner ("Sylvia"), Academy Award-winner Faye Dunaway ("Network"), Golden Globe Award-winner Peter Fonda ("The Passion of Ayn Rand," "Ulee�s Gold"), Academy Award-winner Jack Palance ("City Slickers") and Peter Riegert ("Bleacher Bums") in a new "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Ann Tyler. The quirky story revolves around a widow who is contemplating what her life would have been like if she had married someone else and calls her ex-boyfriend to see if she can rekindle the old flame and spice up her life. Since her husband�s death after only six years of marriage, Rebecca (Danner) has single-handedly raised his ever-challenging and now adult daughters. She also inherited his uncle, 99-year-old Poppy (Palance), whose total focus is his upcoming 100th birthday. As she questions how her life might have been different if she hadn�t jilted her former boyfriend, Will (Fonda), for her husband, Rebecca decides to contact him. Seeing Will, who is now a divorced college professor, only adds to her dilemma. As her family life continues to swirl around her, Rebecca begins to understand how much they rely on her and, in their own unique way, truly appreciate her. Faye Dunaway plays the wholly self-absorbed real mother of Rebecca�s stepdaughters and Peter Riegert plays Zeb, her brother-in-law and close confidant. Richard Welsh ("A Painted House") and Brent Shields ("Brush With Fate") are the executive producers for Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions.
THE MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS stars Keri Russell ("We Were Soldiers"), Skeet Ulrich ("As Good As It Gets") and Emmy Award-winner Mare Winningham ("George Wallace," "Amber Waves") in a new "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation, set during World War II, about an unwed pregnant woman who is sent to a small Colorado town to marry a lonely farmer who agrees to raise her child as his own. Livy Dunne (Russell) dreams of a career as an archeologist until she becomes pregnant by a dashing soldier who leaves her behind. Her father, a stern minister, banishes her from his family and sends her away to an arranged marriage with Ray Singleton (Ulrich), a hard-working man with whom she initially has little in common. Though far from happy, Livy accepts her fate and is graciously taken in by the town�s people and Ray�s family including his sister, Martha (Winningham), a warm, friendly woman who welcomes Livy with open arms. Still, she continues to send letters to the missing soldier and holds out a grain of hope for his return. Ray is patient and willing to do anything he can to make Livy comfortable in the home he has lived in all of his life. But it takes a visit from Livy�s sister, who presents an opportunity for Livy to return home, and a friendship with a Japanese family who live in a nearby internment camp, for her to begin to see the magic that ordinary life with Ray has to offer. Richard Welsh ("The Blackwater Lightship") is the executive producer for Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions.
The holiday movies:
A CHRISTMAS WITHOUT ORNAMENTS (working title) once again features the angel Max ("A Town Without Christmas," "Finding John Christmas") in a heartwarming story about two very different families who need his help at Christmastime. This time, Max�s job may be at stake when a supervising angel, Jo, comes to earth to discipline him for contacting the wrong family in need. Max first appears to Sally Reid, a hardworking young woman whose goal is to get a promotion and a raise so that she can get her younger brother out of foster care. Jo tells him that he made a mistake on the address and should have contacted Karl Hoffman, a young man who is about to automate his family�s Christmas ornament factory and eliminate its artisan personnel. As the story unfolds, it appears that Jo may have made the real mistake and that the families may be connected in many surprising ways. Daniel H. Blatt ("Finding John Christmas") is the executive producer for Daniel H. Blatt Productions.
SAY WHEN stars Joe Mantegna ("Joan of Arcadia") in a lighthearted holiday story, based on the best-seller by Elizabeth Berg, about a man whose orderly life begins to fall apart when he learns that his wife is having an affair and wants a divorce. Frank Griffin (Mantegna) works as a computer IT consultant and is used to a quiet, uneventful existence. When his wife, Ellen, suddenly announces that she's fallen in love with an auto mechanic, Frank refuses to accept it and further refuses to even consider getting a divorce. In spite of the fact that Ellen�s affair is very serious, Frank remains steadfast in his desire to keep their marriage from completely falling apart. Desperate to fill his time, Frank signs up as a volunteer Santa Claus at the local mall, and suddenly finds himself attracted to Donna, who runs the Santa Claus Training Class, though he soon learns that Donna has marital problems of her own. Frank�s loneliness drives him to consider an affair with Donna, despite his desire to keep his family intact. He realizes that only a true Christmas miracle will be able to restore happiness to both his and Donna�s families. Larry Sanitsky ("Open House") is the executive producer for The Sanitsky Company.
Among the theatrical motion pictures CBS will present during the season are THE BOURNE IDENTITY, starring Matt Damon, Chris Cooper and Julia Stiles; I AM SAM, starring Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning, Dianne Wiest and Laura Dern; HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS, starring Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Klein and Bebe Neuwirth; THE SCORPION KING, starring The Rock, Michael Clarke Duncan and Kelly Hu; OCEANS 11, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac and Carl Reiner, and, JOHN Q, starring Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, James Woods, Anne Heche and Ray Liotta.