[06/03/04 - 12:00 AM]
ABC Outlines Movies, Specials for 2004-05 Season
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- As a follow-up to its upfront presentation, ABC has detailed its upcoming slate of theatrical movies, original productions and specials for the 2004-05 season.

Here's a breakdown of each, via press release:

Theatrical Movies

About a Boy
Bringing Down the House
Catch Me If You Can
The Count of Monte Cristo
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Mexican
Minority Report
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Reign of Fire
The Ring
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Sweet Home Alabama
The Tuxedo

The Wonderful World of Disney

George Lopez Christmas Movie -- world premiere
Growing Pains Reunion: Home Equity -- world premiere
Little House on the Prairie -- world premiere
Monsters Inc.
The Rookie
Snow Dogs
Once Upon a Mattress -- world premiere

Highlights of the World Premieres:

George Lopez Christmas Movie:
2 Hours

George Lopez: Henry Garcia

Production Company: Von Zerneck-Sertner Films
Executive Producers: Ann Lopez, Robert Sertner, Frank Von Zerneck, Jerry Vukas

George Lopez stars in this made-for-the-holidays movie about Henry Garcia, a popular, Chicago Sports Radio DJ who assumes a persona of sarcastic nastiness. As Christmas approaches, a young boy with a life threatening disease challenges Garcia into changing his banter style from negative to positive. To Henry's surprise, his uplifting new approach seems to inspire the entire city and helps the young boy heal, as his own life falls apart.

It's not always a wonderful life for Henry when his ratings fall and he nearly gives up all that he has worked for - until his fans unite behind him and he's shown that miracles can happen.

Growing Pains Reunion: Home Equity
2 Hours

Kirk Cameron: Mike Seaver
Brandon Douglas: Scott Kaufer
Tracey Gold: Carol Seaver
Ashley Johnson: Chrissy Seaver
Joanna Kerns: Maggie Seaver
Jeremy Miller: Ben Seaver
Chelsea Noble: Kate Seaver
Alan Thicke: Jason Seaver

Production Company: Green-Epstein-Bacino Productions
Executive Producers: Mark Bacino, Jim Green
Director: Joanna Kerns

As the lyrics to the Growing Pains theme song said, "We're nowhere near the end. The best is ready to begin." Growing Pains II: Home Equity finds Jason and Maggie Seaver ready to start a new chapter in their lives. The nest is finally empty, they've put the family home up for sale, and they're preparing to spend their retirement years traveling. (Maggie longs for a villa in Tuscany, while ever-thrifty Jason wants to tour the USA in a Winnebago.)

But all that's easier said than done as Mike and a very pregnant Carol, each with their own agenda for wanting their parents to stay put, team up to sabotage the move. At the same time, little brother Ben, now a realtor, needs the big sale of his parents' home to please his boss. Meanwhile, Chrissie, an aspiring singer, just wants to get out from under her parents' watchful gaze so she can launch her career as a rock star.

Little House on the Prairie
6 Hours

Cameron Bancroft: Charles Ingalls
Kyle Chavarria: Laura Ingalls
Danielle Chuchran: Mary Ingalls
Erin Cottrell: Caroline Ingalls

Production Company: Touchstone Television
Executive Producer: Ed Friendly
Director: David L. Cunningham

For nearly a decade (1975-1983) the long-running hit series Little House on the Prairie was appointment viewing for the entire family. Now ABC retells the engrossing story of the pioneering Ingalls family in an exciting three-part series that remains true to Laura Ingalls-Wilder's classic book series, Little House.

For young Laura Ingalls and her family, traveling to rural Kansas to start a new life after the Civil War is filled with life-threatening challenges. They brave dangers from wolves, disease, cowboys and Indians, as well as overcome battles with storms and prairie fires.

Through it all, the family pulls together as they re-build their lives while learning to depend on their neighbors. This wholesome series is sure to bring families back to television together again.

Once Upon a Mattress
2 Hours

Carol Burnett: Queen Agravain

Production Company: ABC Entertainment
Executive Producers: Carol Burnett, Marty Tudor

Carol Burnett, who starred as Princess Winifred the Woebegone in both the original 1959 Broadway musical hit and the 1972 made-for-television movie, returns this time to control the kingdom in the role of Queen Agravaine for ABC's re-make of this classic tale based on Hans Christian Andersen's story The Princess and the Pea.

As a shrew and the overbearing mother to Prince Dauntless, Queen Agravaine insists that each of his potential brides-to-be pass an impossible gauntlet of tests. Further, no one else in the kingdom may marry until the Prince does. When Princess Winnifred declares herself a contender for the Prince's hand, the Queen devises a clever sensitivity test to determine whether this self-proclaimed princess is worthy of her son.

Set in 1428, the story takes odd twists and turns, interspersed with songs that give a whole new look at the popular fairy tale. It's based on the book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer with music by Mary Rogers (daughter of Richard Rodgers) and lyrics by Marshall Barer.

Original Movies

Dynasty: Behind the Scenes
2 Hours

Melora Hardin: Linda Evans
Bart John: John Forsythe
Alice Krige: Joan Collins
Pamela Reed: Esther Shapiro
Ritchie Singer: Richard Shapiro
John Terry: Vince Peterson

Production Companies: Once Upon A Time Films, Village Roadshow Productions, Nitelite Entertainment
Executive Producers: Stanley M. Brooks, Greg Gugliotta, Robert Sertner, Frank Von Zerneck

From 1981-1989, ABC broadcast the phenomenally-successful primetime drama serial, Dynasty, a series that reflected the Reagan years of excess and glamour. Now ABC takes viewers behind-the-scenes with a satirical, yet poignant, look at the show that allowed people to forget about their ordinary lives and drink in the champagne and caviar existence of the Carrington's - a TV family dripping in jewels but short on basic morality.

Dynasty was not an instant hit series when Esther and Richard Shapiro first created the show, but it eventually dazzled audiences around the world with one of TV history's most notoriously wicked female characters, Alexis Carrington; revolutionized the term 'cat fight' as Alexis and Krystle went at it through a lily pond and mud puddle; and inspired millions of women to beef up their shoulder pads. With success came bigger salary demands from the stars and an over-inflated budget, making it one of the most expensive shows on television at that time.

Dynasty: Behind The Scenes tells of the sometimes desperate, and frequently hilarious, efforts to keep the show at the top of the ratings. No plotline was too outrageous or inconceivable for the show that left an indelible imprint on the '80s

Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God
3 Hours

Halle Berry: Janie Crawford
Michael Ealy: Tea Cake
Ruben Santiago Hudson: Joe

Production Company: Harpo Films, Inc.
Executive Producers: Kate Forte, Oprah Winfrey

Academy Award�-winning actress Halle Berry stars in this timeless, lyrical and passionate story of love, marriage and justifiable homicide: the drama of a strong woman's quest for sensual and spiritual fulfillment, and of her refusal to conform to expectation.

Based on the classic novel by Zora Neal Hurston, this Oprah Winfrey special follows 16-year-old Janie Crawford, reared in the backlands of West Florida by her ex-slave grandmother, as she defiantly sets out to find her own identity.


The Five People You Meet in Heaven
3 Hours

John Voight: Eddie
Ellen Burstyn: Ruby
Blue Man: Jeff Daniels
Marguerite: Dagmara Dominczyk

Production Company: Hallmark Entertainment
Executive Producers: Robert Halmi, Jr. & Robert Halmi, Sr.
Director: Lloyd Kramer
Writer: Mitch Albom

"All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time."

From the author of the international bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie comes an original story based on his latest bestseller, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It's a story that will change everything you've ever thought about the afterlife and the meaning of our lives here on earth.

On his 83rd birthday, Eddie, a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park, dies in a tragic accident trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. With his final breath, Eddie feels two small hands in his - and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife where, one by one, five people in his life illuminate the unseen connections of his time spent on earth.

Was Eddie's life a heroic success or a devastating failure? Only heaven knows in this larger-than-life tale filled with warmth and wisdom from a gifted storyteller.


The 77th Annual Academy Awards
The 32nd Annual American Music Awards
Miss America
An American Celebration at Ford's Theatre
The Barbara Walters Specials
Charlie Brown Specials
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve
Nick and Jessica Christmas Special
Winnie the Pooh Specials

Highlights of the Specials:

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown -- This Peanuts gang special has become a holiday must-see tradition at Halloween as Linus, yet again, waits out the Great Pumpkin.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving -- In Thanksgiving tradition, the entire Peanuts gang heads to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving. Snoopy and Linus dress the part as we all are reminded of the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

A Charlie Brown Christmas -- Linus once again comes to Charlie Browns rescue in this Christmas favorite as he teaches others the real meaning of Christmas. Charlie Brown directs the school Christmas pageant in this Charles Schultz favorite.

A Charlie Brown Valentine -- Charlie Brown makes a turn on his road to love when he dials Peppermint Patty instead of the red-haired girl he wanted to ask to the Valentine's Day dance.

Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown -- In what is sure to be a summer television classic, this recently-created Peanuts special focuses on the spirit of baseball and winning - in friendship and in the game.

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown -- This newly-created special is sure to be another Christmas television tradition as Rerun struggles with his quest to receive his mom's approval to own a dog - and to learn to handle the responsibility of one.

The Barbara Walters Special: 24th Academy Awards� Edition -- Over the years she has made celebrities of film and television share more than they ever have before - and Academy Awards� night will be no exception. Barbara Walters returns as host of the 24th edition of her Academy Awards� special on February 27, 2005, with interviews of three extraordinary Hollywood talents.

Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2004 -- As 2004 comes to an end, Barbara Walters and ABC News examine some of the most celebrated, infamous, and talked-about names of the year. The most fascinating person of 2004 is a closely guarded secret until the special airs in December.

Boo! To You, Too, Winnie the Pooh -- Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, and Rabbit join together to try to get Piglet to leave his tree by creating 'Hallo-wasn't.' When Piglet goes missing the gang is led on an adventure in Hundred Acre Wood, and towards Piglet overcome his fears.

Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too! -- Pooh needs to personally deliver the Christmas list to Santa to save the holiday for Rabbit, Eeyore, Tigger and Rabbit. Pooh and the gang realize Christmas is about spending time with those you love the most.

A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving -- Thanksgiving dinner is served in the Hundred Acre Wood as Winnie the Pooh and friends celebrate and learn the true meaning of the holiday.

Winnie the Pooh, A Valentine for You -- Featuring three original songs, this special celebrates Valentine's Day as a day to celebrate love and friendship.

  [june 2004]  


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