LIFETIME ANNOUNCES TALENT-DRIVEN 2017 PROGRAM PRIORITIES AND INNOVATIVE BRAND INITIATIVES
Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Ellen Burstyn Star in Custody
James Franco Returns to Lifetime with Second Original Movie
Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble Developing Scripted Project, You
Queen Latifah and Jermaine Dupri Executive Produce Unscripted Series, The Pop Game with Timbaland
Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen to Host New Dating Competition Game Show, My Partner Knows Best
Network's Broad Focus Initiative Achieves Parity in Hiring Female Scripted Directors
Open Road Docu-Series Project Launches to Capture the Stories of American Women in All 50 States
Los Angeles, CA (January 13, 2017) - Lifetime announced today its priority programming slate that embraces the power of female-centric storytelling and entertainment.Combined with major brand initiatives Broad Focus and newly launched Open Road, Lifetime is expanding the ways in which women are activated and engaged in the network's everyday business to deliver sought-after programming while giving voice to the complexity of women's lives.
About the announcement, Liz Gateley, EVP and Head of Programming stated, "Lifetime has an exciting 2017 ahead with big programming swings and initiatives that are dedicated to understanding the state of womanhood today, including what women want to watch and what they care about most. As we continue to be a destination for all things female, we can't wait to debut these projects that place the highest-caliber talent at the center of all we do."
Lifetime delivered cable's #1 and #2 original movies of 2016 in key demos with Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart and Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le. The 2017 slate of movies will continue our brand promise to tell big, pop culture stories in only the way Lifetime can.
Golden Globe winner Viola Davis executive produces and stars in Custody, set to make its debut on Saturday, March 4 at 8pm ET/PT. The star-studded cast includes Golden Globe nominee Hayden Panettiere, Academy Award nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno, Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Tony Shalhoub. Custody revolves around three women brought together when hard-working single mother, Sara Diaz (Moreno), has her children taken from her after she is suspected of injuring her son. Ally Fisher (Panettiere), a recent law school graduate, is assigned to represent her case before Judge Martha Schulman (Davis), a veteran of the Family Court System. Custody is written and directed by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine (Into the Woods). Lauren Versel, Katie Mustard, Lapine and Roy Furman serve as producers. Davis, Julius Tennon, Jeff Elliott, Chad Moore, Gregory P. Shockro, Daryl Roth and Sandy Robertson also executive produce.
James Franco returns to Lifetime as executive producer and star in the romantic thriller, High School Lover, premiering on Saturday, February 4 at 8pm ET/PT.When 17-year-old Kelly (Paulina Singer, Orange is the New Black) falls in love with Christian (François Arnaud, Blindspot), an older man, her father (Franco) tries to intervene before the crush turns into a dangerous obsession.Produced by Elysium Bandini Studios for Lifetime, Franco executives produces along with Vince Jolivette. With a script from Amber Coney (Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?) and Jessica Dube (Smack), Jerell Rosales (Life in Black and White) directs the film.
Based on the best-selling book, Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days, Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland (wt), is currently in pre-production. Told through the eyes of the King of Pop's trusted bodyguards, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, filming will commence in Los Angeles in February.Navi, the world's #1 Michael Jackson tribute artist will star in his acting debut alongside Chad L. Coleman (The Walking Dead) as Jackson's bodyguard, Bill Whitefield.Suzanne de Passe (The Jacksons: An American Dream), Madison Jones and Robert Teitel (Barbershop franchise, Notorious) are executive producing.Searching for Neverland is produced by Silver Screen (The Craigslist Killer) and Dianne Houston (Take the Lead, Surviving Compton) is directing from a script written by Elizabeth Hunter (Beauty Shop).
Britney Ever After, starring Natasha Bassett as Britney Spears, will bow on Saturday, February 18 at 8pmET/PT.This latest Lifetime biopic follows the tumultuous story of the pop icon: her rise to fame, fall from grace and eventual triumphant resurrection, firmly securing her position as one of the world's greatest entertainers.Britney Ever After is produced by Asylum Entertainment for Lifetime. Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch and Joan Harrison are executive producers.Leslie Libman (Manson's Lost Girls) directs from a script from Anne-Marie Hess.
The Lifetime original scripted series, Mary Kills People will premiere on April 23 at 10pm ET/PT.The provocative series stars Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal) as a doctor who helps people in need end their lives with dignity.The series also stars Jay Ryan (Top of the Lake), Richard Short (Vinyl), Lyriq Bent (The Book of Negroes), Greg Bryk (Bitten), and Charlotte Sullivan (Rookie Blue).Mary Kills People is produced by eOne and Cameron Pictures in association with Corus Entertainment. The series is executive produced and written by showrunner Tassie Cameron (Ten Days in The Valley), Amy Cameron (The Book of Negroes), Jocelyn Hamilton and Tecca Crosby. Co-Executive Producer Holly Dale (The Americans) directs the season in its entirety. Tara Armstrong (Private Eyes) created the series and is Co-Executive Producer and writer. Additional writers include Marsha Greene, Sherry White and Mike Goldbach.
The network is also developing the psychological thriller You, from Berlanti Productions and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television, to be written by executive producers Greg Berlanti (Political Animals) and Sera Gamble (The Magicians). Based on Caroline Kepnes' best-selling novel of the same name, You is a 21st century love story about an obsessive, yet brilliant twenty-something who uses the hyper connectivity of today's technology to make the woman of his dreams fall in love with him. In addition to Berlanti and Gamble, Sarah Schechter, Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo serve as executive producers.
With momentum driven by Little Women: LA, finishing Season 5 as the best season yet, Lifetime's unscripted programming is driving double digit year-over-year growth on Wednesday nights while Project Runway continues to be cable's #1 competition series with A25-54 and W25-54. 
Following the success of The Rap Game, Lifetime keys into the world of pop music with, The Pop Game, premiering on Tuesday, February 21 at 10 PM ET/PT. The series won't miss a note, following music industry icon Timbaland as he works with five aspiring young vocal artists, all vying to be the next big thing on the charts. Timbaland's team of writers, producers and top celebrity guest artists including JoJo, Macy Gray, Nelly Furtado and Jordin Sparks, will assist the kids and their manager parents in challenges designed to teach and test the skills they will need to grace some of the world's biggest stages. Produced by Intuitive Entertainment, The Pop Game is executive produced by Kevin Dill and Mechelle Collins, and Danny Salles, who is also showrunning. Grammy and Emmy award winner, Queen Latifah and her partner, Shakim Compere will executive produce under the Flavor Unit umbrella along with Grammy winner and producer, Jermaine Dupri, and Timbaland on the series.
One of Hollywood's most outrageous couples, Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen, will host a new relationship comedy gameshow, My Partner Knows Best, where married couples face off in a series of hilarious challenges based on real-life relationship obstacles. Four couples will compete each week, but only one will walk away with the money and be able to say My Partner Knows Best! Ten one-hour episodes have been ordered from Propagate, working in association with Kanal D. Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Irfan Sahin, Jason Biggs, Jenny Mollen and Kevin Healey serve as executive producers.
Since its launch 18 months ago to tackle one of the greatest issues facing the entertainment industry, Lifetime's Broad Focus has successfully built a model of achieving gender equity among behind-the-camera talent.The only campaign of its kind at a major network or studio, Lifetime achieved a 55% hire rate for female directors on scripted projects, up from just 13% one year prior. Categories tracked with Broad Focus reveal dramatic achievements when compared to industry averages:
Broad Focus is a movement to identify and develop entertainment's best and up-and-coming creative talent while encouraging and cultivating women's leadership behind the camera.Partnerships and programs with the Bentonville Film Festival, the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) and Chicken & Egg Pictures have driven new and increased opportunities for female directors at A+E Networks and the industry at-large.
The 2017 programming slate, driven by the Broad Focus mission, includes the following select talent and auspices: Allison Anders, Director, Beaches; Nikole Beckwith, Writer, Beaches; Denise Di Novi, Executive Producer, Beaches; Alison Greenspan, Executive Producer, Beaches; Wendy Finerman, Executive Producer, Love by the 10TH Date; Nzingha Stewart, Executive Producer, Writer and Director, Love by the 10th Date; Lisa Zupan, Executive Producer, Love by the 10th Date; Leslie Libman, Director, Britney Ever After; Holly Dale, Producer and Director, Mary Kills People; Tassie Cameron, Executive Producer, Writer and Showrunner, Mary Kills People; Tara Armstrong, Creator, Co-Executive Producer and Writer, Mary Kills People; Eleanor Coppola, Writer and Director, Paris Can Wait; Kyra Sedgwick, Producer and Director, Story of a Girl; and Dianne Houston, Director, Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland.
Lifetime is launching a ground-breaking cultural initiative called Open Road that, over the course of this year, will travel across the United States to experience first-hand the stories of women of all ages and backgrounds. Led by a team of photographers, film makers and members of the Lifetime team, the project will produce a series of short form factual films, and build an incredible archive of photography, along with audio interviews, as we talk to women about love, humanity, identity and opportunity, from Main Street to Madison Avenue.
Open Road is an invitation to women from all backgrounds to be heard and be part of the network in its evolution to capture women's hearts and desires through entertainment, as well as inform our own best practices and programming choices.
At a time when our country seems more fractured than ever before, Lifetime sees possibility through the power of storytelling. As part of the initiative, Lifetime will set out to capture the truth about women's lives in America, bring them closer together and amplify the voices that go unheard and unrecognized.The documentarians will begin their travels to all 50 states and conduct interviews with women starting this February.
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, 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's Fempire positions the network as a curator of feminist content and conversations, as well as a place where women connect, learn and are entertained. 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.