Winfrey producing ABC telepic based on Albom book
Jack Lemmon and Hank Azaria are starring in the ABC telepic “Tuesdays With Morrie,” based on the bestselling book from Mitch Albom about a sportswriter’s weekly visits to his ailing sociology professor.
The vidpic is skedded to air during the November sweeps period.
The Oprah Winfrey presentation has snagged several feature veterans to come on board, including director Mick Jackson (“The Bodyguard”) writer Tom Rickman (“Coal Miner’s Daughter”), editor Carol Littleton (“Beloved”) and production designer Michael Riva (“Six Days Seven Nights”).
Talkshow titan Winfrey is exec producing with Kate Forte through her Harpo Films banner, which picked up rights to “Morrie” two years ago while it was still in manuscript form.
Lemmon plays teacher Morrie Schwartz, and Azaria his former student. Wendy Moniz will play Azaria’s frustrated girlfriend.
The story focuses on the relationship that develops, during weekly visits, between an unfulfilled journalist and his former teacher who is now crippled by a terminal illness.
“Morrie” is the fourth project to be produced under Harpo’s deal with the network, with previous projects inlcuding “David and Lisa” and “The Wedding.”
Lensing on “Morrie” began last week on locations in and around Los Angeles.
Two-time Oscar winner Lemmon has recently appeared in Showtime’s “Inherit the Wind” and on the bigscreen in “The Odd Couple II” and “Out to Sea.”
Azaria (Fox’s “The Simpsons”) also makes steady film appearances, including “Godzilla,” Woody Allen’s “Celebrity” and the upcoming “Mystery Men” from Universal.
Moniz has recently been cast opposite Marg Helgenberger, Jonathan Schaech and Bonnie Bedelia in the CBS pilot “Partners” from helmer Carl Franklin (“One True Thing”).
Harpo Films also has a feature deal at Disney, for which it produced last year’s “Beloved.”