A&E has Bette Davis eyes

Sarandon interested in title role

HOLLYWOOD — A&E Network is developing a two-hour telefilm about Bette Davis to be penned by Pulitzer, Tony and Oscar winner Alfred Uhry (“Driving Miss Daisy”).

ICM-repped Susan Sarandon has expressed interest in taking the title role.

Project marks the cable network’s first original movie announcement of the year and the first project to emerge from the new programming regime headed by former TNT exec Bob DiBitetto (Daily Variety, Jan. 7).

“Part of our mission at A&E is to continue to develop innovative programming through exceptional storytelling featuring the top talent, writers, producers and directors of our generation,” said Abbe Raven, exec VP-G.M. of A&E.

A&E is expected to unveil the Davis project, along with other programming news, during its session at the Television Critics Assn. press tour today.

“Telling the story of someone whose life was as fascinating and interesting as Bette Davis, one of the true Hollywood legends, illustrates the type of quality and innovative programming that we are developing,” Raven said.

Stan Brooks and Greg Gugliotta, who produced CBS’ “Living With the Dead,” will produce through their Brooksfilms banner.

Pic will focus on a decade of Davis’ life during the 1950s, including the career comeback she experienced after her Oscar nom for “All About Eve.” Project will explore her love affair, marriage and divorce from her co-star Gary Merrill.

“A&E original movies have always exemplified the high quality of our network,” Raven said. “We will continue to develop programming with some of the most respected writers, actors, directors and producers of our generation.”

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