Lifetime nets ‘Mermaid’

Cabler pulls up a 'Chair' with telepic

Lifetime has bought rights to Sue Monk Kidd’s bestselling book “The Mermaid Chair,” the follow-up to her debut novel “The Secret Life of Bees.”

Cabler has fast-tracked development of the project, which will be turned into an original TV movie if greenlit. Suzette Couture (“Vinegar Hill,” “Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart”) is onboard to pen the script.

“Mermaid” holds the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 700,000. Story of self-awakening revolves around a 42-year-old married woman who falls in love with a Benedictine monk.

“Readers from across the country have flocked to the bookstores to buy ‘The Mermaid Chair,’ and we think our viewers will be equally excited to watch the movie,” said Lifetime senior VP of movies Trevor Walton.

Randy Robinson will exec produce. Nomadic Pictures’ Chad Oakes and Mike Frislev produce.

Kidd’s “Bees” is being developed as a feature by Focus Films.

Lifetime’s latest movie, “Murder in the Hamptons,” delivered 4.4 million viewers in its Monday bow, making it the year’s most-watched telepic on basic cable. (It tied with Lifetime’s April effort, “Odd Girl Out.”)

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