A&E has greenlit production on “Wedding March,” from Sony Pictures TV-based exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and has committed to two more telepics, all of which will be announced Tuesday at the cable network’s upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.
John Stamos will star in the romantic comedy “March” as a gay event coordinator who inadvertently sets off a nationwide strike by gays and lesbians fighting for the right to get married. Telepic also stars Eric Dane.
Other movies going forward are “Wildfires” (working title), about a firefighter battling a raging blaze in Yellowstone National Park during Fourth of July weekend, and “Kings of South Beach,” based on the true story of Miami nightclub impresario Chris Paciello. “Wildfires” will bow in third quarter; “South Beach,” a likely companion for upcoming off-net debut “CSI: Miami,” will premiere early next year.
A&E VP of programming Delia Fine said all three projects “contain the key ingredients that A&E original movies have come to be known for: strong, compelling characters, fast-paced and riveting storylines and outstanding production teams.”
Zadan and Meron’s Storyline Entertainment will produce “Wedding March” in association with Sony. Jim Hall will direct from a script by Stephen Mazur. Production begins in May for a premiere later this year.
Meron credits A&E’s Fine with posing “a funny but brilliant question: ‘What would happen if all the gay people in the country decided they were going to go on strike?'”
Stamos told Daily Variety he’s eager to try his hand at a “romantic comedy that has something to say.”
“The movie is a sort of spoonful of sugar for what is a pretty serious and important subject,” Stamos said.
Stamos previously partnered with Storyline as a producer on the “The Beach Boys: An American Family” for ABC and “Martin & Lewis” for CBS. He will join the cast of “ER” this fall if his ABC comedy, “Jake in Progress,” is not renewed.
John Lafia (“10.5”) will direct “Wildfires” from a script by Mark Wheaton and John Fasano (“Saving Jessica Lynch”). Cypress Point Prods. produces in association with Jaffe Braunstein Films. Michael R. Goldstein, Gerald W. Abrams and Fine exec produce.
Nicholas Pileggi wrote “South Beach,” to be directed by Tim Hunter (“The 4400”). Grosso-Jacobson will produce in association with Sony. Sonny Grosso, Larry Jacobson, Clay Kahler and Fine exec produce.
A&E’s most recent longform effort, the 9/11 telepic “Flight 93,” drew both critical raves and a boffo aud of nearly 6 million when it premiered in February.
Cabler is expected to announce additional longform development for 2006-07 during its presentation.