O'Donnell to star, exec produce orphan drama

Rosie O’Donnell has signed on to star in and exec produce “America,” a telepic for Lifetime about a 16-year-old boy’s struggles within the foster-care system.

“America” reunites O’Donnell with producer Larry Sanitsky and scribe Joyce Eliason, with whom she worked on CBS’ 2005 telepic “Riding on the Bus With My Sister.”

Yvez Simoneau (HBO’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”) will direct the telepic, which hails from Sony Pictures Television.

Set to premiere in February, the made-for is based on E.R. Frank’s book of the same name. O’Donnell will play the therapist who guides the pic’s title character, America, beyond his troubled past. Ruby Dee co-stars as one of the boy’s caretakers.

O’Donnell’s recent TV work has included a recurring role on FX’s “Nip/Tuck,” as well as a cameo in HBO’s new comedy “Little Britain USA.”

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