Lifetime orders up ‘Rita Rocks’

Soapnet picks up original series trio

Lifetime is ready to rock on with “Rita Rocks,” while Soapnet is lathering up with three original series.

Lifetime has ordered another seven episodes of half-hour laffer “Rita Rocks” from Media Rights Capital, bringing the show’s total episode order for its first season to 20. Series stars Nicole Sullivan as a harried wife and mom who gets her off-duty kicks by jamming with a garage band.

The thumbs-up for “Rita Rocks” is a welcome bit of good TV news for indie MRC, which has to date bombed with its ambitious slate of scripted series for the CW’s Sunday night slate. (Sunday’s repeats of CW skeins “Valentine Inc.” and “Easy Money” delivered a 0.2 rating/0 share — aka a goose egg — in adults 18-49 and fewer than 700,000 viewers.)

Soapnet’s series pickups include a 13-episode order for drama “Being Erica,” from Temple Street Prods. and Canuck net CBC. Series stars newcomer Erin Karpluk as a 32-year-old woman who revisits moments in her life through shrink sessions with her mysterious therapist. It’s set to bow in the spring.

“Southern Belles,” from Endemol USA and ABC Media Prods., is described as a docu-soap following the lives of five twentysomething, single women in Louisville, Ky. Cabler has ordered 10 segs for debut next year.

“Greg Behrendt’s Wake-Up Call” is a six-episode nonscripted skein from Avalon Television that is set to bow Jan. 8 at 11 p.m. as part of Soapnet’s Valentine’s Day-themed programming slate. Behrendt, co-author of the femme dating self-help hit “He’s Just Not That Into You,” will counsel one couple in each seg on their relationship troubles.

In other cable news, BET said Monday it has signed thesp Djimon Hounsou to provide the voice of its upcoming superhero animated skein “The Black Panther.” Primetime series, based on the Marvel Comics title penned by former BET prexy Reginald Hudlin, is slated to debut next year.

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