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Lifetime cops an attitude

Cabler picks up trio of femme-centric police pilots

Lifetime is looking to get arrested.

The femme-centric cabler has picked up three new drama pilots, all with a female cop bent. One comes from Josh Berman, who’s behind Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva,” while another, “Exit 19,” is a reworked project that was originally developed at the broadcast networks.

Pickups rep the first major series development announcement since Nancy Dubuc took over as president and g.m. of Lifetime Networks. Dubuc announced the orders Wednesday with Lifetime Entertainment exec VP JoAnn Alfano.

“With a strong foundation in scripted programming firmly established by ‘Army Wives’ and ‘Drop Dead Diva,’ Lifetime is aggressively expanding its drama series development plate with powerful programs from creative auspices who have strong pedigrees in producing stand-out programming,” Dubuc said. “These pilots developed by JoAnn and her team are the first steps we will take in bringing Lifetime’s scripted strategy to the forefront.”

Lifetime would probably like to emulate the success rival cablers have had with female-led cop dramas, such as TNT’s “The Closer” and USA’s “In Plain Sight.”

Lifetime’s hourlong pilots include “Against the Wall,” from scribe Annie Brunner (“Huff”), about a policewoman who joins the Chicago Police Dept.’s internal affairs division — causing a rift with her cop brothers.

“Exit 19,” from Jeffrey Bell (“V”) and exec producers Nina Wass and Gene Stein, centers on a single mother who juggles parenthood with her job as an NYPD cop. Show is from ABC Studios and CBS TV Studios.

“Exit 19” has a lengthy development history, having first been set up at ABC for the 2006-07 TV season. Project eventually moved to CBS, where it was shot as a pilot for fall 2008 with Geena Davis attached as star. When that version didn’t pan out either, CBS TV Studios brought it to Lifetime.

Then there’s the untitled Berman project, from Sony Pictures TV, which centers on a San Diego police detective who’s the mother of two and on the verge of divorce.

“As Lifetime further ramps up its drama development slate, we plan to order additional pilots and series to keep building our growing stable of successful scripted programs next year and beyond,” Alfano said.

Other scripted projects in the works at Lifetime include an “Army Wives” spinoff, which, yes, also centers on a female police detective. Lifetime is indeed pretty determined to get a femme-centric cop drama on the air.

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