With upfront season now beginning in earnest, Lifetime has unveiled its upcoming programming slate, which includes a new original movie starring Anjelica Huston and directed by Melissa Joan Hart, a reality series from “So You Think You Can Dance” host Cat Deeley, and the previously announced movie about the water crisis in Flint, Mich., starring Cher.
The network has also set dates for some of its upcoming films: “Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland,” based on the book “Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days” and told through the eyes of Jackson’s body guards, will bow on May 29. “Menendez: Blood Brothers,” about the Menendez brothers, will premiere June 10. Kyra Sedgwick’s directorial debut “Story of a Girl,” based on Sara Zarr’s YA book of the same name, is set to air July 23.
As for the new projects, a complete breakdown lies below:
Anjelica Huston will star in director Melissa Joan Hart’s reimagining of the 1980’s cult classic “Watcher in the Woods.” Huston plays Mrs. Alywood, the distraught mother whose daughter vanished in the English countryside over 20 years ago. When Jan Carstairs (Tallulah Evans) and her family move into the idyllic Alywood manor for the summer, the family is warned against entering the surrounding woods, but Jan and her little sister Ellie (Dixie Egerickx) hear voices coming from the forest. As Jan unravels the dark past hidden by the townspeople, she delves further into the mystery and deeper into danger, but now it might be too late to escape. “Watcher in the Woods” is produced by Hartbreak Films. Hart also executive produces with Paula Hart from a script written by Scott Abott.
Lifetime original movie “Flint,” produced by Sony Pictures TV, begins production in April in Toronto. The project follows the story of three women from Flint who fought to expose the wrongdoing committed against the residents of the city who were unknowingly drinking and using lead-laden water. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, along with Katie Couric, executive produce. Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford will direct from a script by Barbara Stepansky.
“I Am Elizabeth Smart” is the definitive, authorized movie about the harrowing kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, told from her perspective and with her full participation. In June 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Ann Smart was abducted from her Salt Lake City home by religious fanatic Brian Mitchell. She was starved, drugged, raped and subjected to bizarre religious rituals until, nine months later, she enabled her own rescue. Smart, as an executive producer and on-screen narrator, explores how she survived, and confronts the truths and misconceptions about her captivity. The film is executive produced by Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch and Joan Harrison of Asylum Entertainment, Allison Berkley and Joseph Freed of Marwar Junction Productions, Barbara Lieberman, and Elizabeth Smart. Sarah Walker will direct from a teleplay by Tory Walker. Production begins in May in Vancouver.
Hosted by Emmy nominee Cat Deeley, new reality series “This Time Next Year,” based on the U.K. format by Twofour, follows the emotional journeys of ordinary people as they embark on extraordinary missions to change their lives, over the course of one year. Each transformation will be revealed on screen in a matter of moments, as participants enter one door and emerge from another in an instantaneous, “time-travel” style format, revealing a brand new version of themselves. “This Time Next Year” is produced for Lifetime by Twofour America. Executive producers include Bernie Schaeffer, Laurie Girion, Melanie Leach and Andrew Mackenzie. Mariana Flynn, Mary Donahue and David Hillman executive produce for Lifetime.
Yolanda Hadid, former model and Real Housewife of Beverly Hills — and mother of Gigi, Bella, and Anwar — brings reality competition series “Model Moms” (working title) Lifetime, shepherding aspiring teen models to success on and off the catwalk. Hadid, along with her trusted team of experts, will put the girls and their “momagers” through an intensive eight-week training program, focused on the physical, mental and emotional wellness that it takes to build a sustainable brand, with a $5,000 weekly prize on the line and the ultimate goal of winning a management contract with Hadid’s company and the potential opportunity to be represented by IMG Models in New York. “Model Moms” is produced by Hudsun Media for Lifetime. Michael Rourke, Sean Rankine and Yolanda Hadid executive produce. Lifetime’s Mariana Flynn, Mary Donahue, Mioshi Hill and Colleen Conway Grogan also executive produce.