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Showtime, ABC share ‘Feast’

Rice novel to be adapted for four-hour mini

NEW YORK — Showtime and ABC will share in the scheduling of a $14 million, four-hour miniseries based on the bestselling historical novel “Feast of All Saints,” by Anne Rice.

Set in New Orleans in the 1850s, “Feast of All Saints” has begun pre-production in Toronto. Showtime and ABC declined comment, but sources say Showtime will pony up a larger proportion of the production cost because it will get the world premiere early next year. ABC will slot its one run in summer 2001, promoting the movie as fresh programming during the rerun-saturated summer doldrums, according to sources. Showtime has a limited circulation, reaching only about 17 million homes through cable and satellite delivery.

Rice will be a co-executive producer of the mini along with Forest Whitaker, John Wilder and Peter McIntosh. Whitaker is also one of the ensemble cast members.

“Feast” is about the pre-Civil War lives of four “free people of color” descended from French-Spanish landholders and African slaves. The novel is a departure for Rice because it’s a straightforward drama — there are no vampires or ghosts populating the story.

In addition to Whitaker, the cast includes Peter Gallagher, Gloria Reuben, Ben Vereen, Eartha Kitt and Pam Grier. Peter Medak (“Species II,” “The Ruling Class”) will direct “Feast of All Saints.”

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