Court TV moves forward with first telepic

Cabler preps move into filmmaking arena

Court TV is moving ahead with its first original telepic, “Guilt by Association,” starring Mercedes Ruehl.

The pic, which will begin production this month in Toronto, is inspired by the Court TV original docu “Prisoners of Love” about mandatory minimum sentencing. Ruehl will portray a woman unjustly caught in the web of the sentencing rules. “Guilt” is slated to air on the legal cabler in winter 2002.

J.B. Media will produce for Hearst Entertainment. Anne Carlucci and Marion Brayton (Lifetime’s “Dangerous Child”) will exec produce, and Graeme Campbell will direct from a script by Alan Hines (USA Network’s “Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story”).

‘Birmingham’ delayed

Court TV announced in May that its first original movie would be “A Bombing in Birmingham,” about the aftermath of the 1963 church attack in Alabama that killed four black girls. That telepic, a co-production with Alliance Atlantis, is still in development.

Cabler hopes to air two telepics next year and possibly four in the following year. The projects all fall in the $2.5 million-$3 million range.

“They all have powerful social issues at their center,” said Mary J. Silverman, the net’s senior VP, acquisitions and development. “Another project on the fast track is about the issue of children and the courts and coerced confessions from children.” Like “Guilty by Association,” that project is based on a Court TV docu.

The cabler also is in development on a telepic about political asylum. All of the movies in the works are inspired by actual events.

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