You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lifetime unveils originals

Cabler hopes $800 mil slate will win auds back

An unprecedented $800 million for programming over the next two years, much of which will go to both scripted and unscripted original series, is Lifetime’s prescription for its falloff in the ratings during the last six months.

At Lifetime’s advertiser-upfront presentation here on Thursday, exec VP of entertainment Barbara Fisher said the network will add two fresh scripted hours and three new reality series this season.

Pilot selection

Fisher said she’d choose the new scripted series later this month from among four completed pilots:

  • “Wild Card” stars Joely Fisher as a former Las Vegas blackjack dealer who becomes an insurance-fraud investigator. Lynn Marie Latham and Bernard Lechowick are the writer-exec producers for Fireworks Entertainment.

  • “Nick & Shelly” stars Julie Warner and Adrian Pasdar as a divorced couple who keep rekindling their relationship because they’re partnered up as police detectives. Robert Wagner co-stars. John J. Sakmar and Kerry Lenhart are creators and exec producers for Sony Pictures TV and the Greenblatt Janollari Studio.

  • “Follow the Leeds” features Sharon Lawrence and Maria Pitillo as suburban sisters who set up a private-investigation business with their mother, played by Marsha Mason. Maddy Horne and Sheldon Pinchuk are exec producers, with Peter Werner as director-producer.

  • “1-800-Missing” stars Gloria Reuben as an FBI agent whose young partner (played by Catherine Scorsone) has psychic powers that give her clues to the whereabouts of missing people. Exec producers are Glenn Davis & William Laurin and Debra Martin Chase for Lions Gate TV.

Reality contenders

Reality series include “Merge,” hosted by soap-opera actress Lisa Rinna, which employs a design team to intermingle the belongings of a couple who just got married, and “Secret Lives,” dealing with true stories of people who have tried to hide disreputable things in their past.

Fisher said one of her goals is to replace “Unsolved Mysteries” repeats on weeknights at 8, which have fallen off in the ratings, with a fresh reality series in the timeslot. “Final Justice,” which Lifetime calls “a dramatic reality series,” hosted by the real Erin Brockovich, has already displaced “Mysteries” on Fridays. And, starting April 14, new hour “What Should You Do?” elbows out “Mysteries” on Mondays.

Lifetime is also considering the strategy of greenlighting more than 12 original movies a year. These movies tend to harvest big audiences in their first run — and the net needs more titles in its rerun inventory to fill seven primetime movie slots, plus Saturday- and Sunday-night showcases.

Because the broadcast networks commission far fewer women-oriented original movies than they did a few years ago, Lifetime is running out of reliable titles to buy.

One consequence of the aging of Lifetime’s movie library is that the network’s ratings are down by 25% in total viewers during the first quarter compared to the same period in 2002. It’s off by a similar percentage in adults 18-49 and 25-54.

More TV

  • 'Arrow' Star David Nykl Joins HBO

    'Arrow' Star David Nykl Joins HBO Europe's Spy Drama 'The Sleepers' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Arrow” actor David Nykl will star in “The Sleepers,” HBO Europe’s Czech spy drama, which has just gone into production. Nykl, who plays Anatoly Knyazev in The CW superhero series, will be joined by Hattie Morahan (“Beauty and the Beast”) in the HBO show. Tatiana Pauhofová, who was in HBO Europe’s Agnieszka Holland series “Burning [...]

  • ITV Studios Strikes International Deals for

    ITV Studios Strikes International Deals for Barcroft Shows (EXCLUSIVE)

    Discovery and Seven Network are among the international buyers for Barcroft Media series after ITV Studios’s sales arm brokered a raft of deals for the shows. Barcroft runs a suite of YouTube and digital channels and has short and mid-form content on platforms including Facebook Watch. It has had success repurposing these shorter shows into [...]

  • HBO Asia and Catchplay Team up

    HBO Asia and Catchplay Team up for ‘The World Between Us’

    Pan-regional pay-TV group HBO Asia and Taiwan-based streaming video company Catchplay are to jointly distribute Taiwanese crime drama “The World Between Us.” The 10-part series will air from March. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Lin Chun-Yang (“The Soul If Bread”) and written by the Lu Shih-Yuan (“Dear Ex”), “World” plunges into the aftermath of a mass [...]

  • BTF Media, Vince Gerardis Pact Sign

    NATPE: BTF Media, Vince Gerardis Pact for Six Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI — BTF Media, producer of breakout series “Hasta Que te Conocí” and “El Secreto de Selena,” is teaming with Vince Gerardis, a co-executive producer with George Martin on “Game of Thrones,” on a six-project co-production alliance. Spearheaded at BTF Media by founder-partner Ricardo Coeto, the agreement takes in the development and co-production of the [...]

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content