Mini planned for femme net

Lifetime preps Halmi four-hour series, pumps originals

NEW YORK — Robert Halmi Sr. is exec producing an untitled four-hour miniseries for Lifetime about international sex trafficking. Project reps the first mini Lifetime has commissioned.

Lifetime revealed the mini Thursday at its annual upfront presentation to the advertising community.

Exec VP of entertainment Barbara Fisher said Lifetime would ramp up the production of original movies to 19 a year from 12 as part of a two-year, $800 million programming investment announced in April 2003 by prexy-CEO Carole Black.

Halmi said his pic, penned by Carol Doyle (“Veronica Guerin”), “could cost as much as $15 million because of extensive travel — we’ll do location work in Russia, Eastern Europe, Mexico and the U.S.”

Halmi also is developing a miniseries for Lifetime based on Gail Sheehy’s bestseller “Middletown, America: One Town’s Passage From Trauma to Hope,” about the town in New Jersey that lost more people in the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack than any other community.

In the coming season, Lifetime will air “Miracle Run,” starring Mary-Louise Parker as a mother struggling to raise twin autistic sons. Tom Patricia is executive producer of “Miracle Run” for Patriarch Pictures. Mike Maples wrote the script.

In two new spinoffs for the network, Black said Lifetime is adding radio and homevideo to its portfolio. Lifetime Radio for Women will be a daily four-hour morning block of talkshows and music programs to be syndicated by Jones Radio. It will kick off later this year.

Network also has created Lifetime Home Entertainment, which will feature a line of original made-fors that have premiered on the network’s primetime schedule. Lifetime has signed Warner Home Entertainment as its DVD/video partner.

Rick Haskins, exec VP and general manager of Lifetime Entertainment Services, called the radio and homevideo businesses “brand extensions” along the lines of cable channels Lifetime Movie Network and Lifetime Real Woman; Lifetime Online; and Lifetime magazine.

As previously announced, Lifetime has signed FremantleMedia North America to produce “How Clean Is Your House?,” a weekly reality series based on the British original, to kick off in the fall. The returning weekly reality shows are “Merge,” “Head 2 Toe” and “What Should You Do.”

Lifetime has scheduled three specials for later this year: ” ‘The Nanny’ Reunion,” “TV Movie Superstars: Women We Love” and “TV’s Greatest Sidekicks.”

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