CBS revisits the ‘Dead’

Eye greenlights follow-up to boffo 2002 mini

HOLLYWOOD — CBS is bringing back the “Dead” with psychic James Van Praagh — and this time Anne Heche is coming along for the ride.

Eye has greenlit “The Dead Will Tell,” a two-hour supernatural-tinged telepic from producer Barbara Lieberman that’s based on one of Van Praagh’s beyond-the-grave readings. While not a sequel, project is a followup to “Living With the Dead,” the boffo 2002 CBS mini based on a Van Praagh book.

In “The Dead Will Tell,” Heche will play a woman named Emily Parker who, after getting an antique engagement ring from her fiance, begins to see images of a long-deceased soul named Marie. Emily begins investigating Marie’s mysterious death.

“The ghost Marie is seeking help from Emily, but the dead are also here to help Emily,” Lieberman told Daily Variety. “The underlying themes of the movie are destiny, fate and love at first sight.”

Pic will lens in New Orleans later this year for broadcast on CBS during the 2004-05 season. Lieberman and Van Praagh will exec produce for Barbara Lieberman Prods. in association with Robert Greenwald Prods.

Mark Kruger (“Tru Calling”) and Nancy Fichman & Jennifer Hoppe are set to write the script for the pic.

Lieberman said Heche was “attracted to the piece because it felt like a feature to her. It’s a thriller but also a love story, and she hasn’t done anything like that in a while.”

“Living With the Dead” was the Eye’s highest-rated longform of the 2001-02 season and the second highest-rated telepic on any network that season. After a tough 2002-03, CBS has seen a healthy 17% boost in its Sunday telepic franchise this season among adults 25-54; overall, net has eight of the 10 most-watched telepics of the season-to-date.

Heche’s last telepic appearance was in Lifetime’s “Gracie’s Choice.” She’s currently starring opposite Alec Baldwin in the Broadway revival of “Twentieth Century.”

Lieberman most recently produced 2002 CBS biopic “Gleason” and USA telepic “The Stranger Beside Me.”

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