NEW YORK — A record number of original movies and loads of new series, both scripted (drama and comedy) and nonfiction, highlighted Lifetime’s upfront presentation on Tuesday, the first under the new team of prexy-CEO Betty Cohen and Susanne Daniels, president of entertainment.
Cohen touted the first of “Lifetime’s Women’s Pulse Polls” across three generations of women on their attitudes about sex, men, marriage and career.
The results will help Daniels and her staff develop TV shows tailored to what women care about. Lifetime’s marketing and advertising departments will also draw heavily on the results, particularly to draw more femmes 18-49 to the net.
In individual announcements, Daniels said Lifetime will air NBC primetime series “Medium” Sundays at 11 p.m. beginning later this month, starting with a repurposing of the episodes from last season, the show’s first. For the five-a-week reruns of “Medium,” net earlier paid $1.35 million an episode — more money than it had previously laid out for any rerun series. But the strip reruns won’t become available to Lifetime until mid-2009.
Daniels has also greenlit the reality series “Paws,” exec produced by Kevin Dill and Mechelle Collins, which takes place at a Hollywood animal talent agency. “It’s the Westminster Dog Show meets ‘America’s Top Model,’ ” she said, as the network showed clips of the agency’s experts as they seek the next Benji or Lassie.
Lifetime plans to produce, commission or buy a record 60 original movies in the next year. No other network, broadcast or cable, comes anywhere near that total. Net did about 50 this year; the extra titles will run on Lifetime Movie Network in a monthly showcase, marking the first time LMN will schedule original movies separately from its Lifetime parent.
“American Idol 3” winner Fantasia Barrino will be the subject of an original biopic exec produced by Bill Haber that will deal with her victory over an adolescence in which she endured sexual abuse, poverty and illiteracy.
Lifetime has put four potential series into script development: “State of Mind,” exec produced by Greer Shephard and Michael Robin (“Nip/Tuck”), about a female psychoanalyst and her patients at a psychiatric clinic; “Younger,” about a 40-year-old woman successfully negotiating life as a 28-year-old, from a novel by Lizzy Weiss; “The Funeral Planner,” a comedy about a woman who creates an event-planning company designed to turn funerals into celebrations, adapted from Lynn Isenberg’s novel; and “Firebrand,” about a female superhero, from Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee and “She Spies” producers Tony Blake and Paul Jackson.
Reality shows in development:
- The Miami-based “Alessandra,” a talkshow hosted by Alessandra Rampollo, who focuses on relationships and celebrity interviews. Promofilm is the producer.
- “Queen,” from Scout Prods. (“Queer Eye”), which follows the transformation by experts of a young woman seeking to win a local beauty pageant.
- “Sworn Enemies,” from Kevin Kaufman Films, about two enemies in high school who are reunited and then thrown together for a weekend to see if they stay rivals or become friends.
- “Karaoke Queen,” which follows twentysomething women who are crazy about karaoke, from “Laguna Beach” producers Guy and Julie Auerbach.
- “Finding Mr. Right,” from Endemol (“Deal or No Deal”), puts women in the position of figuring out whether a bachelor with whom she goes on a series of dates is gay, single or married. If she guesses right, the two go off on an expenses-paid cruise. A wrong guess puts the man on that cruise with his significant other.