ABC is lining up its big longform guns for next season, airing the TV adaptation of Broadway’s “A Raisin in the Sun” the night after the Oscars and the latest “Oprah Winfrey Presents” telepic in December.
The long-awaited “A Raisin in the Sun,” which was actually shot last December, will premiere at 8 on Monday, Feb. 25, the night after ABC’s telecast of the 80th annual Academy Awards. Meanwhile, “Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom’s For One More Day” airs Sunday, Dec. 9, at 9 p.m.
“A Raisin in the Sun” comes from Sony Pictures TV, Storyline Entertainment (“Hairspray”) and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Worldwide shingle.
Storyline’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said they were pushing hard to get the primo post-Oscar slot.
“We were coveting it,” Meron said. “When it becomes a reality, it’s that much more joyful. It demonstrates the support the network has in this film.”
Thee-hour movie stars the cast of the Broadway revival — including Combs; Phylicia Rashad, who earned an actress Tony award for her work on “Raisin”; Audra McDonald, who won the featured actress Tony for “Raisin” onstage; and Sanaa Lathan, who earned a Tony nom for her role.
John Stamos, Sean Patrick Thomas, David Oyelowo, Bill Nunn and Cephas Jones also star.
“It’s a wonderful thing that this movie got made,” Zadan said. “If it wasn’t for (ABC Entertainment prexy) Steve McPherson, it would have never been.”
Zadan and Meron said the project took several years to produce, partly because of Combs’ busy schedule.
“It was a scheduling nightmare,” Meron said. “But at the same time, everyone had such passion and love to do this.”
Zadan and Meron exec produce “Raisin in the Sun,” along with Broadway producers Carl Rumbaugh, Susan Batson and David Binder. Kenny Leon, who earned a Drama Desk nod for staging the Broadway play, helmed the movie; Paris Qualles (“Tuskegee Airmen”) adapted the play by Lorraine Hansberry for the tube.
As for “Mitch Albom’s For One More Day,” project reps the third Alphabet adaptation of an Albom book. Net previously aired “Tuesdays With Morrie,” also an “Oprah Winfrey Presents” production, and “Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”
By airing “For One More Day” on a Sunday, net can rest its usual lineup of “Desperate Housewives” and “Brothers & Sisters” rather than run repeats.
Michael Imperioli and Ellen Burstyn star in “For One More Day,” which comes from Harpo Films. Winfrey and Kate Forte exec produce, while Lloyd Kramer directed the script from Albom, who adapted his book.