Following the success of its original movie Lizzie Borden Took An Ax, Lifetime had picked up a follow-up six-episode limited series, Lizzie Borden: The Fall River Chronicles, with Christina Ricci set to reprise her role as the notorious murderer. Also returning for the series is the movie’s Clea DuVall, who will also reprise her role as Lizzie Borden’s sister, Emma. The series, from Sony Pictures TV, which produced the movie, will debut in 2015.
Lifetime has turned successful movies into series before. It did it with The Client List, also from Sony TV, which became a regular series with the movie’s star Jennifer Love Hewitt and Cybill Shepherd reprising their roles. It ran for two seasons. Lifetime also has done two-hour movies/backdoor pilots, most recently Nicholas Sparks’ Deliverance Creek, whose series future is yet to be determined.
Lifetime is going through an overhaul of its scripted schedule with Devious Maids as the only existing series guaranteed to return next year. Witches Of East End is still in limbo, while freshman The Lottery was just cancelled. In addition to Lizzie Borden, Lifetime will introduce two new dramas in 2015, UnREAL and the straight-to-series Omen sequel Damien, and has pilot Clan Of The Cave Bear.
Lizzie Borden: The Fall River Chronicles will feature a fictionalized account of actual events and people surrounding Lizzie’s life after her controversial acquittal of the horrific double murder of her father and stepmother in 1892, when the exonerated figure lives a life awash in newfound celebrity. But when numerous people close to Lizzie – ranging from her half-brother to Broadway luminaries and the head of the criminal underworld — start to die mysteriously under brutal and strange circumstances, legendary Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo (Cole Hauser) becomes determined to prove her involvement in their demise. John Heard will portray William Almy, the business partner of Lizzie’s murdered father Andrew, while Lizzie’s half-brother William will be played by Andrew Howard (Hatfields & McCoys).
“For more than a century, the world has been captivated by the legend of Lizzie Borden, but no one has captured her enigmatic menace as well as Christina Ricci,” said Lifetime’s Rob Sharenow. “This series will take viewers further down Lizzie Borden’s dark path, revealing what many people suspected about her mysterious life.”
Lizzie Borden: The Fall River Chronicles is executive produced by the film’s exec producer Judith Verno and Ricci. The limited series will be written by Greg Small & Rich Blaney (Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret), Barbara Nance (House Of Lies), Jason Grote (Mad Men) and David Simkins (Grimm). Stephen Kay (Sons Of Anarchy) will direct the first two episodes.
Lizzie Borden Took An Ax premiered in January with 4.4 million total viewers and triggered strong social media response. In 2014 YTD, it is ad-supported cable’s second-most-watched movie telecast among women, behind the Lifetime Original Movie Flowers In The Attic, which Lifetime also built into franchise with several movie sequels.