In an expansion of its female-centric programming, Lifetime has officially greenlighted three new movies: Watcher in the Woods, starring Anjelica Huston; I Am Elizabeth Smart, featuring Elizabeth Smart; and as Deadline previously reported, Flint, starring Cher, the network announced today during its upfront.
Lifetime also announced two new unscripted series with Yolanda Hadid and Cat Deeley and premiere dates for Michael Jackson: Finding Neverland, Menendez: Blood Brothers and Story of a Girl, which marks Kyra Sedgwick’s directorial debut.
“We are proud to launch such a robust offering of innovative programming with this award-winning group of talent,” Liz Gateley, EVP and Head of Programming, said in making today’s announcement. “As we look to tell the stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told, through the vision and words of true-life experiences and female storytellers, Lifetime imagines all that’s possible for women, both onscreen and beyond.”
Watcher in the Woods, executive produced and directed by Melissa Joan Hart, is a reimagining of the ’80s cult classic. It stars Oscar winner Anjelica Huston as Mrs. Alywood, the distraught mother whose daughter, Karen, vanished in the English countryside over 20 years ago. I Am Elizabeth Smart is the definitive, authorized movie about the harrowing kidnapping of Smart, told from her perspective and with her full participation. Production begins in May in Vancouver.
Deeley is set to host new unscripted series This Time Next Year. It follows the emotional journeys of ordinary people as they embark on extraordinary missions to change their lives, over the course of one year. Lifetime’s other new unscripted project is Model Moms (working title) featuring former model and television personality Yolanda Hadid (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). Model Moms brings Yolanda and her expertise to the forefront as she coaches aspiring teen models to succeed on and off the catwalk.
In addition, Lifetime slotted May 29 for the premiere of Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, June 10 for Menendez: Blood Brothers and Sedgwick’s directorial debut Story of a Girl for July 23.
See complete details below:
Oscar, Grammy and EMMY Award winner Cher will executive produce and star in the Lifetime Original Movie, Flint, inspired by the Time magazine cover story, “The Toxic Tap,” by Josh Sanburn. The project follows the story of three women from Flint who fought to expose the wrongdoing committed against the residents of the city who were unknowingly drinking and using lead-laden water. Their actions inspired a national movement for safe drinking water despite the political powers working against them at every turn. Executive producers of the Oscar winning Chicago, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, along with EMMY Award-winning journalist, Katie Couric, executive produce. Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford will direct from a script by Barbara Stepansky. The project begins production this April in Toronto and is produced by Sony Pictures Television
Watcher in the Woods
Executive producer and director, Melissa Joan Hart reimagines the 80’s cult classic, Watcher in the Woods, starring Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston as Mrs. Alywood, the distraught mother whose daughter, Karen, vanished in the English countryside over 20 years ago. When Jan Carstairs (Tallulah Evans) and her family move into the idyllic Alywood manor for the summer, Mrs. Alywood is taken aback by Jan’s striking resemblance to Karen. The family is warned against entering the surrounding woods, but Jan and her little sister Ellie (Dixie Egerickx) hear voices coming from the forest. Strange occurrences begin to unnerve the family and Jan begins to suspect that they are linked to Karen’s disappearance. As Jan unravels the dark past hidden by the townspeople, she delves further into the mystery and deeper into danger, but now it might be too late to escape the Watcher in the Woods. Watcher in the Woods is produced by Hartbreak Films. Melissa Joan Hart also executive produces with Paula Hart. The script was written by Scott Abott.
I Am Elizabeth Smart
I Am Elizabeth Smart is the definitive, authorized movie about the harrowing kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, told from her perspective and with her full participation. In June 2002, Elizabeth Ann Smart was a naïve 14-year-old girl when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City home by a religious fanatic Brian Mitchell. He brought her to a hilly encampment where, with his twisted accomplice Wanda Barzee, kept Elizabeth in chains. She was starved, drugged, raped and subjected to bizarre religious rituals until, nine months later, she enabled her own rescue. A film about the kidnapping was rushed on the air shortly after the incident, but it shied away from the reality of what Elizabeth went through. Now, in I Am Elizabeth Smart, Elizabeth herself, as an executive producer and on-screen narrator, explores how she survived, and confronts the truths and misconceptions about her captivity. I Am Elizabeth Smart is executive produced by Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch and Joan Harrison of Asylum Entertainment, Allison Berkley and Joseph Freed of Marwar Junction Productions, Barbara Lieberman and Elizabeth Smart. Sarah Walker will direct from a teleplay by Tory Walker. Production begins in May in Vancouver.
This Time Next Year
Hosted by five-time Emmy nominee Cat Deeley, This Time Next Year follows the emotional journeys of ordinary people as they embark on extraordinary missions to change their lives, over the course of one year. Each transformation will be revealed on screen in a matter of moments, as participants enter one door and emerge from another in an instantaneous, ‘time-travel’ style format, revealing a brand new version of themselves. From reconstructive surgeries to heartwarming reunions, infertility to weight loss, no hurdle is too big for the brave individuals who have chosen to take control of their lives on This Time Next Year. Only after they reappear will viewers learn how, and if, they have achieved their goals. Based on the hit UK Format by Twofour, This Time Next Year is produced for Lifetime by Twofour America. Executive producers include Bernie Schaeffer, Laurie Girion, Melanie Leach and Andrew Mackenzie. Mariana Flynn, Mary Donahue and David Hillman executive produce for Lifetime.
Model Moms (working title)
Former model and television personality Yolanda Hadid (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) knows what it takes to be a big name in the modeling business as the mother agent to fashion’s “IT” girls Gigi and Bella, and model son Anwar. Model Moms brings Yolanda and her expertise to the forefront as she coaches aspiring teen models to succeed on and off the catwalk. Yolanda, along with her trusted team of experts, will put the girls and their “momagers” through an intensive eight-week training program, focused on the physical, mental and emotional wellness that it takes to build a sustainable brand. With a $5,000 weekly prize on the line to put towards their future careers, only one girl will be left standing to win a management contract with Yolanda’s company and the potential opportunity to be represented by IMG Models in New York. Model Moms is produced by Hudsun Media for Lifetime. Michael Rourke, Sean Rankine and Yolanda Hadid executive produce. Lifetime’s Mariana Flynn, Mary Donahue, Mioshi Hill and Colleen Conway Grogan also executive produce.
Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland – May 29 at 8PM ET/PT
Based on the best-selling book, Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days, Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland will premiere on Memorial Day, May 29 at 8 PM ET/PT. Told through the eyes of the King of Pop’s trusted bodyguards, Bill Whitfield (Chad Coleman) and Javon Beard (Sam Adegoke), the movie will reveal firsthand the devotion Michael (Navi, the world’s #1 Michael Jackson tribute artist) had to his children, and the hidden drama that took place during the last two years of his life. Suzanne de Passe, Madison Jones and Robert Teitel executive produce with Dianne Houston directing from a script by Elizabeth Hunter.
Menendez: Blood Brothers – June 10 at 8 PM ET/PT
Starring Courtney Love, Nico Tortorella, Myko Olivier and Benito Martinez, Menendez: Blood Brothers, will premiere on June 10th at 8pm ET/PT. Based on the true story, the movie explores the inner lives and motivation behind the murders of entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife Kitty at the hands of their sons Lyle and Erik in 1989.The movie will also reveal new details about the extreme abuse the brothers endured at their father’s hands, all while their mother looked the other way. The film is executive produced and directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and the script is written by Abdi Nazemian. Charles Pugliese also executive produces.
Story of a Girl – July 23 at 8 PM ET/PT
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress Kyra Sedgwick makes her directorial debut with Lifetime’s Story of a Girl, based on the novel of the same name by Sara Zarr, premiering July 23rd at 8pm ET/PT. When a sex video of 13-year-old Deanna (Ryann Shane) and Tommy (Tyler Johnson) goes viral, her life of carefree innocence is changed forever. Three years later, Deanna is still dealing with the fallout of the video, including being branded the school slut. Ready to move on, Deanna longs to escape a life defined by the mistakes of her past. Segwick’s husband, Kevin Bacon, and daughter Sosie Bacon also star. Story of a Girl is produced by Kikkosview. Sedgwick produces and directs from a script written by Laurie Collyer and Emily Bickford Lansbury, who also produces. The film is produced by Liz Levine and Adrian Salpeter of Random Bench. Ross Katz is executive producer.