This is one of the largest TV movie orders for Lifetime, which has been ramping up film production as part of a scripted original programming strategy shift away from scripted series toward TV movies where the network has long traditions and a proven ratings track record.
It also marks the biggest order to date for Big Dreams Entertainment, the production company Greif launched in January after exiting his post as CEO of ITV-owned Thinkfactory Media, the company he had founded in 2011.
Additionally, the deal extends Greif’s long relationship with A+E Networks where he previously produced History’s miniseries Hatfields & McCoys and Texas Rising, and Lifetime’s Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le, Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer and Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta.
“From Hatfields & McCoys to Surviving Compton, Leslie has delivered outstanding creative that has led to excellent results for our networks, and we are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Leslie and his team with these upcoming movies,” said A+E Networks programming president Rob Sharenow.
Joining Greif at Big Dreams Entertainment is Alex Kerr, the onetime UTA TV lit agent and former head of scripted television at Thinkfactory Media. He serves as the new company’s’ SVP Content.
The 10-project greenlight by Lifetime follows the successful debuts of Big Dreams’ first productions, Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live, the two-hour live event broadcast on Discovery in April; and Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses, which last month kicked off Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” programming, averaging 2.6 million viewers.
Big Dreams’ development slate includes the six-hour event series Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates at History, based on the book by Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. It recounts America’s first foreign war, one that led to the founding of the modern Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy.
The company also has four documentaries in the works for A&E’s Biography franchise. Like Lifetime and History, A&E is part of A+E Networks.
Greif co-created Walker, Texas Ranger for CBS and later created the A&E docuseries Gene Simmons Family Jewels. His TV series credits also include CMT’s Sun Records.
“I look forward to the next chapter in building Big Dreams and it’s very gratifying to continue my treasured relationship with Rob and the entire A+E Networks family,” Greif said. “I’m so proud of what Big Dreams has accomplished in our first few months, having delivered several successful projects already and we have an exciting development slate upcoming. It’s going to be another wild and fun ride.”
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