Lifetime announced at TCA today an ambitious slate of original movies for 2019. Among the 75 films planned for next year are a series of telepics and documentaries from veteran newswoman Robin Roberts along with book franchises from authors V.C. Andrews and Victoria Christopher Murray.
The A+E Networks-owned cable net unveiled today a major production deal with Roberts for movies and docs under the Robin Roberts Presents banner to debut next year. It also is in development on Murray’s Seven Deadly Sins anthology, reteaming with producer T.D. Jakes, and has commissioned the first three books — Lust, Envy and Greed – to debut next year.
Andrews’ five-book series about the twisted relationships of the Casteel Family also being turned into movies. First up is V.C. Andrews’ Heaven, starring Annalise Basso, Julie Benz, Chris William Martin and Chris McNally.
Those projects join the previously announced Jane Green three-picture deal. The first movie, Tempting Fate, stars Alyssa Milano and is directed by Kim Raver and Manu Boyer, who also executive produce all three films.
Lifetime also said it has completed production on Somebody’s Someone, starring Ginnifer Goodwin and Angela Fairley. It’s based on the memoir of Regina Louise, detailing her life as a young black girl who was denied adoption by the one woman who loved her the most, simply because she was white.
Here are details of Lifetime’s newly announced movie projects for 2019:
ROBIN ROBERTS PRESENTS
Robin Roberts will executive produce a series of movies and documentaries for Lifetime under the banner, Robin Roberts Presents. Based on true events, the movies and documentaries will explore stories that inspire and educate audiences. The first of these projects will focus on African American Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson whose inspirational music and unwavering faith were a great support for Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Robin Roberts executive produces the movie alongside Linda Berman of Lincoln Square Productions. The script is written by Bettina Gilois.
The second project focuses on the true story of Alexis Manigo, who at age 18, discovers her real name is Kamiyah Mobley and that she had been abducted as a baby from a Jacksonville, Florida hospital. Robin Roberts executive produces alongside Linda Berman of Lincoln Square Productions, Gary Randall, Michele Samit and Richard Kletter. Samit and Kletter also serve as writers for the script.
Each movie will be followed by a companion documentary, featuring some of the real-life characters depicted in the films. The docs will be executive produced by Robin Roberts and John R. Green as a production collaboration between Rock’n Robin and Lincoln Square Productions for Lifetime.
SEVEN DEADLY SINS
Lifetime re-teams with producer Bishop T.D. Jakes (Faith Under Fire) for an anthology series Seven Deadly Sins, based on the book series by Victoria Christopher Murray. Three movies – Lust, Envy, and Greed – have been commissioned for production to debut next year. The movies are executive produced by T.D. Jakes, Derrick Williams and Shaun Robinson.
LUST – Tiffanie is about to have the wedding of her dreams to her soul mate, the dashing Damon King. But when Damon’s old friend Trey arrives, Tiffanie’s whole world gets rocked. Sexy and mysterious, Trey triggers a passion in Tiffanie that she never expected, and suddenly the life she’s always planned with Damon is uncertain. But Trey still carries wounds from his history with Damon, and his intentions toward both Tiffanie and Damon are not to be trusted.
ENVY – Gabrielle has it all – a devoted husband, a beautiful daughter, and one of the best PR firms in the country. When Gabrielle’s father suddenly reveals she has a half-sister, Keisha, as a result of a brief affair, only-child Gabrielle is delighted to welcome her into her life. But Keisha, who grew up with nothing, wants more than a sisterly bond from Gabrielle—she wants her life, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
GREED – Zuri always felt that she deserved more: a better job, more money, fancy clothes, designer handbags, among other things. What she did have is an amazing boyfriend, local artist Stephon, who is struggling to break through with his art. A chance meeting leads Zuri to be courted professionally by a number of powerful men who offer tantalizing glimpses of the life she thinks she should have, but each requires small compromises that start to undermine Zuri’s relationships with the people she loves. Ultimately, Zuri’s greed draws her into a web of deceit, with consequences she never could have imagined.
V.C. ANDREWS’ HEAVEN
Lifetime is in development on five new movies based on the Casteel Family from the Casteel series from prolific writer, V.C. Andrews. The first of the movies, V.C. Andrews’ Heaven, to be broadcast by Lifetime, stars Annalise Basso, Julie Benz, Chris William Martin, and Chris McNally. Of all the poor people living in the foothills of the mountains of West Virginia, the Casteel’s were considered the lowest. Yet, the eldest daughter, Heaven Leigh Casteel (Basso), was still the prettiest and smartest girl in the backwoods, despite her ragged clothes. Heaven encouraged her four younger siblings to cling to their pride and hope for a day that they’d escape their poverty. But when Heaven’s stepmother Sarah runs away, Heaven’s greedy, selfish father Luke (Martin) develops a scheme to make money…sell his children off one by one. Heaven is sent to live in the home of Luke’s deranged ex-lover, Kitty (Benz). There, Heaven is subjected to more torment, but finds solace in the arms of her stepfather Cal (McNally), as they begin a taboo relationship while Heaven fights to reunite her siblings.
V.C. Andrews’ Heaven is produced by Front Street Pictures. Executive producers are Harvey Kahn, Daniel Angel, Jane Startz, Tom Mazza, Juliet Smith, and Marnie Termuende. Scarlett Lacey wrote the script for V.C. Andrews’ Heaven, directed by Paul Shapiro.
SOMEBODY’S SOMEONE: THE REGINA LOUISE STORY
Somebody’s Someone is based on a memoir about Regina Louise (newcomer Angela Fairley), a young African-American girl who navigated over 30 foster homes and psychiatric facilities before age 18, and the one woman, Jeanne (Ginnifer Goodwin), who believed in her. After Jeanne’s unsuccessful attempt to adopt Regina due to a racially motivated ruling, their bond is forced apart. Somebody’s Someone is Regina’s story of how one woman’s belief and love becomes her lifeline as she defeated the odds of a corrupt system and succeeded. After 25 years, Jeanne is finally able to adopt Regina in the same courthouse that denied them previously. Somebody’s Someone also stars Monique Coleman, Sherri Saum and Kim Hawthorne. Howard Braunstein, Ginnifer Goodwin and Yvonne Chotzen executive produce the movie. Co-executive producers are Andrea Buchanan and Regina Louise-Taylor. Janice Cooke directed from a teleplay by Camille Thomasson, based on the book by Regina Louise-Taylor.