TCA Summer Press Tour News


Lifetime Original Movie ‘Five’ Tackles Breast Cancer

LOS ANGELES — Lifetime will debut a new original movie in October revolving
around breast-cancer awareness, one of several telefilms slated for the
2011-12 season.

The movie, Five, debuts Oct. 10 and showcases the lives of five women and
the impact breast cancer has on their lives, said network officials. The five
short stories within the movie were directed by well-known actresses Jennifer
Aniston and Demi Moore; singer/songwriter Alicia Keys; and directors Patty
Jenkins and Penelope Spheeris. The cast includes actresses Jeanne Tripplehorn
and Patricia Clarkson (pictured below during the Lifetime panel session
at the Television Critics Association summer tour last Wednesday).

“It’s a sincere honor to be affiliated with Five,” Lifetime president and general
manager Nancy Dubuc said during the panel discussion. “This may be
the most important film we’ve ever done.”

The movie is part of an aggressive slate of original movies for Lifetime.
The women’s targeted network has 24 original Lifetime movies slated for the
2011-12 season, Dubuc said.

On the scripted front, the network has commissioned a new series pilot
dubbed Modern Love, which will weave actual stories about love and romance
optioned from the hit The New York Times Sunday column.

Also on Lifetime’s scripted docket is Against the Wall, a drama that follows
a young police detective who gets her big break working for Internal Affairs,
which ruffles the lives of her father and two brothers who are all on the police
force. The show joins Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva and freshman series The
on Lifetime’s scripted-series list.

Hallmark Hopes to Sizzle With New Emeril Cooking Series

LOS ANGELES Hallmark Channel has cooked up a new series for its daytime
programming block that will star popular chef Emeril Lagasse.

The series, Emeril’s Table, will debut Sept. 26 at 11 a.m. and will feature
Lagasse sharing his love of food with five guests seated at his chef’s table,
network officials during Hallmark’s presentation at the TCA summer tour last

Emeril’s Table will join sophomore cooking series Martha Bakes, starring
Martha Stewart, which also debuts Sept. 16 at 11:30 a.m.

Hallmark Channel’s “Home” block will also feature the return of Stewart’s
Martha Stewart Show
, as well as all new seasons of Mad Hungry and Petkeeping,
said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Networks.

Also, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel will debut 18 original
movies from now until the end of the year, and additional six Hallmark Movie
Channel original premieres in 2012, Abbott said.

GMC To Launch Monthly Original Movie Package

LOS ANGELES — GMC will launch a series of monthly family-targeted original
films beginning with the Aug. 21 premiere of Trinity Goodheart.

The 50-million subscriber network will also air at least one gospel-themed
play a quarter beginning in September, GMC vice chairman Brad Siegel said
during the network’s inaugural TCA tour panel presentation last Wednesday.

The first film on the docket is Trinity Goodheart, which stars Grammy-nominated
singer Eric Bonet and James Hong (Kung Fu Panda) and follows a young
girl’s decision to reunite her broken family after being visited by an angel.

Other original movies slated for GMC include A Mile In His Shoes, a story
about a 17-year-old farm boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and a live fastball
who is recruited by a minor-league baseball scout, network officials said.

While similar in tone to Hallmark Channel’s family friendly original movies,
Siegel said his network is hoping to draw younger viewers with its movies
through a mix of inspirational and faith-based family friendly fare.

The network will also bring to TV at least one gospel-themed stage play per
quarter, according to Siegel. GMC will debut on Sept. 17 The Love You Save,
which chronicles the often negative consequences that come when kids grow
up without a father in the home.

History Sets New Series, Including ‘Vietnam in HD’

LOS ANGELES — Coming off a record second-quarter ratings performance, History
will launch several new series this fall, the network announced during its
TCA summer tour presentation last Wednesday.

Among the new series slated to launch over the next few months include
Around The World In 80 Ways, a 10-part series produced by Thom Beers that
follows the exploits of Robert “Boston Rob” Mariano (Survivor) and Gravedigger
creator Dennis Anderson as they employ 80 different forms of transportation
to travel the world without repeating any vehicle; and Vietnam in HD, a
six-hour docudrama that tells the
stories of the Vietnam War through
uncensored footage transferred to
high definition.

The network will also commemorate
the 10th anniversary of the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
with several 9/11 documentaries,
including a commercial-free, global
simulcast of History’s Emmy-award
winning series 102 Minutes That
Changed America,
officials said.

The new series and specials
come as the network enjoys a major
ratings boost due mostly to the
strong performances of such shows
as Pawn Stars and American Pickers.
History is coming off its most
watched second quarter in all key
demos in the network’s history, averaging
2.1 million viewers, according
to Nielsen.

ESPN To Debut High School Renovation Series

LOS ANGELES ESPN will debut a new reality series that chronicles the renovation
of four high school athletic facilities, network officials announced last
Wednesday at the TCA tour.

The four-part Rise Up series, hosted by ESPN college-football analyst Chris
Spielman, will highlight from start to finish the rebuilding of gyms at Ohio’s
Wellston High School, Boston’s Dorchester Education Complex; Washington’s
Ingraham High School and Chicago’s Walter Dyett High School.

Along with the actual renovation, the show will also focus on giving students
advice, training and tools that they can use to become better athletes, said
network officials.

The series is an offshoot of a Sept. 10 ESPN Rise Up special, in which
McMain Secondary High School in New Orleans was renovated.

“We have to recognize that there are parents and teachers around the country
who are doing a lot with a little, and this is our way of giving back,” said
Joan Lynch, vice president of content development for ESPN during the panel

The sports network also announced a new slate of ESPN Films
following the conclusion of its 30 for 30 series. The films will launch
Sept. 27 with Catching Hell — which revolves around Chicago Cubs baseball
fan Steve Bartman’s infamous interference of Cubs outfielder Moises
Alou’s catch during the 2003 National League Championship Series — and
run on consecutive Tuesdays. Other 30 for 30 entries include The Real
, chronicling the life of former heavyweight contender Chuck
Wepner; Renee, about transgender tennis player Renee Richards; and
The Dotted Line, an in-depth look at what it takes to be an agent in majorleague

Also scheduled are Unguarded, about the troubled life of Massachusetts
high school basketball superstar Chris Herren; Charismatic, which follows
the tragic story of thoroughbred horse Charismatic; and Roll Tide/War Eagle,
about the Alabama/Auburn college football rivalry.

— R. Thomas Umstead