[10/11/07 - 03:05 PM]
Lifetime Networks Partners with Starz Media to Produce and Distribute Original TV Movies Globally
The deal kicks off with three new originals: "True Confessions of A Hollywood Starlet" starring JoJo and Valerie Bertinelli; "Queen Sized" starring Nikki Blonsky; and "Wisegal" starring Alyssa Milano and Jason Gedrick.

[via press release from Lifetime]

Lifetime Networks Partners With Starz Media to Produce and Distribute Original TV Movies Globally

International Co-Production Deal Kicks Off With Three New Lifetime Original Movies: "True Confessions of A Hollywood Starlet" Starring JoJo and Valerie Bertinelli; "Queen Sized" Starring Nikki Blonsky; and "Wisegal" Starring Alyssa Milano and Jason Gedrick

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11 -- Lifetime Networks is partnering with Starz Media to co-produce three Lifetime Original Movies, which will air in 2008, featuring high-profile casts and compelling, mass-appeal stories. The announcement of this important deal for both companies was made today by Susanne Daniels, President, Entertainment, Lifetime Networks and Kent Rice, President and COO of Starz Media.

This is Lifetime's second major international co-production deal, following the April announcement of its partnership with French broadcaster TF-1 International to produce and distribute three original television movies for worldwide release. For Starz Media, it's a continuation of the new studio's expansion into top-quality primetime movies, and marks a new production partner along with ABC, SCI FI Network, Cartoon Network, BET and Starz Entertainment, among others.

Starz Media will handle worldwide distribution of the titles, including home entertainment through its Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Since 1990, Lifetime has produced 184 Lifetime Original Movies. Ranked #1 in primetime households and total viewers among this year's original basic cable movies, Lifetime Original Movies received two 2007 Emmy Award nominations, with "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy" garnering a nod for Outstanding Made for Television Movie and Gena Rowlands for Outstanding Actress in "What if God Were the Sun?"

"This is a truly innovative deal that has tremendous value for Lifetime and Starz. We hope to be making more deals like this in the future," said Daniels. Adding, "Thanks to Joey Plager and Arturo Interian, our VPs of Original Movies, and Debbie Stasson, our business affairs consultant, as they were both keenly instrumental in executing this deal on behalf of Lifetime."

"We are committed to partnering with major television networks to produce and distribute audience-pleasing programming, and this new deal with Lifetime is certainly an outstanding example of that," Rice said. "With these three movies, we have terrific performers, strong scripts and talented production crews. Coupled with a world-class brand like Lifetime, we anticipate great success with this alliance."


Multi-platinum recording artist JoJo ("RV," "Aquamarine") and Golden Globe(R) Award-Winning actress Valerie Bertinelli ("One Day at a Time," "Touched By An Angel") are set to star in the amusing Lifetime Original Movie "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet," the story of a superstar teen actress whose life is turned upside down when she is sent to live incognito with her aunt in the suburbs after a stint in rehab and must adjust to life out of the spotlight. The movie, based on a novel of the same name by Lola Douglas, will be directed by actor/director Tim Matheson (Lifetime's "Augusta, Gone"). "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet" will premiere in 2008 on Lifetime Television.

In "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet," 17-year-old actress Morgan Carter (JoJo) has it all - money, fame and thousands of adoring fans. But her world comes crashing down after she passes out on the red carpet of her movie premiere from alcohol poisoning. Morgan is quickly whisked away to rehab but speculation about her substance abuse problem tarnishes her image and keeps the press at her heels. Afraid that returning to Hollywood would lead to a relapse in her partying ways and result in the demise of her career, Morgan's mother and manager devise a plan for Morgan to live with her offbeat Aunt Trudy (Bertinelli) in Indiana, where she can recover without the flashing bulbs of the paparazzi and celebrity bloggers writing about her every move.

Assuming the name "Claudia Miller" while attending a local high school, she goes unrecognized by her fellow students. Morgan must now adjust to life as a typical teenager, living on a limited budget and taking geometry and gym classes while making some new friends outside of her usual celebrity circle.

"True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet" is produced by Barbara Lieberman Productions for Lifetime Television. Starz Media's executives in charge of the production are Scott D. Greenberg and Karen Bailey. Barbara Lieberman (Lifetime's "Murder in the Hamptons") and Jon Maas ("The Last Debate") serve as executive producers. Phil Kleinbart (Lifetime's "Augusta Gone") serves as the supervising producer and Mark Winemaker ("The Path to 9/11") will produce. Matheson directs from a script written by Elisa Bell ("Little Black Book").


Following her starring role in the summer blockbuster "Hairspray," rising young actress Nikki Blonsky has signed on to star in the Lifetime Original Movie, "Queen Sized," the inspirational true story of an overweight teen who takes a stand against bullying, to become her school's homecoming queen, and ends up with much more than just a crown. "Queen Sized" will premiere Saturday, January 5, 2008, 9PM (ET/PT) on Lifetime Television.

In "Queen Sized," overweight high school senior Maggie Baker (Blonsky), always felt sorry for herself for not being as skinny, pretty or wealthy as the popular girls at school. When Maggie's name ends up on the list of nominees for the homecoming court as a prank by her classmates, she is mortified. Rather than drop out as expected, Maggie chooses to stay on the ballot in order to represent all the "outcasts" at school. As word of her courageousness spreads, Maggie becomes a local celebrity and a symbol for all those who are bullied in high school. But when Maggie's newfound fame goes to her head -- the kids who stood by her, including her best friend Casey -- begin to resent her. Maggie is forced to take a long hard look at herself and reevaluate what battle she is truly fighting.

"Queen Sized" is produced by Von Zerneck-Sertner Films for Lifetime Television. Starz Media's executives in charge of the production are Scott D. Greenberg and Karen Bailey. Bob Sertner (Lifetime's "Girl Positive," "We Were the Mulvaneys") and Frank Von Zerneck (Lifetime's "Haunting Sarah," "For One Night") serve as executive producers. Peter Levin ("Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story") will direct the movie from a script by Rodney Johnson.


Alyssa Milano ("Charmed," "Who's the Boss?") and Jason Gedrick ("Desperate Housewives," "Windfall") are set to star in the Lifetime Original Movie "Wisegal," a stirring drama inspired by the true story of Patty Montanari, a woman who became a trusted confidant to the Mafia, only to confront the heartbreaking reality that her romantic entanglement put her children in jeopardy. The movie will be executive produced by Joe Pistone, the real FBI agent who infiltrated the mob, and whose life was the basis for the 1997 movie "Donnie Brasco," starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. "Wisegal" will premiere in 2008 on Lifetime Television.

In "Wisegal," Patty Montanari (Milano) is a widow supporting her two young sons by selling contraband cigarettes. She soon begins a torrid love affair with Frank Russo (Gedrick), a captain in a Brooklyn crime family. The family Don, impressed with Patty's moxie, convinces her to work for the organization - at great personal risk - as a courier transporting millions of dollars from Canada into the United States. When Patty discovers that Frank has murdered his own son, she realizes he is capable of doing anything - and fears she may be his next victim.

"Wisegal" is produced by Daniel H. Blatt Productions for Lifetime Television. Starz Media's executives in charge of the production are Scott D. Greenberg and Karen Bailey. Executive producers are Daniel H. Blatt ("The Virginian," "Bad Apple"), Joe Pistone, ("Donnie Brasco," "10th & Wolf"), Leo Rossi ("10th & Wolf," "Relentless"), Anthony Melchiorri, and Danielle McVickers ("Saving Millie," "When Angels Come to Town") is co-producer. Jerry Ciccoritti (Lifetime's "Murder in the Hamptons," "La Femme Nikita") directs from a script written by Shelley Evans (Lifetime's "A Girl Life Me: The Gwen Araujo Story").

About Starz Media:

Starz Media, LLC, is a programming production and distribution company operating worldwide. It includes the Film Roman, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and Manga Entertainment brands. Its units create animated and live-action programming -- including theatrical films -- and programming created under contract for other media companies. It distributes that programming, and programming acquired from outside producers, through home video retailers, theaters, broadcasters, ad supported and premium television channels, and Internet and wireless video distributors in the US and internationally. Starz Media is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation that is attributed to Liberty Capital Group.

About Lifetime:

LIFETIME is the leader in women's television and one of the top-rated basic cable television networks. A diverse, multi-media company, LIFETIME is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. LIFETIME Television, LMN, Lifetime Real Women and Lifetime Digital (including LifetimeTV.com) are part of LIFETIME Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of The Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.

SOURCE Lifetime Networks

  [october 2007]  

· PATH TO 9/11, THE (ABC)

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