Lifetime Sets Projects with Viola Davis, Greg Berlanti & More


LOS ANGELES: Lifetime has unveiled a slate of new projects featuring such big-name talents as Viola Davis, James Franco, Greg Berlanti and Queen Latifah, among others.

Davis executive produces and stars in Custody, a new Lifetime movie set to debut in March. The cast includes Hayden Panettiere, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ellen Burstyn and Tony Shalhoub.

Franco returns to Lifetime as executive producer and star in the romantic thriller High School Lover, premiering on February 4. Franco previously collaborated with the network on the remake of Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?

Based on the best-selling book Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days, the new Lifetime movie Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland (working title) is currently in preproduction. The story will be told through the eyes of the King of Pop’s trusted bodyguards, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard.

The Britney Spears biopic Britney Ever After has been scheduled to premiere on February 18. This latest Lifetime biopic follows the tumultuous story of the pop icon: her rise to fame, fall from grace and eventual triumphant resurrection.

Lifetime has a number of new scripted series headed to the network as well. Mary Kills People, about a doctor who helps people in need end their lives with dignity, will debut on April 23. The network is also developing the psychological thriller You, from Berlanti Productions and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television. The series is to be written by executive producers Berlanti (Political Animals) and Sera Gamble (The Magicians).

With regard to unscripted highlights, The Pop Game follows on the success of Lifetime’s The Rap Game, this time following music-industry icon Timbaland as he works with five aspiring young vocal artists. Grammy and Emmy Award winner Queen Latifah and her partner Shakim Compere will executive produce under the Flavor Unit umbrella along with Jermaine Dupri and Timbaland.

Liz Gateley, the executive VP and head of programming at Lifetime, said, “Lifetime has an exciting 2017 ahead with big programming swings and initiatives that are dedicated to understanding the state of womanhood today, including what women want to watch and what they care about most. As we continue to be a destination for all things female, we can’t wait to debut these projects that place the highest-caliber talent at the center of all we do.”