TNT is finalizing a deal for a cast-contingent original movie based on the true story of a Harlem teacher, sources said last week.
“The Ron Clark Story” (working title) follows a white Southern schoolteacher who moves to New York and inspires inner-city kids.
The film will be produced under the banner of Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentations and executive produced by Brenda Friend, Howard Burkons and Adam Gilad through Granada Entertainment. The movie is tentatively scheduled to run in the first quarter of next year.
Mr. Clark received Disney’s 2000 Teacher of the Year award and was named the first Phenomenal Man by O, The Oprah Magazine. The deal was packaged by ICM and is expected to air in the first half of next year. TNT had no comment.
TNT has produced four movies with Johnson & Johnson, including the Emmy-winning “Door to Door,” under a partnership formed in 2002.
The green light comes on the heels of Turner’s announcement last week of a large slate of programs that includes a limited series based on a short story collection by Stephen King.
“Last year our focus was heavily on procedurals. We were looking for shows that would lead out natural from `Law & Order’ and `Without a Trace,”‘ said Michael Wright, senior VP of original programming for TNT. “Now you’re seeing an effort to branch out from crime dramas.”
TNT’s new series are “Confessions,” a drama about a hit man from executive producer Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby”); “Grace,” about a female police officer given an opportunity to change her life, from Nancy Miller (“CSI: Miami”); “The Midnight Club,” a police drama scripted by author James Patterson (“Along Came a Spider”); “Smoke & Mirrors,” a drama set in the world of advertising from writer-producer Lindsay Sturman (“Joan of Arcadia”) and executive producers Greer Shephard and Michael Robin (“Nip/Tuck”); “Talk to Me,” a hostage negotiator drama from executive producer Dean Devlin (“Independence Day”); and “Nightmares and Dreamscapes,” a limited series based on the Stephen King collection and executive produced by Bill Haber (“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”).
Sister network TBS also announced some projects, including “Sketch Off” (working title), which presents sketch comedy groups from around the country and is produced by Whoopi Goldberg’s One Ho Productions; “Loser Leaves Town,” a greenlighted reality series in which two feuding neighbors participate in a series of competitions, by executive producer Bruce Nash (“Outback Jack”); and “Daisy Does America,” a comedy series staring British comic Daisy Donovan and executive produced by Courteney Cox Arquette and David Arquette’s Coquette Productions.