Lifetime Upfront: The Weinstein Affair and New Shows

Apr 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Film and TV producer Harvey Weinstein said that when his company’s show, “Project Runway,” moves to Lifetime away from Bravo, it will be the same … only better.
Speaking at an upfront press presentation for Lifetime in Manhattan Monday, Mr. Weinstein said that his company, The Weinstein Co., was working on at least two other shows for Lifetime.
One, “Project Pygmalion,” features a woman getting help from a team to achieve her dream. The other is a spinoff of “Project Runway,” shot from the perspective of the models who how off the designers’ clothes.
Mr. Weinstein said that Bravo, which airs “Project Runway” now, was not interested in the spinoff show.
When The Weinstein Co. last week announced plans to move the program to Lifetime later this year, Bravo’s parent, NBC Universal, filed suit in New York Supreme Court, asserting it had the right of first refusal on “Project Runway.”
Mr. Weinstein declined to comment on the suit, but insisted that he and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker were best friends, and that after three years of cleaning his house and babysitting his kids, they would be best friends again.
Mr. Weinstein said the show was moving in order to grow its audience and that NBCU had been planning to move the program off of Bravo to a bigger cable channel or the broadcast network. Lifetime executives said that their network has more viewers and higher ratings than Bravo.
Lifetime also discussed other projects involving big personalities, notably public enemies Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell.
Mr. Trump’s project is a frothy Aaron Spelling-esque tale of desperate housewives in Trump Tower, according to Lifetime Entertainment President Susanne Daniels. The project was only recently agreed to and no writer or producer is yet assigned.
Ms. O’Donnell is executive producer of a movie in development for Lifetime called “America,” the story of 15-year-old boy by that name who is separated from his foster mother.
Lifetime also discussed a number of other scripted, reality and move project in various stages of development.
Ms. Daniels said that because of the success of off-network comedies “Reba” and “Will & Grace,” the network is working on comedies. It’s got pilots of “Libertyville,” starring Christine Ebersol as a mother re-entering the dating pool, and “Rita Rocks,” about a mom who dusts off her guitar and forms a garage band. Also in development is “Burnt Toast,” adapted from “Desperate Housewives” actress Teri Hatcher’s book.
Lifetime has its hit “Army Wives” returning in June. It wants to pick up another drama to run with it and has ordered pilots of an American version of the BBC show “Mistresses” and “Drop Dead Diva from executive producer Josh Berman.
Also in development are “The Department Store, “Chambermaid,” “The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard,” “The Skin I’m In” and “Trump Tower.”
On the reality front, Lifetime is bringing back “How to Look Good Naked” with Carson Kressley. While ratings for the show have been only so-so, it’s a good fit with the Lifetime brand,” Ms. Daniels said. The program returns in a new one-hour format.
Lifetime is not sure about bringing back “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”
Lifetime is developing new reality shows including: a dating show, “The Big Match,” featuring one woman picking from 100 guys, hosted by Cat Deeley; “Salsa and the City,” a docusoap following a group of salsa dancers hosted by Mario Lopez; “Cook Yourself Thin,” a cooking-lifestyle show; and “Total Knockout,” which pits celebrity stylists against each other in a makeover competition. Model Roshumba Williams hosts and Jonathan Antin of “Blowout” is one of the judges.
(Editor: Baumann)



  2. With all due respect, are they serious? Look at these shows! Would someone please elaborate on how any of these shows offer an “escape” from reality? Most of them ARE reality based or so poorly conceptualized they’ll be off the air almost overnight. Chambermaid? Drop Dead Diva? Total Knockout? Oh dear Lord please help the exec’s at Lifetime grow a brain. Of course there are many women out there who enjoy mindless, insulting entertainment – you’re welcome to them but please believe this middle aged, intelligent professional – the majority of women do not want more demoralizing ways to measure themselves by – we have enough of that thrown at us day in and day out. We want entertainment and what is listed here is not quality entertainment, nor is it an escape from anything!
    I’m a “Blood Ties” fan. You have a decent fan base already built and the opportunity to expand on a fun little *inexpensive* show. Please take the next step and include Blood Ties in your lineup – I doubt you’ll be disappointed in the ratings.

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  12. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  13. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

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