Lifetime is readying the release of a bunch of new projects. From Wendy Williams getting a biopic to a follow-up on the R. Kelly docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. The cable network hit the Television Critics Association's summer press tour announcing an abundance of content that will soon be hitting the small screen.
What is in store, exactly? Here is the inside track on each of Lifetime's newest projects, as well as a significant new development for the previously announced TV movie, Patsy and Loretta. (Spoiler alert: it has a premiere date!) Keep reading for that and lots more. First up…
Two Wendy Williams Projects
The Wendy Williams Show’s eponymous host is getting her own Lifetime movie biopic. Williams will executive produce the movie, which will chronicle “the highs and lows” she has endured through the years, though presumably in ways that skew closer to how Williams experienced them. It will cover her days as an urban radio star and her current life as a syndicated talk show host. The movie will start production this fall for a 2020 premiere.
A fictional movie can only tell you so much, though, so there will also be a companion piece after the biopic airs. Following Williams' film will be a documentary that will likely elucidate further details of Wendy Williams’ extraordinary story. Perhaps sharing more insight surrounding recent events in the host’s life. Albeit, she has remained very open about her marital issues and her drug problems, but there's always room to dig further.
Wendy Williams has authorized the project, so she is definitely on board for both of these new projects. The movie is from Will Packer Media and is written by Leigh Davenport. Entertainment One and Creature Films will produce the accompanying documentary.
Surviving R. Kelly: The Aftermath
Lifetime has ordered up a follow-up to the highly popular and influential docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, which aired earlier this year. The network has commissioned four new hours to chronicle the ever-unraveling story. The R&B star of the title is currently facing multiple charges and has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault. Kelly was reportedly unhappy with the original series, likely because the backlash against him was swift, and it affected his professional life.
Lifetime says that the new installments will include “new survivors" and psychologists, while viewers will also hear from “experts on the case.” Sudi Khosropur (Intervention) will serve as the series’ showrunner, and will also co-executive produce the project. Lifetime's own Brie Miranda Bryant will be executive producing alongside execs from Kreative Inc. and Bunim Murray Productions.
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein
In related Surviving news, the initial R. Kelly docuseries is getting a spinoff of sorts with the development of Surviving Jeffrey Epstein. It will document the story surrounding the registered sex offender and billionaire New York financier. Earlier this month, the FBI arrested Epstein and charted him with the sex trafficking of minors.
The investigative doc will delve into how Jeffrey Epstein “allegedly hid in plain sight” while “enablers protected him” for twenty years. Bungalow Media + Entertainment is developing it in association with The Preppy Murder’s Anne Sundberg and Ricki Stern. The latter duo will direct the series. Journalist Christopher Mason, who has contributed to The New York Times (among others), is also attached.
College Admissions Scandal Movie
The tale surrounding the so-called college admissions scandal is also getting the Lifetime movie treatment. Yes, the story involving that Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman and former Hallmark...hallmark...Lori Loughlin. The movie will center on two unidentified but wealthy mothers (amalgams of real-life parents, no doubt), whose shared obsession is getting their teens into the best college possible.
As those watching the headlines know, those calculated risks resulted in a lot of life-altering consequences, including criminal charges and, according to Lifetime, a loss of trust and respect from family members, friends and fans. Varsity Film Inc. will produce alongside Gail Katz and Howard Braunstein as executive producers. Blindspot director, Adam Salky, will helm the movie from Stephen Tolkin’s script.
Patsy and Loretta
As previously announced, the story of country music icons Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn is getting a Lifetime movie. It has now acquired a premiere date, with Patsy and Loretta debuting on Saturday, October 19, at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime. The Good Wife’s Megan Hilty will play the late Cline, while Jessie Mueller of Broadway’s Waitress will star as Lynn.
The movie will tell the tale of the country music singers’ friendship, which included Patsy Cline mentoring Loretta Lynn as an aspiring musician. Still one of the genre's most revered singers, Cline died in a plane crash at the age of 30 in 1963. Nashville creator Callie Khouri is the director of Patsy and Loretta.