Lifetime goes for broke, brings in Trump

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Lifetime is reaching for its funny side with several new comedies, at the same time enlisting mogul and Apprentice star Donald Trump to executive produce and narrate a scripted series thats in development.

The womens network already has acquired hits such as Will & Grace and Reba, but its much better known for its original dramas like Army Wives and, of course, its scripted movies. But with an announcement Monday afternoon at Lifetimes annual press presentation, entertainment president Susanne Daniels said that it was hoping to broaden its comedic appeal.

Three new comedy pilots are in development, including Libertyville, starring Christine Ebersole as a divorced 40-something on the dating scene again, and Rita Rocks, starring Nicole Sullivan managing marriage, motherhood and a newly formed garage band. The Libertyville and Rita Rocks pilots would be tested next week, with Daniels saying that one of the pair could move forward soon. A third, Burnt Toast, is an adaptation of Desperate Housewives actress Teri Hatchers book; Hatcher is one of the executive producers.

Trump will be the executive producer of Trump Tower, a nighttime soap opera set at fictional swanky apartments at the very real Trump Towers in midtown Manhattan that is in development at Lifetime.

Think Desperate Housewives in Trump Tower with The Donald narrating, and you get the idea of what were after, Daniels said.

Already picked up to pilot are Mistresses, a Fox 21 production based on the BBC drama and Drop Dead Diva, a supernatural-themed drama. Also in development are Chambermaid, based on a novel by Saira Rao about a law clerk; The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, based on a British miniseries about a woman who accidentally becomes governor of her state; and The Skin Im In, about a Harvard medical school student.

On the original TV movie side, Lifetime plans Trading Up, based on the novel by Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, as well as America, a story of a runaway helped by a doctor that will star and be executive produced by Rosie ODonnell; Terrorist, based on the John Updike novel; and Maneater, Gigi-Levangie Grazers book about a gold digger. Also in development are two true-life movies: Amish Grace about the families who lost daughters in the schoolhouse shooting and how they forgave as well as Julie Roberts Story about the sad personal life of a country music star.

The Hollywood Reporter

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