Lifetime, Robin Roberts to Team on Mahalia Jackson Biopic

Lifetime has extended its production partnership with Good Morning America host Robin Roberts to include four new movies, including a project on the life of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, the network announced Monday during its virtual TCA press tour presentation.

The movie, Robin Roberts Presents: The Mahalia Jackson Story will star Danielle Brooks (Orange is The New Black) and will be produced by Kenny Leon (Steel Magnolias), according to Lifetime.

“Having had the privilege of working with Kenny on Steel Magnolias and Robin Roberts on Stolen by my Mother, I am ecstatic to have them join forces to work together on this special project,” said Tanya Lopez, EVP of Movies, Limited Series & Original Movie Acquisitions, Lifetime and LMN in a statement. “Adding Danielle Brooks as Mahalia is icing on the cake. This team is committed in celebrating the legacy of Mahalia and reintroducing her to a world that needs her spirit more than ever.”

The network also announced that it will develop more than 30 new original holiday movies as part of Lifetime’s annual It’s a Wonderful Lifetime programming block, launching in mid-October and running through December.

Among the celebrities starring in the network’s original holiday movies are Betty White, Kelly Rowland, Mario Lopez, Tiffany Haddish and Robin Givens, according to the network. 

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.