Lifetime Sets Scripted Comedy Series

Pasadena, Calif. -- Lifetime Television executives Wednesday took a break from their public carriage battle against EchoStar Communications Corp. to announce several new series and movies set to launch on the distaff network this year.

President of entertainment Susanne Daniels presided over the network's Television Critics Association tour session here Wednesday while CEO Betty Cohen remained in New York to tend to the ongoing distribution dispute with the satellite service, which dropped Lifetime and sister service Lifetime Movie Network on New Year's Eve over carriage fees.

Daniels -- who took over the programming reigns of the channel four years ago -- announced her first scripted series for the network, Lovespring, a comedy about a fictitious Beverly Hills matchmaking company.

The show -- a product of Will & Grace star Eric McCormack’s and former UPN executive Michael Forman's production company, Big Cattle Productions -- will bow on the channel later this summer, according to Lifetime.

Other original series slated to bow on Lifetime include Cheerleader Nation, a reality skein set to debut March 12, which will examine the ups and downs of the world of a high-school cheerleading squad though the eyes of the students on the team and their parents.

Also on the docket for a March 12 premiere is Face the Family -- Lifetime's version of hit movie Meet the Fockers, according to Daniels -- in which couples will have to face their respective in-laws without the presence of their significant others.

On the original-movie side, Lifetime will bow on Feb. 6 For One Night, starring Disney Channel star Raven Symone as a high-school student determined to integrate her school's segregated prom, according to Lifetime vice president of original films Trevor Walton.

Lifetime will also develop films based on the true-life story of mother-and-son crime team Sante and Kenny Kimes, as well as a film based on best selling book Buffalo Soldier.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.