TCA17: Lifetime Greenlights Michael Jackson Original Movie

Lifetime will create an original film based on the life of Michael Jackson as part of a lineup of high profile original movie projects set to debut in 2017.

Currently in production, Michael Jackson: Searching For Neverland – based on the best selling book Remember The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days -- will be executively produced by Suzanne de Passe (The Jacksons: An American Dream), Madison Jones and Robert Teitel (Barbershop franchise, Notorious).  Silver Screen and Dianne Houston will direct a script written by Elizabeth Hunter (Beauty Shop).

Other original movie projects include Viola Davis starrer Custody, set to premiere March 4. The movie stars Davis as one of three women brought together over a custody case revolving around a mother suspected of injuring her son. Hayden Panettiere, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ellen Burstyn and Tony Shalhoub also star in the film.

Actor James Franco will executively produce and star in a new romantic thriller, High School Lover, set to debut Feb. 4.  Also in February the network will debut its previously announced original film Britney Ever After.

On the scripted front, the network’s Mary Kills People will debut April 23 and stars Caroline Dhavernas as a doctor who helps people in need end their lives with dignity. Lifetime will also produce a psychological thriller You, based on Caroline Kepnes’ best selling novel of the same name.

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.