Ahead of Lifetime UK’s launch on November 4th, parent company A+E Networks UK has acquired a number of TV movies for the channel’s launch schedule. The company has sealed deals, with various distributors, to pick up the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to the Lifetime original movies An Officer And A Murderer, Betty & Coretta & Prosecuting Casey Anthony. The TV movies, which will air on Lifetime UK as part of a strand titled Lifetime Drama Specials, are set to debut of Lifetime later this year.
Based on a story by Ron Hutchinson and Shem Bitterman, Betty & Coretta focuses on the extraordinary women behind the two men who would change history. The TV movie tells the similar true stories of Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X. When their husbands were tragically assassinated, these two women not only inherited the mantle of the civil rights movement in America, each also found herself to be a single mother who had to find a way to raise and support her children with no husband or father, resulting in a relationship like no other that spanned more than three decades. The drama stars Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Ruby Dee, Malik Yoba, Lindsay Owen Pierre, Gloria Reuben, Cherise Booth and Shinelle Azoroh.
Based on the book Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony, Prosecuting Casey Anthony follows Jeff Ashton (Rob Lowe), the Florida prosecutor who takes on the case of Casey Anthony. The movie will be seen from Ashton’s perspective and take viewers behind-the-scenes of both the investigation into Caylee’s tragic death and the ensuing trial, shedding new light on the many questions of what happened to the two year-old girl, how Ashton and his fellow prosecutors built their case and why a woman so shrouded in suspicion was proclaimed innocent. With in-depth information about the case and the accused, Prosecuting Casey Anthony will examine what the prosecution got right, what they got wrong and why Ashton remains convinced of Casey Anthony’s guilt. The TV movie is produced by Fox Television Studios and stars Rob Lowe (The West Wing), Elizabeth Mitchell (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Oscar Nunez (The Office), Marisa Ramirez (Spartacus: Gods of the Arena), Kevin Dunn (Transformers) and Virginia Welch (A God Named Pablo).
Based on a true story An Officer And A Murderer follows the downward spiral of one of Canada’s highest ranking Air Force Officers. Colonel Williams and his high-society wife were considered one of Canada’s most respected “power couples,” with two beautiful homes and high-profile careers. But on February 7, 2010, the entire nation watched in disbelief as he was arrested and eventually convicted of his crimes. Starting with a string of home invasions, Colonel Williams would take women’s lingerie and photos, later carefully categorizing and labeling them for his home collection. As he rose up in the ranks of the military, his lust and power grew and he eventually put aside all barriers to his deviant impulses, becoming more and more violent. Ultimately, he received two life sentences for first-degree murder, as well as concurrent sentences for sexual assault, forcible confinement and 82 counts of burglary. Brilliant at being stealth and obsessive in covering all traces, Colonel Williams was able to deceive his wife, friends, neighbors and even his military comrades until he was finally outwitted by a small town police detective, along with an FBI trained interrogation specialist, who together worked on the investigation that put an end to Colonel Williams’ string of disturbing crimes. The drama stars Gary Cole (The Good Wife), Laura Harris (24) and Rossif Sutherland (King).
The acquisitions of these three TV movies is part of A+E Networks UK’s strategy to mirror the output of the US Lifetime channel as much as is possible. It also follows on from the volume deal with Sony Pictures Television which gave Lifetime UK the exclusive rights to a number of Lifetime original movies produced by Sony which included Call Me Crazy: A Five Film, Drew Peterson: Untouchable, Liz & Dick, Steel Magnolias and Talhotblond. That deal with Sony also gave Lifetime UK the broadcast rights to the FX/DirecTV series Damages and Lifetime’s The Client List. Since then, as part of the above specified strategy, Lifetime UK has picked up the UK rights to Witches of East End from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and the four-hour mini-series Bonnie & Clyde from Sony Pictures Television.