THR's Women in Entertainment 2012: Power 100
It's Nov. 29, four days after the debut of Lifetime's Liz & Dick, the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton telepic starring Lindsay Lohan, whose less-than-stellar reviews set off a media frenzy. The two-hour epic was deemed a "wildly graceless biopic" by the Los Angeles Times, "an imbalanced mess" by Hitfix and "an instant classic of unintentional hilarity" by THR's Tim Goodman. But the promise of a camp experience, coupled with the first opportunity to see Lohan in a significant role in five years, seemed to tee it up to soar spectacularly -- or, conversely, bomb big. Instead, it landed squarely, and respectably, in the middle, delivering solid numbers that made it the fourth-highest-rated TV movie of 2012.
Of the reviews, Nancy Dubuc, who oversees Lifetime as president of entertainment and media at A+E Networks, says, "You can't take a risk like that and not draw criticism, and we knew that going in." And if she had it to do all over again? Absolutely, she says, without a second's hesitation. After all, for days leading up to the movie's Thanksgiving weekend premiere, scores of people were discussing and, in many cases, Googling what channel Lifetime was on their cable system who never had before. Suddenly, a network that long ago waned in relevance was the topic du jour on talk shows, tabloids and countless Twitter feeds. "We couldn't have bought the buzz that we got," she explains. "The idea that all of these people were talking about Lifetime? I'll take that."
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