Lifetime Adapting Brian Stelter's 'Top of the Morning' as TV Movie
UPDATED: Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto will executive produce via their Diga Vision banner, and are in negotiations with writers on the telepic about the rivalry between "Today" and "Good Morning America."
Brian Stelter’s Top of the Morning is getting the Lifetime treatment.
The female-skewing cable network is in early development on an original TV movie based on the morning news tome from the former New York Times writer. Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto will executive produce the telepic through their Diga Vision. The company currently is in negotiations with writers for the project.
The buzz-worthy book was published in April 2013, and met with mixed reviews. As part of the reporting process, Stelter, who recently moved to CNN as host of Reliable Sources, spent much of his time consumed by morning news coverage, with a heavy focus on Ann Curry’s short-lived stint as co-host of Today and the high-profile rivalry between Today and now top-rated Good Morning America.
Gateley and DiSanto decided an adaptation would be of appeal upon returning from the annual A&E producers offsite earlier this year. “We were looking at the success of Vikings and The Bible [on History], and knowing that Nancy Dubuc had taken over Lifetime not that long ago we thought what could be their big factual movie that’s big in pop culture now," says Gateley, who was reading the numerous GMA/Today news stories as well as Stelter's book at the time. The pair struck a deal with Stelter and brought Morning to Lifetime.
The producers say they have given little thought to casting, but hope that the film can have the same kind of cultural resonance as HBO’s hit telepic Game Change, also set in the recent past. What DiSanto and Gateley are adamant about is their respect for the morning show process as well as the product. “We're friends and colleagues with a lot of people involved in this world and our intention to sensationalize or slam anyone or place blame anywhere. It's more to tell a fair and illuminating story,” says DiSanto, with Gateley noting that Today is not only a personal favorite but also part of her daily routine.
Added Stelter in a statement provided to THR: "I’m thrilled Lifetime saw this story as an opportunity and personally can’t wait to see who is cast."
For Diga, the Morning adaptation marks a reunion at Lifetime, where the former MTV execs produced unscripted series My Life is a Lifetime Movie. Other projects from the three-year-old pop culture-focused production company include MTV’s Teen Wolf, Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life, History’s I Love the 1880s and an upcoming scripted adaptation of horror pic Scream at MTV.