Lifetime Renews 'Army Wives,' Greenlights Jenny Bicks Drama Pilot

11:41 AM PST 05/03/2011 by Philiana Ng
Lifetime
"Army Wives"

New dramas "The Protector" and "Against the Wall" set for summer premieres; the cable network picks up 11 unscripted series, including "Project Runway All-Stars."

Lifetime has announced its programming slate for the 2011-12 television season, including two new scripted dramas and nearly a dozen unscripted pickups.

Additionally, Lifetime is planning 24 new original movies for the channel and Lifetime Movie Network, including Nora Roberts' Carnal Innocence, Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story and two action films from The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Ann Hurd.

"We have made great strides over the last year shaping our programming strategy to partner with proven producers and talent on quality dramas, reality series and movies," Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager of Lifetime Networks said in a statement. "This diverse slate built upon great stories and characters is the right mix of bold, confident and relevant programming viewers can expect from Lifetime."

Veteran drama Army Wives, the top cable drama in the women 18-49 demographic and currently averaging 3.7 million viewers for Season 5, will return for a 13-episode sixth season. Summer series Drop Dead Diva returns Sunday, June 19 for its third season. On the reality competition side, Project Runway will launch its ninth season this summer.

In an effort to ramp up its scripted fare, Lifetime has greenlighted drama pilot Modern Love, from The Big C executive producer Jenny Bicks, revolving around newspaper science editor Simon McElvane as he faces a deteriorating marriage and balancing his relationship with his adopted teenage daughter. Bicks will executive produce the Sony TV/BermanBraun project with Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun, Gene Stein and Alan Poul.

New dramas The Protector (formerly Exit 19), starring Ally Walker and Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Against the Wall, with Treat Williams, Rachael Carpani and Kathy Baker, will premiere this summer. The Protector centers on a divorced mother (Walker) who juggles her personal and professional life as an L.A.P.D. homicide detective while raising two boys with the help of troubled young brother Davey (Chris Payne Gilbert). Against the Wall follows a Chicago police detective (Carpani) who causes a rift when she joins the Internal Affairs division. 

THR broke the news that Jersey Shore producer SallyAnn Salsano's latest reality effort, Love Handles, would launch on Lifetime. Joining the program are the following:

Vanished With Beth Holloway, a one-hour docu-reality program hosted by Beth Holloway launches its 10-episode season Monday, May 9, explores true mysteries of families who have been victimized by unsolved abductions, disappearances and unspeakable crimes. Brighton Beach follows women and men who live, love and work in the Brooklyn neighborhood, home to the Russian-American community. The Conversation, hosted by Amanda de Cadenet and exec produced by Demi Moore, gives a modern take on celebrity interviews as de Cadenet interviews the world's most famous women.

Dance Moms follows the world of competitive dance where overbearing mothers push their daughters to the brink while living out their own dreams through their young performers. The Day That Changed My Life, through in-depth interviews and re-enactments, features true stories of ordinary people whose lives took unexpected turns following specific incidents.

Project Runway All-Stars will showcase talented and memorable past contestants from the series who will compete once again in a series of challenges. Project Accessory will follow aspiring artists put to the test to create the newest and hottest trends in accessories as they compete for a grand prize.

Roseanne's Nuts marks Roseanne Barr's return to TV as she manages a fully-functional 40-acre macadamia and live-stock farm in Hawaii with her boyfriend and son. To Live & Buy follows best friends and interior designers Tracy Hutson and Tanya McQueen as they travel across the U.S. to find relics to restore and transform for their L.A. home decor store. The Tracey Gold Project (working title) will follow Gold as she helps women overcome major eating disorders.

Lifetime will air Project Five, an anthology of five short films featuring directing turns by Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Moore and Patty Jenkins. Cast members include Jeanne Tripplehorn, Patricia Clarkson, Rosario Dawson, Jenifer Lewis, Kathy Najimy, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tony Shalhoub and Jeffrey Tambor.

Telepics scheduled to premiere are: Justice for Natalee Holloway (May 9); from Hurd, action film Last Man Standing with Catherine Bell (June 6); Nora Roberts' Carnal Innocence (June 13); and Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story (July 18). 

Other TV movies slated include: The Hunt for the I-5 Killer with John Corbett and Sara Canning; Gone; Malibu Heist Club; the biopic of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Elizabeth & Richard: A Love Story; The Bling Ring; Girl Fight; Murder in the House; Jodi Picoult's Salem Falls; Mommy's Little Girl; and The Pastor's Wife.

This comes one year after Dubuc took over as president of Lifetime.

Email: philiana.ng@thr.com

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