2:30pm PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
R. Kelly Doc Series and TV Movie Greenlighted by Lifetime
The R. Kelly scandal is getting the Lifetime treatment.
The network has ordered a new documentary series as well as a feature-length movie aiming to tell the stories of women who have fallen under the toxic spell of the controversial R&B singer, whose alleged abuse of underage black women was detailed in a blockbuster exposé in BuzzFeed last year by music journalist Jim DeRogatis. The projects are part of Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign, which consists of programs that bring awareness to abusive behaviors.
In both projects, women are emerging from the shadows and uniting their voices to share their stories. Dream Hampton, a cultural critic, filmmaker and activist, will executive produce the series, while Emmy Award winner Ilene Kahn Power (Gia, Who Killed Clark Rockefeller) will serve as an exec producer on the movie. Barbara Marshall will write the film script.
The untitled doc series will investigate R. Kelly, celebrated as one of the greatest R&B singers of all time until his genre-defining career and playboy lifestyle became riddled with rumors of abuse, predatory behavior and pedophilia. For the first time ever, survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle are coming forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental and physical abuse.
The doc series and movie are executive produced by Joel Karsberg and Jesse Daniels of Kreativ Inc., which, as part of their production deal, is backed exclusively by Bunim/Murray Productions. In addition to Hampton, Brie Miranda Bryant from Lifetime is an exec producer on the doc series.
“What we’ve seen — in the last year in particular — is the tremendous power of women’s voices when given the opportunity to share their truth,” said Brie Miranda Bryant, senior vp unscripted development and programming at Lifetime. “But there are important stories still untold, stories of bravery, resilience and defiance that demand to be heard. This is one of those stories.”
“Lifetime has always been an incredible platform not only for storytelling, but also a catalyst to inspire action and change,” added Tanya Lopez, executive vp movies, limited series and original movie acquisitions at Lifetime. “Now more than ever, we have the responsibility to make sure women are heard and supported.”
“We’ve been working for over a year to bring forth the stories of these women,” said Karsberg, executive producer and CEO of Kreativ Inc. “We are proud to team with Lifetime to shed light on these stories as well as an industry that has looked the other way for so many years.”
“Some very brave black women have trusted us with their stories, their truth and their trauma,” added Hampton. “They are survivors and I’m honored to share their stories with the world.”