Author's fingerprints all over Lifetime pact


Patricia Cornwell has inked a deal with Lifetime to adapt two of her crime novels — "At Risk" and the upcoming sequel, "The Front" — into movies, marking a first for the best-selling author.

Cornwell has worked in television before — she was a writer/ executive producer on ABC's short-lived 1999 series "ATF," which was not based on one of her novels — but the Lifetime movies will mark the first time any of her books will be adapted for the big or small screen.

"As we continuously reinvent our popular Lifetime original movies, we're expanding the genres and including more works by America's leading women writers," Lifetime senior vp original movies Tanya Lopez said. "Patricia Cornwell is in a class by herself."

"At Risk" originally appeared as a 15-week serialization in the New York Times Sunday Magazine in January 2006 before being released by G.P. Putnam's Sons in book form four months later. It revolves around Massachusetts state investigator Win Garano, a shrewd man with a chip on his shoulder; D.A. Monique Lamont, a hard-charging woman with powerful ambitions; and Garano's grandmother, who has certain unpredictable talents.

"The Front" is set to be released by Putnam on May 20.

Said Cornwell: "I am excited and honored by this new creative partnership with such an outstanding network and believe that together we can bring to life stories and characters unique to the crime-writing genre."

Cornwell will executive produce with Stanley M. Brooks and Jim Head of Once Upon a Time Films (LMN's "The Capture of the Green River Killer," AMC's "Broken Trail") and Russell Werdin and Lane Bishop of TwinStar Entertainment.

Lifetime has seen success with book adaptations. It most recently inked a deal to adapt four more Nora Roberts novels following the success of last year's quartet. Others include Joyce Carol Oates' "We Were the Mulvaneys"; Sue Monk Kidd's "The Mermaid Chair"; Kim Edwards' "The Memory Keeper's Daughter," which debuted Saturday; and Jodi Picoult's "The Tenth Circle," premiering June 28.

Cornwell is best known for her string of Kay Scarpetta novels, starting with her first crime book, 1990's "Postmortem." She also has written three novels featuring Andy Brazil; two cookbooks; a children's book; the nonfiction book "Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper — Case Closed"; and the biography "Ruth, a Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham."

ICM negotiated the deal on behalf of Cornwell.