Original movies back at ABC with fall pair


After taking a break from original movies last season, ABC is bringing back the genre with two high-profile projects next season.

The network has set premiere dates for "Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day," which will air Dec. 9, and Sean Combs, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's adaptation of the play "A Raisin In the Sun," which will air Feb. 25, the night after the network's live broadcast of the 80th Annual Academy Awards.

"Sun," an adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's play about a family living and struggling on Chicago's South Side in the 1950s, features the primary cast of the play's Broadway revival, led by Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald and Sanaa Lathan, along with "ER" star John Stamos.

Kenny Leon, who staged the play on Broadway, is directing "Sun," which was adapted by Paris Qualles.

Zadan and Meron's Storyline Entertainment, Combs' Bad Boy World Wide Entertainment Group and Sony Pictures TV are producing the movie, which is exec produced by Zadan, Meron, Combs and the show's Broadway producers, Carl Rumbaugh, Susan Batson and David Binder.

While "Sun" had been in the works for a while, postproduction on the movie didn't wrap until this summer, said Meron, who noted that the post-Oscars slot "demonstrates the support of the network" to the project.

"For One More Day," from Harpo Prods., stars Michael Imperioli and Ellen Burstyn. Based on Albom's best-selling book, it centers on a broken-down former baseball player (Imperioli) on the verge of a suicide who gets to spend one more day with his departed mother (Burstyn).

Samantha Mathis, Scott Cohen and Imperioli's son Vadim also star in the film, written by Albom and directed by Lloyd Kramer. Winfrey and Kate Forte are the executive producers.

It is believed 2006-07 was the first broadcast season that ABC didn't air an original movie or miniseries. Its most recent longform project, the miniseries "The Path to 9/11," aired around the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, a week before the official start of the 2006-07 season.