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Lifetime is joining the JonBenet Ramsey craze.
The female-skewing cable network announced Wednesday that it has set TV movie Who Killed JonBenet? starring Eion Bailey as the detective who originally investigated the case.
Starting with the 911 call and investigation led by Detective Steve Thomas (Bailey), Who Killed JonBenét? will examine what happened in December 1996, when Ramsey (Payton Lepinski) was found beaten and strangled in the family’s basement. The film also will explore new information and offer what Lifetime calls a fresh look at the case and theories surrounding the unsolved slaying.
Michel Gill (Mr. Robot) and Julia Campbell (Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion) will star as John and Patsy Ramsey. The movie is set to premiere in the fall.
Who Killed JonBenet? is produced by EveryWhere Studios and Brightlights. Julia Eisenman (Lies & Alibis), Tom Mazza (My Sweet Audrina), Anne Carlucci (Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story), Shawn Williamson (Wayward Pines) and Jamie Goehring (Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart) executive produce. Jason Lapeyre (Restless Virgins) directs from a script written by Brian L. Ross (Love by Chance).
The TV movie comes as the 20th anniversary of the former child beauty queen’s death is rapidly approaching. CBS is set to examine the case in the fall, with its limited docuseries helping to open the network’s new broadcast season. Investigation Discovery also is taking on the unsolved case with a three-night series due in September, and the feature film Casting JonBenet also is in the works.
Ramsey was found slain in her Boulder, Colo., home in 1996. Police found her body in the basement of the family’s home eight hours after she had been reported missing. The 6-year-old was found struck on the head and strangled. Colorado officials initially suspected Ramsey’s parents and her older brother of being involved in her death; the family was partially exonerated in 2003 when DNA taken from the victim’s clothing suggested they were not involved. Her parents were completely cleared in July 2008. A year later, the Boulder Police Department took the case back from the D.A. and reopened the investigation. After several grand jury hearings, Ramsey‘s slaying remains unsolved.
True-crime fare continues to be in high demand on broadcast, cable and streaming services following the recent success of HBO’s The Jinx, Netflix’s Making a Murderer and FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Multiple outlets are exploring other crime stories in both the docuseries and scripted formats.
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