Lifetime Strategic Opportunities - October 2008

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STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES

Five years after reaching the top of the cable ratings mountain, Lifetime finds itself in a rebuilding mode. Lifetime's programming strategy is now all about women having choices. To be able to lose themselves in sitcoms or find themselves via dramas. It's now all about women being portrayed as women whom they can connect with. Once the cable channel best known for its women in peril flicks, Lifetime has taken the dive into edgy comedies and upcoming tele-novela style melodramas.

ORIGINAL:

*Looking for reality competition shows, game shows, scripted dramas geared to 25-54 demo.
*Looking for new artists, writers, hosts, reality & scripted show pitches
*Looking for Digital/New Media Content

ACQUIRED:

Lifetime plans to produce, commission or buy a record 60 original movies in the next year.

PROGRAM SUBMISSION PROCESS:

The Lifetime Original Programming department is on the west coast, and all original programming ideas should be sent to that office. Finished acquisitions are sent to the east coast programming department. All materials must be submitted by an attorney, production company, or agent. They do not accept unsolicited materials. Lifetime does not accept pitches via e-mail.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Lifetime is teaming up again with Mandalay Television and Stephanie Germain Productions to deliver four new Lifetime original movies based on books by romance novelist Nora Roberts.  The first of the four productions, all slated for 2009

Lifetime is looking to push the boundaries and try different financial models.  They have moved away from the women-in-jeopardy movies that it had become associated with and are seeking a fresh approach to TV films for women.  They are looking to evolve the brand into a much more relevant, contemporary and optimistic place.  They are looking for films that also have global appeal.  The head of network Andrea Wong has been quoted as saying she would prefer to develop more long-term relationships with foreign broadcasters, distributors and producers. They are thinking about putting together a group of buyers that they could make a multipicture deal with.

Lifetime is set to premiere its first original primetime sitcom in more than a decade, RITA ROCKS. It will be paired with  REBA the former WB/CW comedy that has performed very well for the cabler.  Like so many other cable networks in record numbers are launching their own comedies out of sheer necessity because there are so few comedies being scheduled by the broadcast networks. Since the late 1990s, reality shows have steadily displaced comedies on the broadcast side, and many broadcast comedy writers have shifted to cable.

Pickup of BLUSH reflects the ramp-up of unscripted development at Lifetime as it preps for the arrival of its pricey PROJECT RUNWAY acquisition this fall.

Network officials expect Coco Chanel to be the latest in a successful run of original movies including the likes of The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which was Lifetime's most-watched original movie since 1995, and Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal, an original movie that premiered August 2nd garnered an average of more than 3 million viewer. (Multichannel news 8/5/08).

In a rare move for a cable network, Lifetime is looking to launch a daytime talk show, handing out a pilot order for a talker hosted by Carson Kressley.It is part of an effort by the female-centered cable net to add original programming during the day, when it currently airs mostly off-net sitcoms. The untitled talker, intended to air Monday-Friday, will feature the Kresley in both a studio and the field interviewing real people and offering viewers insight into fashion and other.

Lifetime is moving forward an original daytime talk show starring Carson Kressley.  The format is still TBD, but the plan is to focus not on celebrities, but rather some of the real people behind the celebrities.

Lifetime is on a roll.  With its original programming, and now picking up its first original sitcom in a decade (RITA ROCKS), they have also been ramping up their talent quotient with their original movies.

Lifetime viewers are loyal and passionate about the network's original films.  They are going in a direction where they can reinvigorate the movies and the brand.  They are re spending more for what's on the screen, and trying to work with the best talent that they can. In a few years, Lifetime has gone from making 60 original movies a year to 40.  The Channel is calling for at least six a year to become "red-carpet event movies."

Lifetime will continue to produce original movies, planning on pumping out about 40 new titles in the coming season, with the emphasis now is clearly on series development.  Positioning itself as the No. 1 destination for women for entertainment, escape and empowerment, Lifetime has unveiled its programming plans at is recent Upfront for 2008-2009. The network spoke about its diverse development slate, which includes original comedies, reality shows, movies and dramas.

Lifetime Television Monday boasted that it has hit shows in every programming genre for women, unveiling an upfront slate anchored by its reality acquisition PROJECT RUNWAY and the scripted hit drama ARMY WIVES.  Lifetime touted itself as the destination for women in terms of "entertainment, escape and empowerment."

Lifetime Television will become the first network to adapt author Patricia Cornwell's novels for television, with the network optioning her No. 1 New York Times bestseller At Risk and its sequel, The Front. Another notable project iis the Nora Roberts Franchise, and author Nora Roberts has four new movies slated in 2009 selected from six of her most popular book titles that will air on the Channel.  Lifetime continues to bring together the life stories and characters unique to the crime writing genre and continuously re-invent the popular Lifetime Original Movies, by expanding the genres and including more works by America's leading women writers.

Lifetime Networks has launched its second HDTV service, Lifetime Television HD, joining sister channel Lifetime Movie Network HD, which bowed last year.

Andrea Wong, CEO & President of Lifetime Networks is ready to move the network into a radical rethink of the flagship, moving away from the brand's shopworn women-in-jeopardy conceit in favor of a more contemporary, yougner skewing vibe.

Lifetime is fortunate to have a powerful brand foundation that enables them to utilize all media platforms to reach women. Their new creative campaign, embodies the new contemporary marketing direction which is designed to make the brand more vibrant and multi-generational to women everywhere from on-air to online.

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