LOS ANGELES, CA (January 9, 2013) – Lifetime will celebrate Black History Month in February with an impressive trio of world premiere movies featuring major award-winning casts, including Betty & Coretta, starring Golden Globe® Award-winner and Academy Award®-nominee Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do with It?) and starring and executive produced by nine-time Grammy®-winning recording artist Mary J. Blige; Twist of Faith, with six-time Grammy-winner Toni Braxton (Braxton Family Values), Mykelti Williamson (Justified) and David Julian Hirsh (Weeds); and Pastor Brown, featuring Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Eureka), Keith David (ER), Ernie Hudson (Oz), Tisha Campbell-Martin (My Wife and Kids), Nicole Ari Parker (The Deep End), Rockmond Dunbar (Sons of Anarchy) and Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights).
Betty & Coretta tells the dual real-life stories of Coretta Scott King (Bassett) and Dr. Betty Shabazz (Blige), wives respectively of Dr. Martin Luther King (Malik Yoba, New York Undercover) and Malcolm X (Lindsay Owen Pierre, The Killing Yard), as they create an unbreakable life-long bond after their husbands’ tragic assassinations. Kicking off Lifetime’s Black History Month celebration, Betty & Coretta will premiere Saturday, February 2, at 8:00pm ET/PT.
Twist of Faith, an interfaith love story about a single Christian mother (Braxton) and an Orthodox Jewish widower (Hirsh), whose mutual passion for music and singing draws them together, will premiere Saturday, February 9, at 8:00pm ET/PT.
Pastor Brown, which follows a young woman (Richardson-Whitfield) who returns home to take over as pastor of the family church after her father’s (David) death and is forced to face her sordid past and mend fences with her son (Jordan) and sister (Parker), will premiere Saturday, February 16, at 8:00pm ET/PT.
The premieres of Betty & Coretta, Twist of Faith and Pastor Brown come on the heels of Lifetime receiving ten NAACP Image Award nominations, more than any other basic cable network, for Steel Magnolias, 2012’s number one cable movie telecast among key demographics (excluding miniseries), and Abducted: The Carlina White Story, which averaged more than 4 million Total Viewers. The network’s nominees include Steel Magnolias and Abducted: The Carlina White Story for Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special; Steel Magnolias’ Alfre Woodard, Jill Scott, Phylicia Rashad and Queen Latifah, as well as Keke Palmer of Abducted:
The Carlina White Story, for Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special; Tory Kittles and Afemo Omilami of Steel Magnolias for Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special; and Elizabeth Hunter (Abducted: The Carlina White Story) for Writing in a Motion Picture – (Theatrical or Television).
ABOUT BETTY & CORETTA
Focusing on the extraordinary women behind the two men who would change history, Betty & Coretta tells the similar true stories of Coretta Scott King (Bassett), wife of Dr. Martin Luther King (Yoba) and Dr. Betty Shabazz (Blige), wife of Malcolm X (Pierre). When their husbands were tragically assassinated, these two women not only inherited the mantle of the civil rights movement in America, each also found herself to be a single mother who had to find a way to raise and support her children with no husband or father, resulting in a relationship like no other that spanned more than three decades. Betty & Coretta is executive produced by Larry Sanitsky (Lifetime’s America), Mary J. Blige, Kendu Isaacs, Jaha Johnson and Polly Anthony (Archie’s Final Project). Yves Simoneau (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee) directed from a teleplay by Shem Bitterman (Halloween 5) and Ron Hutchinson (The Josephine Baker Story). Story by Ron Hutchinson and Shem Bitterman.
ABOUT TWIST OF FAITH
In Twist of Faith, Jacob Fisher (Hirsh), an Orthodox Jewish Cantor and amateur songwriter who resides in Brooklyn, New York, witnesses the senseless murder of his wife and three children. Catatonic, Jacob walks out on his Jewish mourning ritual, leaving behind his Jewish garments, wallet and keys. Abandoning his identity, he wanders aimlessly, hoping somehow to understand his tragedy. Fortuitously, he lands in Brent, Alabama (population 2,500), where he is embraced by Nina (Braxton), a single mother and the lead singer of a small gospel choir (an unlikely finalist in the competition to determine the best gospel choir in Alabama), her Uncle Moe (Williamson) and their gospel community who help his return to life while music brings Nina and Jacob together as they try to make sense of his past and their possible future. Twist of Faith is produced by Lighthouse Pictures. Daniel H. Blatt (Wisegal), Craig Baumgarten (Shattered Glass) and Andrew Howard serve as executive producers. Paul A. Kaufman (Sins of the Mother) directs from a script written by Joyce Gittlin (Wings), Janet Fattal and Stephen Tolkin (Brothers & Sisters).
ABOUT PASTOR BROWN
In Pastor Brown, a wayward preacher’s daughter, Jessica “Jesse” Brown (Richardson-Whitfield), returns home for the first time in more than a decade after her father (David) falls terminally ill. Her father’s dying wish – that Jesse take over as head of the Mount Olive Baptist Church – turns her and her family’s lives upside down. Jesse reluctantly undertakes her father’s commission, thereby pitting herself against her sister (Parker) and the leadership of Mount Olive Church who know of her sordid past. Through accepting her father’s request, Jesse embarks upon a path that will change her life when she reconnects with her family and estranged teenage son (Jordan) and finds the dignity and self-love she lost long ago. Dunbar (Sons of Anarchy) also stars as Amir Rahim, alongside Campbell-Martin as Amanda Carlton, Hudson as Deacon Harold Todd, Tasha Smith as Angelique Todd and Michael Beach as Rev. Avery Callaghan. Pastor Brown was produced by Rock Capital Films with Shaun Livingston (Next Day Air) and Charles Oakley serving as executive producers. Producers are Re’Shaun Frear (Dirty Laundry), Dunbar and Carol Ann Shine (Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom), with a script by Rhonda F. Baraka (Trinity Goodheart). The film is the directorial debut for Dunbar.
Lifetime is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. In 2012, as a result of its aggressive triple threat programming strategy doubling its amount of original programming spanning scripted dramas, reality series and movies, Lifetime posted its strongest year-on-year growth among the key demographics in 10+ years, while also reaching its youngest median age in 16 years. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.