The upcoming Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will certainly be an attractive event for live-programming, but Lifetime is getting into the game with a special event called “Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance”.
The network confirmed the casting for the special, with Parisa Fitz-Henley (Jessica Jones) and Murray Fraser (The Loch) taking the title roles for the Lifetime Original. Chronicling the courtship and love story between a beloved prince and his new fiancée, the film will examine the history of Prince Harry (Fraser) and Meghan Markle (Fitz-Henley) from the moment they met after being set up by friends, through their initial courtship when they were able to keep their romance under wraps, and ultimately the intense global media attention surrounding their relationship and Meghan’s life as a divorced American actress.
Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance is executive produced by Merideth Finn and Michele Weiss. Menhaj Huda directs from a script by Scarlett Lacey and Terrence Coli. Production begins later this week in Vancouver and Los Angeles and will debut this spring on Lifetime.
Lifetime has been on a roll recently with original programming. One of the more popular series on the market right now is the critically acclaimed “UnREAL,” along with long-running favorites like “Project Runway,” “Dance Moms,” and “Bring It!”. In 2015, Lifetime launched Broad Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers to make its content which totals over 450 original hours.
Lifetime’s recent release, “Faith Under Fire,” ranked as the #1 original movie on cable for 2018 to date following its premiere on January 27 among the key Adults 25-54, Adults 18-49 and Women 18-49 demos in Live+3, according to Nielsen Media Research. Lifetime currently has the top 2 original movies on cable for 2018 to date with Adults 18-49 with Faith Under Fire and Cocaine Godmother starring Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Starring seven-time Grammy Award winner Toni Braxton, Faith Under Fire also dominated Saturday night among Women 25-54, ranking as the #1 program across all of cable in the demo, and garnered 2.4 million Total Viewers in Live+3. Since its premiere, Faith Under Fire and the subsequent special Bio Presents: Antoinette Tuff Story have reached more than 8.0 million total viewers.
Additionally, the Faith Under Fire premiere was #1 in social interactions for new primetime cable shows on January 27, according to Nielsen Social Content Ratings (excluding sports, news and specials). The movie also trended in the top three on Twitter across the United States.
In Faith Under Fire, Braxton stars as Antoinette Tuff, a struggling single mom from Georgia who heroically averted a tragedy, saving hundreds of lives when she convinced a deranged gunman who stormed an elementary school to surrender. On August 20, 2013, shortly after arriving to work at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, Antoinette the school’s bookkeeper, was in the front office when Michael Hill (Trevor Morgan, Abducted), a young man with a history of mental illness, snuck in, armed with an AK-47 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. As the school went into lockdown, Antoinette was left alone with Michael, who repeatedly threatened to kill everyone. Showing enormous courage and empathy, along with nerves of steel, Antoinette convinced Michael to surrender by using her own life struggles to connect with him. Antoinette’s faith in God guided her through the toughest moments of her life, ultimately preparing her for that fateful day. The film also stars Yaya DaCosta (Whitney) as 911 operator Kendra and Malik Yoba (Empire) as Sergeant Franklin. Antoinette Tuff’s son Derrick, who was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, is portrayed in the film by Shalaby Omar (Doubt), a young actor with Spina Bifida.