Available on American basic cable, the Lifetime movie channel focuses on women-oriented movies and explores a number of genres, including comedy, drama and suspense. While select theatrical releases are included, the network mainly features made-for-television movies - many of which are "Lifetime Originals."
A Spinoff: The Lifetime Movie Channel
Since its launch in 1998, the Lifetime movie channel has grown to become the second-largest women's channel on basic cable, trailing only sister network, Lifetime Television. As of 2009, its viewership has reached 70 million subscribers.
Known officially as the Lifetime Movie Network (LMN), Lifetime's exclusive movie channel is part of the larger Lifetime Networks - a 50-50 joint venture between Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company. Debuting in 1984, this network aims to provide entertainment and information programming for women, "advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families." Today, Lifetime Networks includes:
- Lifetime Television (HD, On Demand)
- Lifetime Movie Network (HD, On Demand)
- Lifetime Real Women
- Lifetime Digital
- Lifetime Movie Network Español On Demand
Second to Launch
In the summer of 1998, the Lifetime Movie Network made its premiere. A spinoff based on the success of Lifetime Television, LMN was meant to rival other movie channels, but with a specific niche in mind: Women. Indeed, from comedy to romance to mystery, LMN's movies were to be for and about women. All movies would feature a female perspective.
In its infancy, Lifetime Movie Network aired movies from Lifetime's library of miniseries and made-for-television movies. At the start, most of the titles were purchased from other channels. For example, The Burning Bed originally aired on NBC in 1984, but found a new home on Lifetime. Yet there was always a plan to expand its "Lifetime Originals" and over the years, the number of new Lifetime movies has grown considerably. In 2009 alone, a total of 16 original Lifetime movies were slated to premiere.
In addition, Lifetime also airs select theatrical releases and indie acquisitions, such as 40 Days and 40 Nights, A League of Their Own, and The Silence of the Lambs. Being a 24/7 network, it's not surprising that LMN found the best formula to be one based on variety. Browsing Lifetime's titles reveals that its movies fall into seven main categories:
What's more, many of the network's most successful movies are based on true stories, such as 2003's Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story and 2009's Natalee Holloway, which gave the network its highest ratings ever.
The Natalee Holloway Movie
On April 19, 2009, Natalee Holloway premiered on Lifetime Movie Network and subsequently broke the channel's ratings record, garnering 3.2 million viewers. The telepic also won in demographics, with 1.04 million in the category of women 18-49. The rating was up an impressive 56 percent from the previous record-holder, 2008's Capture of the Green River Killer, which attracted 594,000 viewers for the same category.
The success of Natalee Holloway was further proof of Lifetime Movie Network's continued growth and reach. Only 11 years after its debut, the network has secured the number-two spot for female networks, in terms of both Primetime and Total Day viewers. As of 2008, the network also had a viewership that was 1.5 times that of Bravo, Oxygen, E!, and TLC. It had more than double the viewers of WE and Style.
For the Lifetime Audience
Now fans of Lifetime movies can even purchase their favorites. Available on iTunes and DVD, many of Lifetime Movie Network's most popular titles are available to buy, a development resulting from Lifetime Network's move into the digital realm. There is also a budding LMN community for discussion and Q&A, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace homes. To keep up with Lifetime Movie Network, check out these online destinations: