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Human Interest

PEOPLE, Freeform Partner to Develop Empowering TV Movies

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PEOPLE magazine has locked down its next television venture!

EW’s sister publication is partnering with Freeform to develop scripted, original television movies featuring empowering human interest stories, the network announced Wednesday. Co-produced by Everywhere Studios, these movies will draw upon PEOPLE’s franchises like Heroes Among Us that tell stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

“It was a big pastime in Hollywood to go through the pages of PEOPLE magazine and tear out the stories and then go get the life rights to these people. So now we’re doing that ourselves,” says PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly Editorial Director Jess Cagle.

PEOPLE Deputy Editor Dan Wakeford adds, “Instead of sitting in meetings saying, ‘That would make a great movie,’ and letting somebody else make it, we’re going to start being involved in that process.”

The Time Inc. publication’s three big pillars are celebrity, crime, and human interest, and the first two have already found their place on the small screen. In the fall, the magazine teamed up with Investigation Discovery for People Magazine Investigates, and most recently, it collaborated with ABC News on the celebrity-focused limited series People Icons. This summer, PEOPLE is again joining forces with ABC for a Princess Diana primetime special.

With this Freeform multi-picture movie commitment, Cagle hopes to satisfy a demand for a certain kind of story. “We know that there’s a tremendous appetite for really compelling stories with a real emotional draw to them,” said Cagle, adding that these movies will remain true to the spirit of the magazine. “They’re entertaining. They’re empowering. They’re inspiring. They adhere to the values of the brand.”

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