How Surviving R. Kelly ended up on Lifetime
In late 2017, the docuseries was shopped to various networks, including all the "major black-audience-targeted channels, and received a mix of interest and hesitation," reports Dee Lockett. "I’m sure BET could’ve done it a million times if they wanted to. Instead, they booked him on their award shows," says executive producer dream hampton. The immediate difference with Lifetime, adds executive producer Jesse Daniels, was it “felt like they were all-in from the beginning.” Lifetime, though, had to come up with an angle to make the docuseries newsworthy. “The conversation then became, How do you make the strongest platform possible for these women?” says Lifetime executive Brie Bryant. “The idea was to make it a timeline doc and to start as early as possible so that we could factually lay out what happened and how it happened.” Daniels agreed: “In order to believe what’s happening now, we had to establish patterns that date back 30 years.” Surviving R. Kelly was originally envisioned as a 90-minute film, but it was expanded to six episodes after more than 50 people were interviewed.
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