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Comedy About a Pregnancy Spices Up ABC Family

comedy-about-a-pregnancyBefore Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus and Hillary Duff took their turns as the Walt Disney Company’s reigning adolescent queen, Lindsay Lohan was charming children and their parents as the impish twins in Disney’s 1998 remake of “The Parent Trap” and as a blossoming rocker in 2003’s “Freaky Friday.”Once Ms. Lohan left Disney’s embrace, however, she quickly became every parent’s nightmare — car wrecks, rehab, cocaine possession and, infamously, 84 minutes in jail. Now, after three years of being seen more on tabloid covers than on movie posters, Ms. Lohan returns to the Disney family this month when her latest film, “Labor Pains,” has its premiere on the ABC Family cable channel.  ABC Family, the cable channel that was founded as the Family Channel by the evangelist Pat Robertson and that is contractually obligated to run his “700 Club” talk show in perpetuity, has been tarting up its image with series like “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” about a pregnant 15-year-old, and “Greek,” about the fraternity scene at a preppy college. It stepped up to buy television rights to “Labor Pains” from Nu Image/Millennium Films after the producers decided to take the project directly to television and then to DVD release. The film, which features Ms. Lohan as a publishing company secretary who feigns pregnancy to avoid being fired, was originally considered for theatrical release. But Ms. Lohan’s box-office potential has ebbed with the middling performance of her three most recent films — “Chapter 27,” “Georgia Rule” and “I Know Who Killed Me.” Tom Zappala, senior vice president for acquisitions at ABC Family, said that he saw an early script and felt that the romantic comedy “was a good match” for the cable channel.  “We felt like this is a movie we would have commissioned,” Mr. Zappala said, comparing it with the channel’s recent “Another Cinderella Story,” which starred Ms. Gomez. “We kept tabs on the production along the way,” he said. “She showed up on time and she knew her lines.” Asked if ABC Family, which will broadcast the movie at 8 p.m. on July 19, might see itself working with Ms. Lohan again, he replied: “We’re open to it, I think.”

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