How Lifetime’s Clark Sisters Biopic Forged Ahead Amid Coronavirus: ‘The Buzz Has Been Very Rewarding

“God’s timing is perfect,” Dr. Holly Carter says of the 15-year journey that finally brought her passion project to fruition, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel. Even when the biopic’s entire publicity program, pre-broadcast premiere and press tour were canceled just three weeks shy of its Lifetime TV premiere (Saturday at 8 p.m.) owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had a robust plan prepared, from church screenings across the country to press, television and performance opportunities,” recalls an upbeat Carter, who helms Los Angeles-based Relevé Entertainment. “Then all of a sudden, one by one, everything just cancel ed. So we shifted to a robust, aggressive digital and social media blitz.”

The blitz includes a virtual countdown to the evening of the biopic’s premiere, hosted by gospel stars Erica Campbell on Instagram Live and Kirk Franklin on Facebook Live. Also on Facebook Live, Hollywood producer/author Devon Franklin will emcee a virtual red carpet, while artist Michelle Williams will host an IG Live from the Lifetime platform. In the run-up to Saturday’s premiere, IG Live segments have featured the film’s music director and fellow gospel star Donald Lawrence as well as the five Clark Sisters, in tandem with the actresses who portrayed them. Earlier this week (April 7), Mary J. Blige, one of the film’s executive producers alongside Carter, appeared on Good Morning America to further spread the word.

“So far,” says Carter, “the buzz has been very rewarding.”