A television movie (also "TV movie", "TV-movie", "made-for-TV movie", etc.) is a photoplay that does not normally feature in movie theaters but is produced for, and released to, television only. It is commonly considered a type of movie, but some people restrict the latter term to those that do play in cinemas.
Today, with the advent of cable television, TV movies tend to be inexpensively produced and often feature B-actors or stars whose career is in decline. They are typically made by smaller crews and they rarely feature expensive special effects. Some TV movies are notoriously melodramatic, with soap opera style plots; typical plots associated with the genre include "disease of the week" movies, or films about domestic violence. The series of Moment of Truth Movies that run on the Lifetime cable network exemplify these melodramatic tendencies. Certain actresses, such as Valerie Bertinelli and Michele Lee, have been stereotyped as TV-movie actresses due to the number of films in which they have appeared.
Often a successful series may spawn a TV movie sequel after ending its run, and TV movies may also be used as the first episode of a series, otherwise known as a pilot.
TV movies are often broadcast on major networks during sweeps season, or on cable networks that specialize in producing them such as HBO.
A television movie (also known as a TV movie, TV-movie, feature-length drama, made-for-TV movie, movie-of-the-week (MOTW), single drama, telemovie, telefilm, or two-hour-long drama) is a film that is produced for and originally distributed by a television network.
Despite their promise to compete with theatrical films, network-made TV movies in the USA have tended to be inexpensively-produced and low quality.
Today the advent of cable television has served to increase the number of venues for the broadcast of TV movies as well as their form.
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