After the recent success of The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story, which reached over two million total viewers when it debuted this past February, Lifetime reteams with Elizabeth Smart to executive produce the network’s authorized Ripped from the Headlines movie Abducted by My Teacher: The Elizabeth Thomas Story,. Based on the true story of Elizabeth Thomas, the movie stars Michael Fishman (Roseanne) and Summer Howell (Harland Manor) and is the harrowing account of a young girl whose kidnapping by a trusted teacher captivated the country and led to a nationwide manhunt.
Abducted by My Teacher: The Elizabeth Thomas Story Elizabeth Thomas (Howell) was just a 15-year-old high schooler who wanted to make friends when she caught the eye of Tad Cummins (Fishman), a trusted, beloved and married high school teacher. Making her feel safe and loved, he groomed Elizabeth for months, and ultimately coerced her to go on the run with him after another student reported seeing him kiss Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s abduction set off a nationwide manhunt and her over month-long ordeal came to an end when the pair was discovered in northern California and Cummins was arrested. After enduring sexual abuse at the hands of Cummins, Elizabeth was left to face those in her home town who thought that she was responsible for her own kidnapping. Ultimately, Elizabeth bravely stood up in court and helped send the teacher she once trusted to prison.
Smart continues her relationship with Lifetime after executive producing the films The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story and I Am Elizabeth Smart, as well as the doc specials Elizabeth Smart: Finding Justice and Smart Justice: The Jayme Closs Case.
Beyond the Headlines: The Elizabeth Thomas Story with Elizabeth Smart. In the one-hour special executive produced by Elizabeth Smart, Elizabeth Thomas sits down for her first interview in five years, providing intimate and revealing details about her ordeal which has been extremely isolating and confusing. The topic of grooming continues to be widely misunderstood and Elizabeth Thomas’ revelations provide rare insight into the experience of survivors. Elizabeth Smart, who intimately understands the personal trauma and fallout experienced by survivors travels to Tennessee to meet Elizabeth Thomas, hear her story and share their common experiences.
Abducted by My Teacher: The Elizabeth Thomas Story is executive produced by Joseph Freed and Allison Berkley of Marwar Junction Productions, Howard Braunstein and Elizabeth Smart. The film is produced by Juliette Hagopian of ET MB Films Inc. Shawn Linden directs from a script written by Kristine Huntley.
Beyond the Headlines: The Elizabeth Thomas Story with Elizabeth Smart is produced by Marwar Junction Productions. Executive producers are Allison Berkley and Joseph Freed from Marwar Junction, Elizabeth Smart and Leane Vandeman. Amy Winter and Nicole Vogel are executive producers for Lifetime.
Abducted by My Teacher: The Elizabeth Thomas Story, premiering Saturday, August 12 at 8p/7c. Following the movie at 10p/9c, Lifetime will air the doc special Beyond the Headlines: The Elizabeth Thomas Story with Elizabeth Smart.