Carlton America, the Los Angeles-based TV arm of Carlton International, is to produce a feature-length TV biopic about former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for US cable channel USA Networks.

Rudy's Wars stars James Woods and will tell the story of the rise, fall and resurrection of Giuliani, lately feted as a hero in the US for his leadership following the September 11 attacks on New York City.

The film, currently in pre-production, starts shooting later this autumn for delivery early next year. Montreal will double for New York, but some sequences will be shot in the city itself.

Robert Dornhelm will direct the film, which also stars Penelope Ann Miller. The UK's JAM Pictures will receive a producer's credit.

The move underlines Carlton's commitment to large-scale TV features which tap into theatrical talent: the company produces between 12 to 15 TV movies per year, with average budgets of between $3.7m and $3.8m. Recent productions have featured stars such as Rosanna Arquette and Alec Baldwin.

"The same goes behind the camera," Stephen J Davis, president and chief executive officer of Carlton America, told Screendaily on the first day of TV programmes market MIPCOM in Cannes. "We look for writers and directors from a theatrical background that can give you something else on screen."

Carlton International has output deals in around 50%-60% of territories, handling distribution itself for remaining territories.

According to Davis, the TV industry's current malaise is not hitting TV movies quite so hard as other types of programming. "TV movies have remained the bellwether through such a cyclical business - they are easy to schedule, and aren't as big a risk as series," said Davis. "We like to be thought of as a company that you can come to for a variety of product."