“Get Out” Writer/Director Jordan Peele Signs 1st-Look Deal With Sonar Entertainment

Jordan Peele (photo via Variety.com)

article by Oriana Schwindt via Variety.com

Jordan Peele has just signed a first-look deal with Sonar Entertainment for his production company, Monkeypaw Productions. The agreement encompasses all content for television, including digital. The news comes just ahead of the premiere of Peele’s feature directorial debut with horror film “Get Out,” which is already earning rave reviews.

Peele and Keegan-Michael Key created and performed in the Emmy-winning sketch series “Key & Peele,” which concluded a five-season run on Comedy Central in 2015. “Jordan Peele is one of the brightest stars in our business — a true hyphenate — actor, writer, producer and director. We are excited to partner with him and Monkeypaw,” said Sonar CEO Thomas Lesinski.

“I am thrilled to partner with the incredible folks at Sonar Entertainment as they are committed to truly elevated quality content. Especially now as I move into this next chapter in television, my aim is to help develop untapped voices as well as my own dream shows, and continue to push the boundaries of television,” Peele said.

Monkeypaw Productions was founded by Peele in 2012.  In TV, Monkeypaw produced “Key & Peele” and is also behind Tracy Morgan’s TBS comedy series, which is set for production later this year.

To read more, go to: Jordan Peele Inks First-Look Deal With Sonar Entertainment | Variety

Mara Brock Akil & Salim Akil’s DC Comics Drama ‘Black Lightning’ Gets Pilot Pickup at CW

“Black Lightning” via DC Comics

article via eurweb.com

Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil (photo via eurweb.com)

DC Comics drama “Black Lightning,” from executive producers Mara Brock Akil and husband/producing partner, Salim Akil (“Girlfriends,” “The Game,” “Being Mary Jane”) has moved from Fox to The CW with a formal pilot order, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Greg Berlanti, who produces several other DC properties for the CW (“Supergirl”, “The Flash”, “Arrow”) is also executive producing the project.

“Black Lightning” was one of DC Comics’ first major African-American superheroes when it debuted in 1977 from creators Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden. Should the drama move to series, it would be one of the first broadcast shows to feature an African-American superhero as its lead, joining Netflix drama “Luke Cage,” which hails from Marvel Comics.

The hourlong drama will center on Jefferson Pierce, who hung up his suit and his secret identity years ago. However, with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.

“Black Lightning” marks the first pilot pickup to come from the Akils’ overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. It was originally set up at Fox in September following a multiple-network bidding war.

Source: Mara Brock Akil & Salim Akil’s DC Comics Drama ‘Black Lightning’ Lands at CW | EURweb

Jalen Rose ABC Comedy Pilot Casts TV Vets Anna Maria Horsford, Marla Gibbs

Anna Maria Horsford (l); Marla Gibbs (r) [photos via Variety.com]

article by  via Variety.com

NBA star and ESPN host Jalen Rose has cast his mother and grandmother for his ABC comedy pilot, Variety has learned.  Anna Maria Horsford and Marla Gibbs have signed on to play Rose’s mother and grandmother, respectively, in Rose’s single camera comedy “Jalen vs. Everybody.”

The half-hour follows Rose as he juggles his career responsibilities with the challenges of being a single dad. The project hails from the team behind ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat.” Nahnatchka Khan wrote the pilot and will executive produce with Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar, and Mandy Summers. Aside from starring, Rose will also serve as a producer.

Horsford has a career rich in both comedy and drama, from long roles on FX’s “The Shield” to even lengthier stints starring with Sherman Hemsley in the NBC comedy “Amen” and also in the WB’s “The Wayans Bros.” Gibbs, of course, was a 1980s sitcom staple with “The Jeffersons” and “227.”

To read full article, go to: Jalen Rose ABC Comedy Pilot Casts Anna Maria Horsford, Marla Gibbs | Variety

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Inspiring Stories of African Americans to Air on Disney Channel this February

article via ShadowAndAct.com

To cultivate kids’ deeper interest in history and inspire them to feel their own significance in the present and future, stories about distinguished men and women including the Tuskegee Airmen Chief Civilian flight instructor Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson, the history-making commercial airline pilot Stephanie R. Grant, animator and Disney legend Floyd Norman, and physician, role model and activist Dr. Myiesha Taylor, will be presented as part of Disney|ABC Television Group’s “Be Inspired” interstitial series during Black History Month on Disney Channel, Disney 😄 and Disney Junior.

Paul DeBenedittis, senior vice president, Programming Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “As television programmers, we work every day to better serve our kid viewers by reflecting the diverse and varied world they live in, and our ‘Be Inspired’ programming is designed to give them access to stories that can spark their deeper exploration into the rich and celebrated history of African Americans.”

The initiative begins with the story of acclaimed African-American pilot Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson Sr., known as the “Father of Black Aviation” for his brave and innovative leadership as Chief Civilian Flight Instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen. The story, hosted by Nathaniel Potvin (Disney XD’s “MECH-X4”), originates from the non-profit Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton, California, and includes the museum’s founder and executive director Robin Petgrave, Ted Lumpkin of the Tuskegee Airmen 100th Fighter Squadron, and Kimberly Anyadike, the youngest African-American female to pilot an airplane across the United States. Geared toward kids age 6-14, the interstitial began airing Weds, Feb 1, on Disney Channel and Disney XD.

For younger viewers (age 2-7), Doc McStuffins, the title character from the acclaimed animated series, introduces notable women and men in a series of interstitials to be presented on Disney Junior. They are Stephanie R. Grant, a pilot who led the first all-female African-American flight crew to operate a commercial airliner; Disney legend Floyd Norman, one of the first African-American animators at Walt Disney Studios during the 1950s; and Dr. Myiesha Taylor, an emergency doctor and founder of the Artemis Medical Society, an organization comprised of over 4700 women physicians of color from around the world. Disney Junior and Disney Channel will debut the interstitials beginning Weds, Feb, 8.

To read more, go to: Inspiring Stories of Distinguished African Americans to be Presented During Black History Month on Disney Channels – Shadow and Act

Black Television News Channel to Launch in Top 25 African American TV Markets Via Charter Communications

black television news channel, charter communications

BTNC Founder J.C. Watts, Jr. (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Billie1225 via eurweb.com

Black Television News Channel (BTNC), the nation’s only African American news network, is announcing a multi-year carriage agreement with Charter Communications, a leading broadband communications company and the second largest cable operator in the United States.

Under the agreement, Charter Communications will launch BTNC to Spectrum TV subscribers in 14 of the top 25 African American TV markets.  These markets include New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Detroit, Boston, Tampa, Orlando, Cleveland, Charlotte, Birmingham, Norfolk, Raleigh-Durham, and New Orleans. BTNC now has carriage agreements with three of the four major subscription television providers.

Black Television News Channel

BTNC’s network operations center will be located on Florida A&M University’s campus in Tallahassee, Florida. The network operation center will be the first 4K ultra HD newsgathering and production infrastructure of its kind and will include a multimillion-dollar media training center for aspiring young black journalists.

BTNC’s news programming will employ a multi-platform approach that uses traditional linear cable and satellite service for television viewing while also introducing enhanced television services, social media applications, and e-commerce features.  BTNC is expected to create more than 100 new jobs in its host city.

BTNC is the endeavor of J.C. Watts, Jr., former congressman from Oklahoma and broadcast and cable news veteran. BTNC’s programming mission is to provide intelligent programming that will inform, educate, inspire, and empower its African American audience.

To read full article, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2017/02/black-television-news-channel-announces-agreement-with-charter-communications/

Oprah Winfrey to Join CBS’ “60 Minutes” as Contributor

Oprah Winfrey (photo via variety.com)

article by Brian Sternberg via Variety.com

Oprah Winfrey, the inspirational talk-show host, TV executive, billionaire and interviewer, will join CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” in the fall, the network announced Tuesday.

“Her body of work is extraordinary, including thousands of interviews with people from all walks of life. She is a remarkable and talented woman with a level of integrity that sets her apart and makes her a perfect fit for ’60 Minutes,’” said Jeff Fager, the program’s executive producer, in a prepared statement. “I am thrilled that she will be bringing her unique and powerful voice to our broadcast.”

Winfrey has a longstanding and unique relationship with CBS. The company agreed red on 1999 to purchase King World Productions, a syndicated-TV powerhouse that launched Winfrey’s famous and durable talk show. At the time, Winfrey, a substantial King World shareholder, was expected to control one-half a percentage point of CBS stock.

The relationship stands today: Winfrey is an executive producer of CBS’ syndicated “Dr. Phil” program. CBS did not offer details of the types of segments Winfrey might contribute to “60 Minutes.” But she is known for her ability to get even the most famous actor or actress to disclose close-held feelings and emotions. One of the show’s most penetrating interviewers of celebrities, Morley Safer, retired from the newsmagazine last year, just days before passing away.

To read more: Oprah Winfrey Joins 60 Minutes as Contributor | Variety

“Hidden Figures,” Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali, Denzel Washington Win Screen Actors Guild Awards

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“Hidden Figures” Wins Best Cast Ensemble for Film at 2017 SAG Awards (photo via kansascitystar.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

The 2017 SAG Awards took place on Sunday night at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, and among the winners were favorites Viola Davis for Best Supporting Female Actor in a Motion Picture (“Fences”) and Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (“Moonlight”), as well as surprise victors Denzel Washington for Lead Actor in a Motion Picture (“Fences”) and “Hidden Figures” for Best Cast Ensemble in a Motion Picture.

“Hidden Figures”  also added $14 million to its box office numbers this weekend to cross the $100 million mark and bring its current total gross to $104 million.

Other notable wins were “Orange Is the New Black” for Best Cast in a Comedy Series and “Stranger Things” for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series.

The complete list of winners is below:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Denzel Washington, “Fences” (WINNER)
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”

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