‘Black-ish’ Spinoff ‘College-ish’ Starring Yara Shahidi Lands at Freeform

Yara Shahidi (photo via variety.com)

by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

Freeform has greenly the “Black-ish’” college-set spinoff series, starring Yara Shahidi. The spinoff is titled “College-ish” and will center around Shahidi’s character Zoey Johnson, as she heads off to college and quickly discovers that not everything goes her way once she leaves the nest.

The show is set to debut with a 13-episode season in early 2018. “College-ish” is described as a contemporary take on the current issues facing both students and administrators in the world of higher education. Deon Cole will co-star with Shahidi, reprising his “Black-ish” role of Charlie, who moonlights as an adjunct marketing professor.

The rest of the core cast will be new characters and actors, not seen in the flagship series, both in the administration and student body who all reflect the complex and hilarious points of views on college campuses.

The spinoff was developed at ABC, which airs “Black-ish,” and aired as a planted pilot this spring. After ABC passed on the project, its sister network Freeform scooped it up. Insiders say the series was too young for ABC, which made it a perfect fit for the young-skewing cable network.

To read more, go to: ‘Black-ish’ Spinoff ‘College-ish’ With Yara Shahidi Lands at Freeform | Variety

John Singleton-Produced Documentary “L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later” to Air April 18 on A&E Network 

Director John Singleton (photo via Variety.com)

article by Cynthia Littleton via variety.com

A&E Network will mark the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots next month with a two-hour documentary from filmmaker John Singleton. “L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later,” set to debut April 18, tells the story of the civil unrest that shook the nation from the perspective of those who lived through a week of upheaval following a jury’s acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers charged in the 1991 beating of African-American motorist Rodney King.

King’s arrest and savage treatment at the hands of veteran LAPD officers was caught on videotape by a local resident who gave the incendiary footage to KTLA-TV Los Angeles. KTLA’s coverage and airing of the nine-minute recording depicting cops kicking and beating King with batons while he was lying on the ground set off a firestorm of outrage and protest over the LAPD’s treatment of minorities.

The incident coincided with the dawn of the 24/7 news cycle fueled by the growth of cable news and the spread of home video recording technology.Singleton, a native of Los Angeles, was fresh out of USC film school and had just launched his career as a movie director with 1991’s Oscar-nominated “Boyz n the Hood” when the riots erupted on April 29, 1992, the day acquittals of the four officers were handed down by a nearly all-white jury.

Five days of violence and unrest left at least 55 people dead, more than 2,000 injured and inflicted more than $1 billion in property damage.“I believe the 1992 L.A. uprising has never truly been given a voice until now,” Singleton said. “We’ve attempted to chronicle the untold stories and unique perspectives of people whose lives were profoundly affected by this event. As a native Los Angeleno I know the actions of that three-day event didn’t just appear out of thin air. The city was a powder keg boiling at the seams for many years under police brutality and economic hardship of people of color.”

Among those featured in the documentary are actor-activist Edward James Olmos, police officers, rioters, bystanders caught in the crossfire and reporters who covered the upheaval. “L.A. Burning” hails from Entertainment One and Creature Films. The doc is directed by One9 and Erik Parker.

“L.A. Burning” is one of several TV productions in the works to mark the anniversary of the violence that shook Los Angeles and the world. Filmmaker John Ridley is behind the two-hour ABC special “Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992,” set to air April 28.  On April 18, Showtime will air the documentary “Burn Mother—–r Burn!,” examining the history of racial tensions and rioting in Los Angeles.

To read full article, go to: A&E Network Sets Los Angeles Riots ‘25 Years Later’ Documentary From John Singleton (EXCLUSIVE) | Variety

Viola Davis’ JuVee Productions Raising $250M for Content Development, Production & Distribution

Viola Davis and Julius Tennon (photo via shadowandact.com)

article via shadowandact.com

JuVee Productions – the integrated film, television and digital production company created by Viola Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, is embarking on an effort to raise $250,000,000 in a global expansion plan for the development, production and distribution of diverse and inclusive film and digital content.

The fund will be used to develop, finance, produce and distribute a slate of multiple feature films and branded digital content that will see the relatively young production company expand its footprint globally. “The shift in storytelling should be inclusive and we aim to make it a reality,” says Julius Tennon in a press statement.

Launched in 2012 by Davis and Tennon, JuVee Productions is a Los Angeles-based artist driven production company that develops and produces independent film, television, theater, and digital content across all platforms. JuVee Productions aims to become the go-to creative hub where the next generation of filmmakers and artists have the space to craft dynamic stories spanning the broad spectrum of humanity.

The company’s most recent project is the courtroom drama “Custody” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, and aired on the Lifetime network last week. The short film “Night Shift” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of this year and continues to tour the film festival circuit.

Upcoming the production company has the film adaptation of “The Personal History of Rachel DuPree” which Davis is starring in; a biopic on Barbara Jordan (the first Southern African American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives), also with Davis starring; and a TV period series set up at ABC titled “The Zipcoders,” set in 1968, about a group of black teenagers form a rock ‘n’ roll band who aspire to be like The Beatles; and there’s also Davis’ Harriet Tubman film with HBO.

To read full article, go to: Viola Davis’ JuVee Productions Raising $250M for Content Development, Production & Distribution – Shadow and Act

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

National Museum of African History and Culture All-Star Tribute to Air on ABC Tonight

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National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. (photo via notey.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture takes center stage on ABC Television tonight. The network will air “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America” on ABC stations nationwide at 9 pm EST/8 pm CST.

Filmed live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Grand Opening celebration of the Museum, the program features an all-star tribute of music, dance, and spoken word on the African American experience. Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, and Tom Hanks are among the many artists who participated in the program, which includes a special salute to the Tuskegee Airmen.

The special will feature new film footage of iconic items from the museum’s collections – items ranging from a plane used to train the famed Tuskegee airmen for World War II combat duty to a bible owned by Nat Turner. The film is accompanied by music, dance and dramatic readings by a wide range of stage and screen actors.

#TakingtheStage

“Grey’s Anatomy” Creator Shonda Rhimes Offers “MasterClass” on Writing for Television

Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes (photo via black enterprise.com)

article by Carolyn M. Brown via blackenterprise.com

Shonda Rhimes is best known as the creator, head writer, and executive producer of three hit ABC television series—Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder—under her ShondaLand production company banner.

The queen of Thursday night and creative force behind some of television’s most popular shows will offer a writing for television course on the MasterClass online platform. For the first time, Rhimes will give students an intimate, instructional look into how to write a script, pitch a pilot, and run a writer’s room. The class will include over five hours of lessons, along with exclusive access to the Grey’s Anatomy story bible, scripts of Scandal, and much more.  Pre-enrollment is now available at the MasterClass website.  You can also view the MasterClass’ official trailer.

Rhimes on Being an “F.O.D.”

Rhimes made history as the first African American woman to create and executively produce a top-10 network series, with the hit primetime show Grey’s Anatomy. The TV powerhouse also is one of ABC’s top-earning executive producers.

In the past, Rimes has mentioned that she has had to work four times as hard as her peers, while also addressing the pressure of being an African American, female, showrunner—or what she calls an “F.O.D.”: First Only Different. In her book, The Year of Yes, Rhimes writes, “When you are an F.O.D., you are saddled with that burden of extra responsibility, whether you want it or not.” She felt the pressure when she dodged reporters’ questions about diversity or race. “You can’t be raised black in America and not know,” she writes. “This wasn’t just my shot. It was ours.”

To read more, go to: Shonda Rhimes Joins MasterClass to Teach Writing for Television

R.I.P. “Barney Miller” Star and Emmy-Nominated Actor Ron Glass

Actor Ron Glass (Kevin Winter/Getty Images) 

article via npr.org

Ron Glass, the handsome, prolific character actor best known for his role as the gregarious, sometimes sardonic detective Ron Harris in the long-running cop comedy “Barney Miller,” has died at age 71.

Glass died Friday of respiratory failure, his agent, Jeffrey Leavett, told The Associated Press on Saturday.  “Ron was a private, gentle and caring man,” said Leavett, a longtime friend of the actor. “He was an absolute delight to watch on screen. Words cannot adequately express my sorrow. ”

Although best known for “Barney Miller,” Glass appeared in dozens of other shows in a television and film career dating to the early 1970s.

Glass was Felix Unger opposite Demond Wilson‘s Oscar Madison in “The New Odd Couple,” a 1980s reboot of the original Broadway show, film and television series that this time cast black actors in the lead roles of Unger’s prissy neat freak forced to share an apartment with slovenly friend Madison.

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