HBO has renewed “Insecure” for a fourth season and fellow comedy series “Ballers” for a fifth season.
The renewals come nearly a month after the two series returned for new seasons Aug. 12 on HBO and its digital platforms.
Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, “Insecure” follows the friendship of two women dealing with their own real-life flaws while attempting to navigate different worlds and cope with an endless series of uncomfortable everyday experiences. Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Lisa Joyce, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales and Y’lan Noel star. Executive producers are Rae, Prentice Penny, Melina Matsoukas, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky, Jonathan Berry, Jim Kleverweis and Dayna Lynne North.
Starring Dwayne Johnson and created by Stephen Levinson, “Ballers” explores the world of pro football through a group of past and present players striving to stay in the game. Johnson plays ex-superstar Spencer Strasmore, who has reinvented himself as a financial manager for today’s players. Other cast members include John David Washington, Rob Corddry, Omar Benson Miller, Donovan Carter, Troy Garity, London Brown and Brittany S. Hall. Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Peter Berg, Rob Weiss, Denis Biggs, Karyn McCarthy and Julian Farino serve as executive producers for the series.
HBO is expanding its relationship with “Ballers” star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson will produce and appear in a documentary for the network about youth prison boot camps, which is inspired by his young life. The film is set to premiere in May.
Titled “Rock and a Hard Place,” the documentary captures the lives of incarcerated young people who are granted a second chance: the opportunity to trade an extensive prison sentence for a fresh start by completing the famed Miami-Dade County Corrections & Rehabilitation Boot Camp Program. The doc chronicles the harsh six-month program, in which drill sergeants push inmates to their limit, encouraging them to learn from their past mistakes and become constructive members of society so that they’re less likely to return to prison.
Inspired by Johnson’s own experiences with the law as a youth, the wrestler-turned actor will appear in the documentary — a passion project for him — as he visits a facility to speak with a group of young offenders who are on the brink of serving long prison terms.
“By the time I was 16, I had been arrested eight or nine times for a variety of things, and can relate to what these kids are going through,” Johnson said.
Hailing from Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions — which he co-founded with Dany Garcia — and 44 Blue Productions, Johnson, Garcia and 44 Blue president Rasha Drachkovitch will serve as executive producers, in addition to HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Matthew O’Neill and Jon Alpert who are directors on the film. HBO’s Jacqueline Glover is a supervising producer.
Garcia commented, “Miami-Dade is making a difference and truly changing lives in the process of all their hard work. That is why we wanted to make a film about it.” Drachkovitch added, “Something remarkable is happening behind the scenes of this program — we’re going to find out exactly what that is.”
“Rock and A Hard Place” marks the second collaboration between Seven Bucks Prods. and HBO, following “Ballers,” which is heading into Season 2. The project is the latest partnership between Seven Bucks and 44 Blue, following the companies’ co-produced docu-series “Hard Corps,” which is set in the competitive world of Drum Corps International and was recently greenlit at Fuse.
Aside from a stacked slate with “Hard Corps,” “Ballers” and “Rock and A Hard Place,” Johnson is staying plenty busy this year. News of the HBO doc right on the heels of Seven Bucks Prods. landing a script deal for a LAPD drama “Boost Unit” at Fox.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is off to a busy 2016. One week after announcing his return to WrestleMania, the pro wrestler-turned-actor/producer announced a new scripted series he’s developing through his Seven Bucks Productions company.
Fox has ordered a script for “Boost Unit,” a cop drama revolving around the newest recruit of the LAPD’s Auto Theft Task Force, who’s a notorious getaway driver with a hidden past. Described as a high-octane, action-packed hour, the project is said to capture Johnson’s trademark edge and humor, along with the turbo-charged speed of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, in which Johnson has famously starred.
The project hails from Seven Bucks Prods. and Imperative Entertainment, and will be written by Jonny Umansky and Zach Hyatt. Seven Bucks was co-founded by Johnson and Dany Garcia. The duo will serve as executive producers with Umansky and Hyatt.
Johnson announced the script deal on social media on Tuesday — a news-breaking method that’s now become typical for the star who’s uber plugged into his fans with nearly 40 million followers on his Instagram account and more than 100 million across all of his social platforms. Just yesterday, he announced Kelly Rohrbach‘s casting in the upcoming “Baywatch” flick by way of posting a humorous video, which went viral.
In a statement, Johnson said, “We’re bringing to life the high stakes street pursuits and grueling work of this very specialized elite task force and we’re excited to partner with Imperative Entertainment to combine an epic mix of gripping action and sophisticated storytelling.” Garcia added, “This is a powerful partnership with Imperative. We couldn’t be more excited to work together in a world that we know and love – fast cars, high stakes and iconic characters.”
Tim Kring, co-founder of Imperative and creator of “Heroes,” commented: “Rarely do you hear a pitch that checks all the boxes and feels so immediately commercial, new and timely. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be involved with Seven Bucks Productions on ‘Boost Unit.”
“It’s not often a project comes together so perfectly. Seven Bucks and Imperative have already proven to be invaluable assets,” Umansky said, to which Hyatt added, “With both of them riding shotgun, we couldn’t be more excited to get ‘Boost Unit’ moving and shine a light on such a badass division of the LAPD.”
“Boost Unit” marks the first joint production between Seven Bucks and Imperative. For Seven Bucks, it marks yet another project in the works as of late, following the company’s unscripted marching band series “Hard Corps” getting the greenlight at Fuse.
For Johnson,“Boost Unit” only amps up his busy slate, as the multi-hyphenate is currently filming “Ballers,” which will be returning to HBO with a second season, in addition to the “Baywatch” movie revival, which is among his many projects coming up.
Varietyhas named retired boxer Laila Ali and NFL player Antonio Brown the Sports Personalities of the Year as part of its inaugural Sports Entertainment Breakfast Presented by Mercedes-Benz.
The breakfast, which will be held July 14 at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, celebrates the accomplishments of athletes in their respective sports and will include discussions with other prominent players including Chris Bosh, Willie McGinest and Matt Barnes about the next New All-Star Athlete.
Ali, who went undefeated in the ring, is being feted as the first female sports personality of the year. The award recognizes not only her accomplishments as a boxer but also as a TV host, CEO, mom, wife, advocate for children and author.
Brown, who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, will receive the male sports personality of the year. He’s the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,000 receiving yards and at least 1,000 return yards in the same season. Brown made his acting debut in HBO’s new series “Ballers.”
The breakfast includes a panel on what athletes must do to become 2015’s the New All-Star Athlete. Ten-time NBA All-Star Bosh (Miami Heat), Hall of Famer McGinest (New England Patriots) and NBA star Barnes (Memphis Grizzlies) will discuss the changing role of athletes. From reality show competitions to social-media followings, athletes are taking a larger role in pop culture, and the New All-Star Athelete is meant to measure that.
The panel also includes sports executives Justin Castillo (CAA), Mark Ciardi (producer), Jon Weinbach (Mandalay Sports Media) and Eric Weinberger (NFL Network).
HBO has ordered a second season for its scripted half-hour series “Ballers,” starring Dwayne Johnson as a retired NFL player attempting to reinvent himself as a financial manager for current players in Miami.
According to HBO, the June 21 premiere of the current 10-episode season drew 8.9 million viewers across HBO-owned platforms, making it the most watched half-hour premiere for the network since 2009. The episode has also been viewed 5.6 million times on Johnson’s Facebook page.
“The charismatic and hugely talented Dwayne Johnson, along with the rest of the ‘Ballers’ cast, has truly struck a chord with the HBO audience,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said in statement Friday. “We are thrilled with the overwhelming response the series has received and look forward to another exciting season.”
Rob Cordry, John David Washington, Omar Miller, Donovan W. Carter, Troy Garity and London Brown round out the cast.
Following the success of Sony’s “Jump Street” franchise, New Line plans to investigate its own buddy action-comedy, enlisting two of Hollywood’s hottest stars: Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The duo will star in “Central Intelligence,” with “We’re the Millers” filmmaker Rawson Marshall Thurber directing the movie.
Scott Stuber will produce through his Bluegrass Films banner, along with Peter Principato and Paul Young of Principato-Young Entertainment. “The Hangover” star Ed Helms is executive producing.
The story begins with a class reunion approaching, as a former high school sports star turned accountant (Hart) is contacted by a classmate (Johnson) who was bullied and humiliated back in the day. The “loser” that the accountant remembers is now a CIA contract killer who ropes him into helping foil a plot to sell classified military secrets.
The original “Central Intelligence” writers are Ike Barinholtz and Dave Stassen, with Sean Anders and John Morris writing a subsequent draft and Thurber taking another pass on the latest script.
New Line plans to begin shooting in the spring with Sam Brown and Michael Disco overseeing. Beau Bauman is managing for Bluegrass.
New Line, based at Warner Bros., has enjoyed success through previous projects with both Thurber and Johnson, and Johnson has a number of jobs lined up at the studio — he is currently attached to return for two more “Journey to the Center of the Earth” sequels and will play Black Adam in superhero pic “Shazam.” He is also set to star in disaster film “San Andreas,” which bows next summer.
The movie gives New Line the opportunity to team two of the biggest names in their respective genres in one film. Hart has enjoyed a lucrative year with both “Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man Too” striking box office gold. Hart recently finished filming the “Ride Along” sequel and has “The Wedding Ringer” for Screen Gems set to open on Jan. 16, followed by “Get Hard” with Will Ferrell for Warner Bros., which will open March 27.
Johnson has shown his versatility in his ability to move from action-heavy movies to comedies with ease, and “Central Intelligence” looks set to combine both genres. The star’s most recent pic was “Hercules,” which has grossed $242 million at the worldwide box office, and he can next be seen in “Fast and Furious 7,” which bows in April. On the small screen, Johnson will executive produce and star in “Ballers,” a half-hour comedy that HBO recently picked up to series.
Dwayne Johnson is headed to HBO‘s primetime. The pay cable network has picked up to series half-hour pilot Ballers toplined by the wrestling and movie star in his first major series gig. He is executive producing the series with his Pain & Gain co-star Mark Wahlberg; Wahlberg’s manager/frequent producing partner Steve Levinson, on whose original idea the project is based; showrunner Even Reilly; and Peter Berg, who directed the pilot.
Written by Levinson in his pilot-writing debut, Ballers is exploring the lives of a group of former and current football players. Johnson stars as Spencer Strasmore, a retired athlete. The cast includes Omar Benson Miller as Charles, an affable former pro athlete who is searching for his next career; Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington as Ricky, a highly competitive and highly spiritual pro athlete; Rob Corddry as Joe, a financial advisor who tries really hard to fit in; Troy Garity as Jason, a top-tier sports agent; Donovan Carter as Vernon, a deeply family-oriented pro athlete; Jazmyn Simon as Julie, wife of an ex-pro athlete; Taylor Cole as Michaels, an ESPN sideline reporter who is romantically involved with Spencer; and LeToya Luckett as Tina, widow to one of Spencer’s closest friends.
The series pickup for Ballers, which will start production later this year, comes on the heels of the series order on Tuesday of another half-hour project with marquee stars from a top director and producer, The Brink, starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins. Jay Roach, who directed the pilot, and Jerry Weintraub are executive producing. Both series have been touted as capable of attracting broad audiences, something Johnson already has done in primetime as his WWE alter ego The Rock and on the big screen. He next reprises his role on the Fast & Furious 7 movie, whose production has been delayed by the death of star Paul Walker, and also has feature Hercules and TNT reality series Wake Up Call coming up.