Tag: BET Networks

Laurence Fishburne to Star in Nelson Mandela Miniseries ‘Madiba’ for BET

Laurence Fishburne Nelson MandelaLaurence Fishburne is set to play the lead role of Nelson Mandela in Madiba, a miniseries for BET Networks executive produced by the late South African hero’s grandson Kweku Mandela. The six-hour mini, directed by Kevin Hooks (Prison Break), is based on two Mandela books, Conversations With Myself and Nelson Mandela by Himself. Named after Madiba, the Thembu clan to which Nelson Mandela belonged, the project tells the story of a younger Nelson Mandela during the early-60s as he deals with the political unrest engulfing South Africa.

Madiba will be produced and financed by Toronto-based Blue Ice Pictures and also produced by UK-based Left Bank Pictures and South Africa’s Out of Africa Entertainment in association with Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions. Blue Ice Pictures president Lance Samuels executive produces alongside Kweku Mandela of Out of Africa and Daniel Iron, Neil Tabatznik, Steven Silver, Andy Harries, Marigo Kehoe and Loretha Jones.

Pre-production will begin later this year, with production slated for early 2016 in South Africa.
nelsonmandelabyhimselfconversationswithmyslef“Nelson Mandela’s journey of political activism and leadership is deeply inspirational and we are proud to have the talented and award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne join Madiba to tell this triumphant story” said Stephen Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks.

Fishburne executive produces and co-stars on the ABC comedy series Black-ish and will be seen next summer in Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice. He recently signed on to star in the A&E remake of Roots and is in production on Sony’s romantic sci-fi drama Passengers starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.

There have been a number of feature and TV movies about Mandela, with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner-turned-president portrayed by such actors as Morgan Freeman, Sidney Poitier, Idris Elba, Dennis Haysbert, Terrence Howard and Danny Glover.

article by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

New Edition Biopic Miniseries From Jesse Collins in Works at BET

1989 MTV Video Music Awards
New Edition (Photo via Getty Images)

An original miniseries based on the iconic 1980s R&B/ pop group New Edition is set at BET Networks, with Real Husbands Of Hollywood’s Jesse Collins executive producing through his Jesse Collins Entertainment banner, in association with New Edition Enterprises. New Edition members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant are co-producers. Shooting is set to begin after the first of the year for premiere in 2016.

The untitled three-night miniseries is the first scripted music-focused TV movie to air on BET and falls under a multi-year first-look development deal Collins signed with BET Networks last spring. New Edition’s longtime manager Brooke Payne also will serve as a co-producer. Abdul Williams (Lottery Ticket) will pen the script. A search is underway for a director.

“It’s been a long time coming and that time is finally here! Now that we have signed the deal, New Edition’s journey will be captured in a three-night miniseries to tell our life story through our very own eyes. We are happy to have New Edition Enterprises collaborate with BET Networks’ Debra Lee and Stephen Hill along with Jesse Collins Entertainment,” said New Edition. “From our beginning in the Orchard Park Projects in Boston to Hollywood and everything in between, just like The Temptations and The Jackson Five—we are ready to retrace our footsteps and show everyone how we got here. For the fans all over the world, this one’s for you.”

The band, formed in Boston in 1978, reached the height of its popularity in the 1980s with hits such as “Candy Girl,” “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man.” The group is credited with kicking off the boy band movement of the ‘80s and ‘90s’, leading the way for groups like New Kids on the Block, The Boys, Boys II Men, Hi-Five, Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.

“Personally, my relationship with New Edition goes back to being among the first to play ‘Candy Girl’ on my college radio station, so I’m ecstatic that BET is the place where the guys wanted to come to tell their complete, dynamic story,” said Stephen Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks. “Everyone’s been waiting for the New Edition saga to be told in all its triumphs and heartbreaks and we can’t wait to bring it to the screen.”

“New Edition’s music is woven into the fabric of our culture,” said Collins. “When I brought the idea to BET years ago, I wanted to create a film that would tell the story of how New Edition emerged into one of the most important groups of its generation. I am so grateful that Stephen Hill and his team are giving Jesse Collins Entertainment the opportunity to chronicle the lives of these music icons”.

article by Denise Petski via deadline.com

Fox Searchlight’s Zola Mashariki Joins BET As Head Of Original Programming

masharikiBET Networks has named veteran Fox Searchlight production executive Zola Mashariki as Executive Vice President and Head of Original Programming. Based in Los Angeles, she will oversee scripted and unscripted programming and development as well as casting for the cable network, reporting to BET Networks President of Programming Stephen Hill.

Mashariki’s appointment completes the restructuring in BET’s top programming ranks following the September departure of president of original programming Loretha Jones. In December, BET promoted President of Music Programming & Specials Stephen Hill to President of Programming, overseeing both Original Programming and Music Programming & Specials. Hill, who remains based in New York, has extensive background in music shows and specials though a limited interaction with the Hollywood creative community. That is a void Mashariki is expected to fill. Like Jones, she will be based in Los Angeles.

Mashariki spent the last 15 years at Fox Searchlight, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Production. During her tenure at the feature company, she worked on such movies as The Last King of Scotland and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Additionally, Mashariki, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, is the creator of the Black Film Initiative, shepherding the development of a new business plan for the African-American audience that resulted in the releases of such films as The Secret Life of Bees and Notorious.

article by Nellie Andreeva via Deadline.com

‘Being Mary Jane’: BET Film Starring Gabrielle Union to Kick Off Original Series July 2nd

Creator of 'Being Mary Jane' Mara Brock Akil (right) with moderator entertainment journalist Kelly L Carter (Photo courtesy of BET Networks photographer Dave Tulis)
Creator of ‘Being Mary Jane’ Mara Brock Akil (right) with moderator entertainment journalist Kelly L Carter (Photo courtesy of BET Networks photographer Dave Tulis)

Atlanta lived up to its reputation as the Hollywood of the South on Saturday with the advance screening of BET’s upcoming film Being Mary JaneThe movie, starring Gabrielle Union, debuts on the cable channel on July 2 at 10:30 pm. The hour-long production will serve as a teaser for the anticipated Being Mary Jane series scheduled to hit the screens in January 2014. It is just one of a handful of shows drawing attention to BET’s newfound shift towards original programming.

A protagonist who is far from perfect

Being Mary Jane, which was shot in Atlanta, revolves around the main protagonist Mary Jane Paul (played by Union), a successful talk show host, who on the surface has an enviable lifestyle. Still, her life is far from perfect.

“It’s in her [Mary Jane Paul’s] low moments where she most expresses her humanity,” said creator Mara Brock Akil in a Q&A with entertainment journalist Kelly L. Carter after the screening at the stylish W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta.

Continue reading “‘Being Mary Jane’: BET Film Starring Gabrielle Union to Kick Off Original Series July 2nd”

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