New Edition Receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

New Edition receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (photo via YouTube)

New Edition receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (photo via YouTube)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Today before an enthusiastic crowd of fans, New Edition members Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie DeVoe, Michael Bivens, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California, just a day ahead of the premiere of the group’s three-part miniseries The New Edition Story on BET.

Their 35-plus year career has seen multi-platinum album sales as well as hit singles on the R&B and Pop charts such as “Candy Girl,” “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “If It Isn’t Love,” “Can You Stand The Rain,” and “N.E. Heartbreak.”  To see a promo of the miniseries in advance of its January 24th debut, click below:

To watch the Walk of Fame ceremony in its totality, click below:

Trevor Noah to Interview President Barack Obama on “Daily Show” Dec. 12

Trevor Noah (l); President Barack Obama (r) [photo via vibe.com]

article by J’na Jefferson via vibe.com

“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah will sit-down with President Barack Obama, and their “in-depth” discussion will air on Monday, Dec. 12 on multiple channels such as Comedy Central, MTV and BET.

The interview, which will take place in the White House, will not be the President’s first time on the Comedy Central show. He was interviewed by former host Jon Stewart on the program seven times. He’s also no stranger to the late-night circuit, as he’s appeared on “The Tonight Show” with both Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon, “The Colbert Report,” “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Noah has interviewed former President Bill Clinton and the former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John Podesta. This will be the first time Noah has interviewed President Obama.

To read more, go to: Trevor Noah To Interview President Barack Obama

‘Rebel’ Cast Set: John Singleton’s BET Pilot Stars Danielle Moné Truitt & Giancarlo Esposito

Danielle Truitt and Giancarlo Esposito

Danielle Truitt and Giancarlo Esposito (photo via deadline.com)

article by Nellie Andreeva and Erik Pedersen via deadline.com

BET has set the cast for Rebel, its two-hour police-drama pilot from filmmaker John Singleton. Stage actress Danielle Moné Truitt is set as the lead, Oakland cop Rebecca “Rebel” Knight, and Breaking Bad alum Giancarlo Esposito will play her lieutenant, who’s a friend and mentor. Mykelti Williamson, Cliff “Method Man” Smith and Brandon Quinn co-star.

The show examines the unique and conflicted relationship officers of color have with their jobs at a time when police forces are rife with brutality and misconduct. Officer Cole has excelled by playing by the rules but always has known that she must be better and smarter on the job because she is both black and female. After her brother is killed by police, Rebel soon becomes disillusioned with the system and is forced to take matters into her own hands and become a private investigator and a champion for her community. Caught between family loyalty and the fraternity in blue, Rebel’s actions set in motion a cause-and-effect crisis that can’t be undone.

Mykelti Williamson Method Man Brandon Quinn 3-shot

Williamson will play Rebel’s father Rene Knight, a strong but broken man. Although he loves his daughter dearly, he blames her for the death of her brother, Malik. Smith is TJ, Rebel’s ex-husband. They share a history in the military that bonds them for life. Although he’s moved on, there is still a lot of passion between them, and he can’t seem to stay away. Quinn will portray Rebel’s partner Thompson “Mack” McIntyre, whose decision to shoot at Rebel’s brother places him squarely between her career and her family.

Rebel is produced by MarVista Entertainment for BET and co-written, executive produced and directed by Singleton. Dallas Jackson also is an Executive Producer. Production on the two-hour pilot began this week in Los Angeles.

To read more, go to:  http://deadline.com/2016/06/rebel-pilot-cast-giancarlo-esposito-danielle-truitt-john-singleton-bet-1201769874/

Candi Carter Promoted to Executive Producer of ABC’s “The View” as it Heads into 20th Season

Candi Carter The View

“The View” Executive Producer Candi Carter (Photo COURTESY OF ABC)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, ABC has renewed “The View” for its 20th season, which will start in the fall of 2016,  and is naming Candi Carter as the show’s executive producer effective immediately.  Carter has served as the interim showrunner on “The View” since September, working with consultant Hilary Estey McLoughlin and co-executive producer Brian Teta, to help reboot the talk show, which has struggled since creator Barbara Walters retired in May 2013.  Carter is the first African-American executive producer in the show’s history.

It’s been an up-and-down period for “The View,” which saw viewership decline in season 18 after Rosie O’Donnell rejoined then departed the Hot Topics seat last February, and Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace left over the summer. But the numbers have slightly improved this season to date. “The View” is ranked first in viewers (2.97 million) for the second consecutive week, and it has beat CBS’ “The Talk” in the key demographic for four of the last six weeks.

In season 19, “The View” has tried to regain heat with its panel of Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Candace Cameron-Bure, Paula Faris, Michelle Collins and Raven-Symone. The show has increased its political debates during Hot Topics and landed interviews with presidential hopefuls such as Bernie Sanders, Carly Fiorina and Martin O’Malley.

Carter spent 15 years as a supervising producer at “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and has produced for BET. “It’s an honor to be part of the extraordinary legacy built by Barbara Walters, the exceptional, funny and smart women at the table led by Whoopi Goldberg and a terrific team behind the scenes,” Carter said.  “Every day is a thrill.”

To read original article by Ramin Setoodeh, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/the-view-renewed-for-season-20-with-first-female-executive-producer-exclusive-1201712878/

 

FEATURE: After 25 Years on the Road, Leslie Jones Becomes a Comedy Star

“This is gonna be kind of a hot one,” Ali LeRoi said.

“I’ve been waiting to sit her ass down for a minute,” Owen Smith said. “One of the funniest women in the game.”

“Funniest comedian in the game,” Jones interrupted. “Not just woman. I hate that shit.” End of introduction.

Comedians are combatants: they “kill,” they “bomb,” they “destroy.” Such bluster can mask insecurity, and Jones had good reason to feel defensive. She was forty-six, and had been a standup comedian for more than a quarter century; her peers respected her, but that respect rarely translated into high-paying gigs. “I remember some nights where I was, like, ‘All right, this comedy shit just ain’t working out,’ ” she told me recently. “And not just when I was twenty-five. Like, when I was forty-five.” She was a woman in a field dominated by men, and an African-American in an industry that remained disturbingly segregated.

Although she had opened for Katt Williams and Dave Chappelle, acted in movies alongside Ice Cube and Martin Lawrence, recorded a standup special for Showtime, and made several appearances on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam” and BET’s “ComicView,” she worried that the gatekeepers of mainstream comedy—bookers for the “Tonight Show,” casting directors of big-budget films—had never heard her name. “Every black comedian in the country knew what I could do,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean everyone else is paying attention.” Chris Rock, who met Jones when they were both road comics in the late eighties, told me, “Black women have the hardest gig in show business. You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman—if she was black, she’d really have something to complain about.”

Jones spent much of her career performing in what she calls “shitty chitlin-circuit-ass rooms, where you’re just hoping the promoter pays you.” She told me that, around 2010, “I stopped only doing black clubs. I stopped doing what I call ‘nigger nights’—the Chocolate Sundays, the Mo’ Better Mondays. I knew how to relate to that audience, and I was winning where I was, but I wasn’t moving forward.” She lived in Los Angeles at the time, and she began asking for spots at the Comedy Store, where David Letterman and Robin Williams got their starts. A comedian named Erik Marino, who befriended her there, said, “She felt very strongly that she was being pigeonholed as a black comic—a BET comic.”

For a while, Jones performed at the Store at odd hours. Then, she said, “I went to the booker and I threw the race card at him. ‘Why you won’t let me go up at ten on a Friday? ’Cause I’m black?’ ” The booker gave her a prime-time slot. “She destroyed, obviously,” Marino said. “Bookers are the ones who care about black rooms versus white rooms. To us comedians, it’s, like, if you know what you’re doing and you can connect with an audience, they’re gonna laugh.”

Rock saw Jones perform at the Store in 2012. After her set, he told her, “You were always funny, but you’re at a new level now.”

“You’re right,” she responded. “But I’m not gonna really make it unless someone like you puts me on.” Rock took out his iPhone and added her name to a list labelled “Funny people.”

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TV REVIEW: BET Comedy “Zoe Ever After” Starring Brandy Hits All the Right Notes

ZoeEverAfter-16x9

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

I have to admit, I wasn’t planning on watching it, mainly because these days I don’t have the opportunity to view much television outside of what my 9 and 6 year-olds are viewing. If you want to ask me what’s happening on the Disney Channel or PBS Kids – I’m your woman. BET and Centric, not so much. But when I got an email from former colleague and uber-producer Debra Martin Chase announcing the premiere of her new sitcom “Zoe Ever After”, I made a point of setting my DVR to record it so I could carve out a moment to watch and support.

That moment came this morning, and I am so glad it did. “Zoe Ever After,” created and executive produced by Chase, Erica Montolfo-Bura and former “Moesha” lead Brandy Norwood (who stars in the titular role), is a delightful, smartly-written, acted and executed half-hour comedy about Zoe Moon, a woman restarting her life with a new cosmetics business, new love interests and a new parenting arrangement after filing for divorce from her famous boxer husband Gemini Moon (Dorian Missick).

Set in Manhattan,”Zoe Ever After” is actually filmed in Atlanta, but unlike some other half-hours shot there, its look and feel don’t come off as claustrophobic or cheap. The sets and visuals, though limited, are beautifully styled and on point. The costume design is equally striking, and if the show keeps it up, Brandy could add “fashion maven” to her actor/singer calling card.

But even more important than the look or  basic premise is how well “Zoe” deals with its themes – the difficulty of dating after a break-up, co-parenting with an ex, the struggles of running a new business (the air conditioning breaks down in Zoe’s office and she is stubbornly against taking her ex’s help to fix it, even though the contractor he sends (Ignacio Serricchio) generates more heat than the system he’s repairing), and the internal tug-of-war that occurs when you still have feelings for the person who broke your heart.

All of the actors, including intended comic relief characters, on-a-mission-to-get-married best friend and publicist Pearl (Haneefah Wood), fashionable, openly gay assistant Valence (Tory Devon Smith) and bright, adorable son Xavier (Jaylon Gordon), make strong impressions, but Brandy in particular shines as she charmingly and believably navigates dramatic moments like where she tells her ex how he always made her feel invisible, or sillier ones where she gets pooped on by a dove (which is a clever metaphor tied to a story point, believe it or not).

The preliminary ratings and social media on “Zoe’s” debut are also strong, so BET looks to have a good compliment/counterpoint to “Real Husbands of Hollywood” on its slate, and I am personally looking forward to finding more time away from “Lab Rats” and “Arthur” to see if Zoe does indeed get her “ever after.”

“Zoe Ever After” airs Tuesdays on BET. To view the premiere episode, check your local listings or access clips via BET.com.

Reginald Hudlin to Produce Oscar Telecast in 2016

Reginald Hudlin (photo via pepperdine.edu)

Reginald Hudlin (photo via pepperdine.edu)

According to Variety.com, filmmaker (“Boomerang”, “House Party”) and producer Reginald Hudlin will produce the 88th Academy Awards with veteran live television events producer  David Hill. The Awards will be held Feb. 28, 2016.

Hudlin is an Oscar-nominated producer for “Django Unchained,” and last year produced the Governors Awards. He has been the executive producer of the NAACP Image Awards since 2012. Hudlin was the first president of entertainment for BET Networks from 2005-09.

Hill was a longtime 21st Century Fox/News Corp. executive who stepped down in June to launch a production banner that focused on live TV events. Hill is known for his skill at overseeing live sports production, and was key in building Fox Sports; in recent years he’s overseen “American Idol” for the Fox network.

“We’re delighted to have this talented team on board,” said AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “David is a true innovator with a dynamic personality.  His vast experience as a live events producer, coupled with Reggie’s energy, creativity and talent as a filmmaker, is sure to make this year’s Oscar telecast a memorable one.”

“I’m looking forward to working with the Academy again,” said Hudlin. “I love every kind of film, and this year’s awards will be a celebration of the total range of cinema.”

“We’re excited to work with David and Reggie,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “With their enthusiasm and breadth of experience, they will bring a fresh perspective to the Oscar show.”

New producers always come in with ambitious ideas but have to contend with demands from both AMPAS and ABC. Those include the constraints of how to add innovative elements while keeping the running time manageable. And there are many elements that have to be included, such as 24 awards, recaps of the Sci-Tech honors and the Governors Awards and the In Memoriam segment. In all, that means a producer has less than 45 minutes to include such options as an opening monologue, performance of nominated songs, etc.

For the record, here are the producers of the past decade: the 2006 ceremony, Gil Cates (hosted by Jon Stewart); 2007, Laura Ziskin (hosted by Ellen DeGeneres); 2008 Cates (Jon Stewart again); 2009 Laurence Mark & Bill Condon (Hugh Jackman); 2010 Bill Mechanic, Adam Shankman (Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin); 2011 Bruce Cohen, Don Mischer (James Franco, Anne Hathaway); 2012 Brian Grazer (after Brett Ratner exited; host, Billy Crystal).  Neil Meron and Craig Zadan produced the last three, which were hosted by Seth MacFarlane, Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris.

original article by Tim Gray; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson