Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson are in Elle Magazine’s “Women in TV” issue, and they aren’t pulling any punches when it comes to talking about how media has warped our images of women, especially women of color.
Davis said that television and media has warped our perception of female sexuality, saying that TV “lies about women.”
“If you are anywhere above a size 2, you’re not having sex,” Davis said. “You don’t have sexual thoughts. You may not even have a vagina. And if you’re of a certain age, you’re off the table.”
Henson said that it is hard for black characters to be taken seriously, and that perception is something she has had to fight when she plays the character of Cookie Lyon on Empire.
“It was very important to me that she not be sassy and neck-rollin’ and eye-bulgin’ and attitude all the time,” said Henson. “Everything she does is coming from a place of fighting for her family. That’s why she’s not a caricature.”
Denzel Washington was honored with the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award, the Cecil B. DeMille, on Sunday evening, with his “Philadelphia” co-star Tom Hanks introduced him as an actor with the “mysterious power not just to hold our attention, but demand it.”
Hanks recited a list of legendary actors — Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and the like — that command the most respect in the industry. “The list is finite,” Hanks said. “The club is exclusive. But it includes the actor who is being given the Cecil B. DeMille Award tonight,” said Hanks.
Washington brought his family onstage for a speech that appeared to be cut short by a failure to bring his glasses with him. His wife reminded him twice that he needed them — and the second time, he agreed.
Washington has won Oscars for roles in “Glory” and “Training Day,” Golden Globes for “Glory” and “The Hurricane”, and has a long list of credits including “Malcolm X,” ”Flight,” ”The Manchurian Candidate” and “Remember the Titans.”
In his speech, he thanked his mother for convincing his father that the family needed light bulbs more powerful than 25 watts. “God bless you all,” he said.
Another big winner last night was “Empire’s” Taraji P. Henson, who was awarded the Golden Globe for best lead actress in a television drama. Henson, in honor of her breakout character, handed out cookies as she walked to the stage to accept her award. To see a full list of last night’s winners, click here. To watch Taraji and Denzel’s acceptance speeches, click below:
Fox’s “Empire” may be headed on its midseason break after a couple of more episodes, but the network hopes to keep its Wednesday timeslot warm by slotting a holiday music and variety special hosted by the show’s Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard.
The network announced Monday that “Taraji and Terrence’s White Hot Holidays,” featuring a special duet by Henson and Howard and modern performances of classic holiday songs, has been set for Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 9. Among the entertainment superstars scheduled as guests and musical performers are Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Jamie Foxx.
“Empire” is broadcast television’s No. 1 series this fall in adults 18-49, averaging a 6.8` rating in the demo and 16.7 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates. The show is scheduled to exit the airwaves after its Dec. 2 midseason finale, and won’t return until March 30.
“White Hot Holidays” is produced by Casey Patterson Entertainment, Don Mischer Productions, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard and Vincent Cirrincione.
UPDATE: In rush nationals ordered by Fox, “Empire” was revised up to a 6.7 in adults 18-49 and 16.2 million total viewers for its second-season premiere. In the demo, that puts it ahead of its two-hour finale average from March (6.5) and only a bit behind that night’s second hour (6.9).
Fox juggernaut “Empire” showed no signs of slowing down in its sophomore season, returning Wednesday to its second best ratings to date. The network dominated the opening Wednesday of the season overall, with its “Rosewood,” the only series premiere on the night, benefiting from pre-“Empire” tune-in to deliver solid scores.
ABC’s comedy block returned strong, with “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs” on par with last year and “Modern Family” and “Black-ish” a hearty second to “Empire” in the 9 o’clock hour. CBS’ “Survivor” was down a bit but remains potent kicking off its 31st edition.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a huge 6.5 rating/20 share in adults 18-49 and 16.0 million viewers overall — beating the ratings for all but the show’s final episode from last season. Its 9 p.m. episode on finale night in March averaged a 6.9/21 in 18-49 and 17.62 million total viewers (and its two-hour finale night average of 6.5 matched last night’s premiere).
The show had seen its overall audience grow with every episode during its first season, but that amazing streak came to an end on Wednesday.
Compared with last season’s premiere in January, “Empire” on Wednesday was up by 71% in 18-49 (6.5 vs. 3.8) and by 62% in total viewers (16.0 million vs. 9.9 million). This is the biggest improvement from season 1 premiere to season 2 premiere for any scripted series since Fox’s “House” in 2004 and 2005.
The demographics score for “Empire” more than doubled the next highest-rated program on the night (3.1 for ABC’s “Modern Family”) and it’s 38% higher than the No. 2-rated series of premiere week (4.7 for CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”). The only entertainment series on television to have drawn a higher 18-49 rating for an episode this year is AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
And in total viewers, “Empire” also towered over the Wednesday pack. Its 16.0 million was more than 6 million viewers higher than runner-up “Survivor” on CBS (9.6 million).
“Empire” was also a social-media superstar last night, with 1.3 million tweets sent during the episode — making it the most-tweeted one-hour broadcast drama series on record (since Nielsen began tracking about four years ago). Perhaps most impressively, and a true indication of the show’s wide appeal and reach, the tweets generated 63 million impressions.
The most-tweeted minute occurred at 9:30 p.m. with 32,363 tweets after Anika (“Boo Boo Kitty”) was dancing.
Leading off Wednesday for Fox was medical drama “Rosewood” (2.4/9 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) starring Morris Chestnut. Though it hadn’t generated much buzz leading into the season, it clearly found an opening-night audience. The 2.4 rating in 18-49 makes it the young season’s No. 4-rated series premiere, behind “Blindspot,” “The Muppets” and “Life in Pieces.” It saw a big jump in the second half-hour (2.7 vs. 2.1 at 8 p.m.), a clear sign of pre-“Empire” tune-in.
Elsewhere, ABC had to be pleased with its returning comedy block: “The Middle” (2.1/8 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) and “Black-ish” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall). “Middle” and “Goldbergs” were identical to their demo premieres of last year and topped their final nine episodes of last season.
“Modern” and “Black-ish” were down as expected, lower by 18% and 27% respectively from last year’s opening Wednesday when the competition on Fox was considerably softer (“Red Band Society” did a 1.1 in 18-49). The 2.4 for “Black-ish” matches the show’s highest rating to date opposite an episode of “Empire.”
Closing out the night, “Nashville” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) was within a tenth of its year-ago premiere.
CW aired “America’s Next Top Model” (0.4/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) and the finale of “A Wicked Offer” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.5 million viewers overall). “Arrow” and “Supernatural” kick off their seasons on Oct. 7.
Debbie Allen rose to fame with “Fame,” serving as a director, producer and choreographer. She was also the first black woman to be Emmy-nominated in the dramatic lead actress category. More than three decades later, she has a recurring role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and is a frequent director — and now executive producer of the show. “It’s a little crazy, but what a great life,” Allen tells Variety. “I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof that somehow landed on all fours.”
What are your new responsibilities on “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 12, being a director, actor and executive producer?
I’m very involved in every episode, in terms of production design. I’m selecting the directors this season, looking over everything from makeup and hair to the actors’ concerns. I spend a lot of time with the writers, which I love.
How do you balance acting in an episode that you’re also directing and producing?
It’s actually how I started on “Fame.” I trained in acting, literature and theater, so talking to actors is something I’m really used to doing. That gives me a little bit of an edge sometimes. I know how to speak the actor’s language. On “Fame,” I started as Ms. Lydia Grant and I was the choreographer, but I soon became their favorite director because I knew how to shoot the dance and then I understood the acting. Doing it all at the same time is how I came into it.
Have you noticed a big change in your role on “Grey’s,” now that you’re an executive producer?
Very dramatic change. I’ve always been there as a director and somewhat of a den mom — it’s interesting; so many of them grew up on “Fame,” and I’ll never forget the first time I directed, Patrick Dempsey started singing “Fame” and doing jetes, and I’m like, “Stop it already. Stop it!” — so now, there are things that are my responsibility or things that I keep my eye on or things that I can mitigate. I’m responsible for a lot of things, which is a wonderful position to have. I’ve done this once before on “A Different World.” I was the executive producer and director on that show for five years. But this is different. It’s an hour, it’s in its twelfth season, but it feels like it’s brand new.
Speaking of Patrick Dempsey, how is the set different without him?
We had a great relationship. My nickname for him was “Dash” — Dash was the kid in “The Incredibles” that was running fast. He would come through the set like that. He was on the move. Racing cars defines him for real. Patrick is not there so it changes the dynamic of the story for Meredith.
How much will you be featured in this season?
Catherine Avery is still a guest star. She’s not a series regular, but I’m there so when they need me now — last year, they had to go and try to find me — they can take advantage of me, and it’s okay! I’m not mad about it.
I’ve always had this sort of love/hate relationship with the month of September. Part of me feels like September is just a pushy month with attitude. It represents the end of summer fun with a blaring nudge toward back to business, back to school… back to get up and get stuff done!
But if I’m going to keep it positive, September also represents the beginning of beautiful, new and exciting things… and hopefully if you’re in a hot state – some cooler weather. Here are few fun, interesting things happening this month. Enjoy!
THE PERFECT GUY September 14; PG-13 Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy & Morris Chestnut star in “The Perfect Guy”
Picking the right partner is tough and when a budding relationship ends the “perfect guy” becomes enraged with the woman that ended it – setting his sights on the perfect revenge.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CikoxQ4ytI4
THE CAPTIVE September 18; PG-13 David Oyelowo and Kate Mara star in “The Captive” based on an inspiring true story.
A hostage (Kate Mara) uses Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” to convince her desperate captor (David Oyelowo) to put his life on the path to redemption. Watch the trailer here: http://www.captivethemovie.com
AUDRA MCDONALD & AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE September 1 & September 3 Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles, CA
“Empire” may have been snubbed by the Television Academy for this season’s Emmy Awards, but it won redemption from the Television Critics Association, winning the organization’s top prize, Program of the Year.
In winning program of the year, “Empire” edged out “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “The Americans” and “Transparent.” Amazon’s family dramedy had been nominated for four TCA awards, but ultimately won none.
The evening’s other big winner was pop culture’s “it” girl of the moment, Amy Schumer, who took home two prizes: for her Comedy Central series “Inside Amy Schumer” as Outstanding Achievement in Comedy as well as for Individual Achievement in Comedy.
AMC earned two wins, too: its highly praised freshman series “Better Call Saul,” the prequel to “Breaking Bad,” was crowned Outstanding New Program, and “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm claimed his second Individual Achievement in Drama award for his portrayal of adman Don Draper. (Will this bode well for his quest for that long-elusive Emmy?)
HBO also notched two awards. Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling’s compelling documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” won for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials. And the cable network’s news show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” earned the award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information.
The critics also bestowed a top prize on one of their favorites: FX’s spy thriller “The Americans” won Outstanding Achievement in Drama.
In TCA tradition, a “Heritage Award” was given to a show in recognition of its cultural and social impact. And this year, the recipient was late-night staple “Late Show/Late Night with David Letterman,” which ended its run in May after 33 years.
Oscar and Emmy-winning writer, producer and director James L. Brooks (“The Simpsons,” “Taxi,” “Mary Tyler Moore”) was given the Career Achievement Award for his role in creating some of the most groundbreaking and influential television programs.
The critics organization handed out its annual awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles Saturday night, in a ceremony hosted by James Corden, host of CBS’ “The Late Late Show.”
Having garnered more than 16 million weekly viewers, and multiple Television Critics Association, Critics Choice, and Emmy award nominations, nearly everyone is eagerly anticipating the second season of the mega hit TV series, Empire.
But as we clamor to grasp its standing in pop culture, lost in the mist of the growing body of Empire lore has been scant consideration of the significant contributions some of its star performers are making in the lives of many Americans.
For instance, Empire’sChris Rock departed from an exceptionally rigorous day of production to address youth at Chicago’s Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
The facility is the largest youth detention facility in the nation, reportedly housing between 250 to 350 youth a day and employing more than 600 employees. Situated under the auspices of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the largest circuit court system in the nation, it is quite arguably the epicenter for juvenile detention in the United States. And Mr. Rock’s visit with the youth was symbolic of a perfect hybrid of pop culture and social justice consciousness.
Mr. Rock spoke candidly about the need for the youth to accept responsibility for their behavior and to resist the temptation to blame others for their current circumstances. In so doing, he specifically warned against a seemingly popular inclination to blame black fathers. Exceptionally genuine and compelling in nature, Mr. Rock lamented that too often black fathers are denounced for the perilous conditions facing many black youth, without being afforded deserving credit for their favorable contributions.
2015 has been a breakout year for Empire star Jussie Smollett.
Before performing at the 2015 BET Awards, Jussie was honored by the Black AIDS Institute during the annual Heroes In The Struggle (H.I.T.S) gala. H.I.T.S pays tribute to Black Americans and the Allies who have contributed in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Previous inductees of the gala include Maxine Waters, Magic Johnson and President Bill Clinton.
According to Euroweb, Smollett was overjoyed when he heard the news about the honor.
“I got the call from Phil Wilson (President and CEO, Black AIDS Institute) who’s been one of my mentors since I was sixteen. He asked if I would be honored by the organization and I said of course. I love what the Black AIDS Institute has done and all of the lives that they’ve changed. I love Phil and to be honored by him is everything.”
Jussie was presented the honor by his sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell and actor/activist Wilson Cruz. Other recipients of the 2015 award include the executive director of Empower U community health center, Vanessa Mills, Gregorio Millett, the Vice-President and Director of public policy for AMFAR and Janssen Therapeutics.
Jussie even spilled the tea about when we can expect his album to drop and what we can expect to hear from season two of Empire.
“It’s going to be fun. For ‘Empire’ season two, I’ve been recording with everybody from obviously Timbaland to Jim Beanz and also Swizz Beatz and Ne-Yo so it’s going to be dope. It’s going to be excellent!”