Tag: Lee Daniels

Writer/Producer/Director Charles Murray Lands Overall Deal 20th Century Fox; to Run New Fox Series ‘Star’

Charles Murray 3 BandW
Writer/Director/Producer Charles Murray (deadline.com)

article by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

Sons of Anarchy writer/producer Charles Murray has signed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, whose cable division Fox 21 TV Studios produced the gritty FX drama series. Under the pact, he will serve as executive producer and showrunner on Star, 20th TV’s upcoming drama created by Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy, which was recently picked up to series by Fox for next season. Additionally, Murray will be developing his own projects for the studio.

Murray is coming off stints as executive producer on the first season of Netflix’s next Marvel series, Luke Cage and as one of the writers on A+E Networks’ upcoming Roots remake. He served as a writer/co-executive producer on the final two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, and also worked on CBS’ Criminal Minds, ABC’s Castle,NBC’s Third Watch as well as the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Continue reading “Writer/Producer/Director Charles Murray Lands Overall Deal 20th Century Fox; to Run New Fox Series ‘Star’”

Fox Orders ‘Star’ From “Empire” Creator Lee Daniels and ‘24’ Spinoff Starring Corey Hawkins for 2016-17 Season

Corey Hawkins Lee Daniels
“24: Legacy” Star Corey Hawkins (l); “Star” Co-Creator & Producer Lee Daniels (REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

Fox is jumping into the 2016-2017 television season, ordering “24: Legacy” and “Star” to series.  The network has greenlit the “24” spinoff with a 12-episode order. “Star,” which hails from “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels, landed a 13-episode order.

Corey Hawkins will topline the rebooted “24” in a completely new role, as the series is without Kiefer Sutherland — and Jack Bauer — this time around. However, Sutherland will serve as an exec producer on “Legacy,” marking his first time being listed as an EP on “24,” There are no plans for him to reprise his role as Jack Bauer at this time.

The new series will retain the original show’s format of real-time storytelling with split screens and like the original, will represent one hour of an eventful day in each episode. The series revolves around a military hero’s (Hawkins) return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back — compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil. Miranda Otto (“Homeland”) and Jimmy Smits (“Sons of Anarchy”) star alongside Hawkins.

Bouncing off of the successful “Empire” music-filled formula, “Star” — which is not in any way an “Empire” spinoff — follows three talented singers who navigate the cut-throat music business on their road to success. Newcomers Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O’Grady star as the young singers, alongside Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt. Announced on Wednesday, Lenny Kravitz will guest star. “Star,” co-created by Daniels and Tom Donaghy, will feature original music and stunning musical fantasy sequences.

 

Uptown Magazine to Honor Nia Long at Annual “Uptown Honors Hollywood” Pre-Oscar Gala

Nia Long (photo via blogs.indiewire.com)
Nia Long (photo via blogs.indiewire.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Uptown Ventures Group, the parent company of UPTOWN Magazine, announced today they will honor award-winning television and film actress Nia Long at their annual “UPTOWN HONORS HOLLYWOOD” Pre-Oscar Gala, presented by Lexus and hosted by comedian Chris Spencer. The event will take place on Thursday, February 25 at Lure, in Hollywood, CA.

The evening will pay tribute to Long’s career including her memorable roles in John Singleton’s critically-acclaimed film, Boyz n the Hood, family comedy drama Soul Foodromantic drama Love Jones and comedy drama The Best Man.  Long has won three NAACP Image Awards, hosted several awards shows including “Black Girls Rock” and the “Trumpet Awards,” and has also been honored by PETA. 

“We are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our friend, the talented Nia Long.  Her career continues to flourish and we have supported and been a part of her Hollywood journey from the beginning.  This evening will salute her many past, present and future works and contributions to the entertainment industry,” said Len Burnett, Co-CEO and Chief Revenue Officer, UPTOWN Ventures Group. 

Past honorees have included Malcolm D. Lee, Will PackerSalim Akil, Lee Daniels, Ava DuVernay, as well as Reggie Hudlin and Warrington Hudlin.

For more information about UPTOWN, please log on to www.UptownMagazine.com.

Lee Daniels Directing Apollo Theater Documentary “The Apollo Theater Project”

Lee Daniels Directing Apollo Theater Documentary
(REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

Lee Daniels (“Precious”, “The Butler”, “Empire”) will direct the documentary feature film “The Apollo Theater Film Project,” an authorized history of New York’s famed venue.

“I am honored to be entrusted with the story of this incredible American iconic institution and work with this team,” Daniels said. “I used to go to the Apollo Theater as a kid and never in a million years would I have imagined I would be back to be doing this – it is very special for me.”

Lee Daniels (photo via slate.com)
Director Lee Daniels (photo via slate.com)

The Apollo began operating in 1934 during the Harlem Renaissance and became the most prized venue on the “Chitlin’ Circuit” during the time of racial segregation in the United States. The Apollo was a key launch venue for Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix and the Jackson Five. Performers have included Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole, Gladys Knight, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billie Holiday.

White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa are producing the project. Daniels and Jonelle Procope, the president and CEO of the Apollo Theater, are asking members of the public, audience-goers and fans for film footage, home movies, photographs or other memorabilia.

“We are asking members of the community who have been to the Apollo, who may have parents or grandparents or other family members or friends who have done so, to help us find any material — audience footage, photographs or other memories that we can use in our documentary film,” Daniels and Procope said.

The project has established a website (www.apollotheaterdocumentary.com) for anyone who wants to submit. “We will, of course, respect everybody’s ownership of their property,” Daniels and Procope said.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/lee-daniels-director-apollo-theater-documentary-1201691098/

Ava DuVernay, Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Lives Matter & More to be Honored at Revolution Awards for Black History Month

2015-02-03-06-24-27.jpgHarlem-based cinema foundation ImageNation will honor the brightest entertainers and advocates who exude “Black Excellence” during the annual Revolution Awards, set to take place in New York next month.

The awards’ theme, eloquently titled Cocktails, Cinema & Revolutionwill honor famed director Ava DuVernay, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-PerryBlack Lives Matter, and actor Hill Harper on Feb. 10.

ImageNation founder Moikgantsi Kgama shared her thoughts about how this year’s show will tie into Black History Month.

The Revolution Awards came to fruition in 2003, honoring the accomplishments of activists, actors, and artists who step outside the box to help improve Black and Latino communities. Past honorees and participants include Spike Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Erykah Badu, Lee DanielsTalib Kweli, and the late Ruby Dee.

“History is being made everyday. This event celebrates Black History Month by recognizing our most inspiring change agents while highlighting ImageNation’s newest monthly film program Cocktails & Cinema. I am looking forward to the Revolution Awards returning to an epic evening of honoring those who make a difference,” said Kgama.

In addition to the awards, the film 1982, starring Hill Harper, Sharon Leal, Wayne Brady, Troi Zee, La La Anthony and Ruby Dee, will be screened. The movie stars Harper as a father protecting his daughter from his wife’s battle with drug addiction.  Harper will also engage in a discussion of the film with director Tommy Oliver, image activist Michaela Angela Davis, and noted psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere.

The event is open to the public. To find out how you can be part of the magic during Black History Month, get a ticket here and find out more about ImageNation’s 20-year legacy here.

article by Desire Thompson via newsone.com

Queen Latifah Lands Lead Role in Lee Daniels’ Fox Music Pilot

Queen Latifah Lee Daniels
Queen Latifah (ROBERT MAXWELL FOR VARIETY)

Queen Latifah has landed a lead role in Lee Daniels’ untitled music project at Fox, which was formerly titled “Star,” Variety has learned. Three more regulars — all relative newcomers — have also been cast.

The Untitled Lee Daniels Music Pilot goes into production this month in Atlanta, and while the potential series has only been ordered to pilot at this point, Queen Latifah’s star power, combined with Daniels’ “Empire” track record at Fox, makes the project a strong contender for the 2016-17 television season.

The pilot revolves around three young women, who form a girl group with hopes of making it big in the music industry. The project has been described in the vein of “Dreamgirls,” while incorporating the manufacturing of modern-day girl groups, showcasing the allure and heartache of the cut-throat music scene, and exploring cultural themes from a new perspective.

Queen Latifah will anchor the young cast, playing Carlotta, the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon who has an amazing voice and becomes a surrogate mother to the three girls in the group, even though she doesn’t approve of their musical dreams.

Following a nationwide casting call, actress and singers Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O’Grady have been cast as the leading girl group members.

Demorest (“Dallas,” “The Middle”), from Detroit, has landed the role of Star, the tough 18-year-old who spent her childhood in and out of foster homes after the death of her mother, and who will do anything to become the star she was named to be; Destiny (“Low Winter Sun”), also from Detroit, has been cast as Alexandra, the wealthy 20-year-old who grew up on New York’s Upper East Side, but who, for years, has tried to put her privileged world behind her, so she can make real, authentic music; and O’Grady (“The Messengers”), from Washington, DC, will play Simone, Star’s younger sister who dreams of the day Star will return to rescue her from the abusive foster home in which she was placed five years before.

Continue reading “Queen Latifah Lands Lead Role in Lee Daniels’ Fox Music Pilot”

“Empire” Wins Program of the Year at Television Critics Association Awards

Empire Season 2 promo
Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon in “Empire” (Photo Courtesy Fox)

“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.”

article by Debra Birnbaum via Variety.com

‘Empire’s’ Lee Daniels Signs Multi-Year Overall Deal with 20th Century Fox TV

Lee Daniels Empire
Producer/Writer Lee Daniels (PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW H. WALKER/GETTY IMAGES)

Lee Daniels’ reign at 20th Century Fox Television will continue.  The “Empire” co-creator has signed a multi-year overall deal with the studio that will allow him to develop, write, direct and supervise new television projects under his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner. He will also remain an executive producer of the popular Fox drama.

“Lee Daniels has a gift for telling authentic, provocative stories that are both truthful and wildly entertaining,” commented Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden, who announced the news. “His casting instincts are incredible, whether he is discovering tomorrow’s stars or attracting the most accomplished performers to his projects. As a director, he elevates world class material to even greater heights, balancing heart-wrenching poignancy with surprising moments of levity that are over the top and fun. Quite simply, we love working with this inspired storyteller, and this deal is about extending and deepening our relationship.”

To say that “Empire” has been a win for Fox would be an understatement. The music industry-focused series, which stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, is the highest-rated broadcast drama in seven years.

Daniels serves as an executive producer on “Empire” along with co-creator Danny Strong, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo and showrunner Ilene Chaiken, who inked an overall with 20th Century Fox Television in May. Daniels also directed the pilot.

“I’m incredibly excited to continue my relationship with Dana and Gary, and the rest of the Fox team,” said Daniels. “I’m looking forward to developing content and finding alternative voices for both in front of and behind the camera.”

article by Whitney Friedlander via Variety.com

Eddie Murphy Joins Cast of Richard Pryor Biopic Directed by Lee Daniels

Eddie Murphy Beverly Hills Cop
(PHOTO: GABRIEL OLSEN/FILMMAGIC)

Eddie Murphy is in talks to join the cast of Lee Daniels’ untitled Richard Pryor biopic, sources confirm.  He will play the late comedian’s father, LeRoy “Buck Carter” Pryor, a boxer and WWII veteran, in the Weinstein Co. drama.

Mike Epps is attached to star as the legendary comedian.

Daniels teased the Murphy casting Thursday night on Instagram with a photo of himself and the actor.

Murphy, who recently appeared in the “SNL” 40th Anniversary special, grew up idolizing and impersonating Pryor as a comedian in the ’70s.

“Richard’s the one that made me want to do comedy,” he previously said. “When I was little I used to sneak into my basement and put his albums on.”

Daniels is riding the success of his hit TV drama “Empire,” which Fox just renewed for a second season. He also directed “The Butler” for the Weinstein Co.

Murphy can be seen next in the culinary drama “Cook.”

article via Variety.com

In 5th Week of Airing, Fox’s “Empire” Breaks 23-Year Ratings Record

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Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard and creator/writer/executive producer Lee Daniels speak onstage during the ‘Empire’ panel discussion at the FOX portion of the 2015 Winter TCA Tour at the Langham Hotel on January 17, 2015 in Pasadena, Calif.

Empire, the hip-hop drama that stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, has broken a ratings record that stood for more than 23 years, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The show is averaging 14 million viewers and a strong 5.6 rating among adults 18-19, so far for the first two weeks of the season with total DVR data available, the report notes. Fox says the show is the only primetime scripted series to grow in total viewers over each of its first five telecasts since at least 1991 and is the strongest hour-long show this season, the news outlet reports.

While the record may have stood for longer than that, the report notes, Nielsen revised its measuring system 23 years ago “and so comparisons can only be properly calculated that far back.”

Further to its credit, Empire is technically the only series—not just scripted—to have earned such an accomplishment, the entertainment news site writes. ABC’s game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire grew through each of its first five telecasts in 1999, but they were technically considered “specials” when the show first started instead of regular episodes, according to the news outlet.

article by Lynette Holloway via theroot.com