Tag: Maya Rudolph

HBO Greenlights “Brothers in Atlanta”, Comedy Series from “Late Night” Writers Diallo Riddle & Bashir Salahuddin

Brothers in Atlanta Diallo Riddle Bashir
Director Tim Story (l); writer/producer/stars Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin (Photo: Variety.com)

According to Variety.com, HBO has picked up to series “Brothers in Atlanta,” a comedy from “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” writers Diallo RiddleBashir Salahuddin and “Late Night” Executive Producer Lorne Michaels.

The series follows struggling entertainers and best friends Langston and Moose (played by Riddle and Salahuddin), as they try to navigate relationships and life in the black mecca of Atlanta, GA.  Langston, an Atlanta native, is an aspiring DJ whose career has stalled due to his lack of focus and get-rich schemes, and Moose, who’s brand new to Atlanta, is a perennial backup singer with dreams of being in the spotlight.

“SNL” alumna Maya Rudolph and Jaden Smith (“Karate Kid”) are set to guest star in the series.  Rudolph will play Shirle, Moose’s demanding diva boss, and Smith will play Curtis, Langston’s rowdy teenage neighbor with unpredictable interests and a suspicious income.

The starring duo, Riddle and Salahuddin, will executive produce with Lorne Michaels and Andrew Singer for Broadway Video, plus the Story Co.’s Tim Story. Field Entertainment’s Jeff Field, Doug Griffin of the Story Co. and Anna Dokoza will also produce.

Story (“Think Like a Man,” “Ride Along,” “Fantastic Four”), who directed the pilot, will direct more episodes throughout the series.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Maya Rudolph’s NBC Variety Show: Guest List and Air Date Revealed

(Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
(Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Maya Rudolph will make her return to NBC next month with some song and sketch — not to mention, a little help from her famous friends.  The network has slated her variety show special, titled The Maya Rudolph Show, to air on May 19 at 10 p.m., and the Saturday Night Live veteran — who recently starred in another Peacock comedy series, Up All Night — will be joined by Kristen Bell, Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Craig Robinson, Sean Hayes, and Chris Parnell.

Janelle Monáe will pop up as the musical guest, while Raphael Saadiq will serve as bandleader.  The one-hour special, which also could double as the pilot for an ongoing series, is being executive produced by Lorne Michaels.

article by Dan Snierson via insidetv.ew.com

African-American Female Writers Leslie Jones and LaKendra Tookes Join Writing Staff of “Saturday Night Live”

Leslie Jones
Leslie Jones
LaKendra Tookes

According to Variety.com, NBC sketch-comedy show Saturday Night Live added Leslie Jones and LaKendra Tookes, two comedians who recently auditioned for the program, as writers for the late-night series. Earlier this week, the show announced Sasheer Zamata, a veteran of improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, would begin as a featured player as of its January 18 broadcast.

The two new writers took part in auditions recently held in different parts of the U.S. with the express purpose of finding a female African-American to join the show’s cast of “Not Ready For Prime Time Players.”

While the current cast of Saturday Night Live includes two African-American men – Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah – it has not had an African-American woman in the cast since Maya Rudolph, a comic actress of mixed heritage, was in the cast between 2000 and 2007.

The show has not featured many women of color during its history.  Yvonne Hudson, an African-American woman, was a featured player during the program’s 1980-1981 season.  Danitra Vance, SNL‘s first African-American female full cast member, joined the show for its 1985-1986 season, part of show creator Lorne Michaels’ return to the program after an absence of several years. Ellen Cleghorne joined the cast from 1991-1995.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

‘SNL’ Adds Sasheer Zamata, First Black Female Cast Member in Years

sasheer zamata

According to Variety.comSasheer Zamata will be the latest young comedian to join NBC’s Saturday Night Live,  Zamata will make her debut as an SNL featured player on Jan. 18, the late-night program’s first live show of this new year. Zamata is a University of Virginia alumna and trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Zamata will be SNL’s first black female cast member since the departure of Maya Rudolph in 2007. SNL and its producer Lorne Michaels came under fire in late 2013 over the cast’s lack of diversity, and the series poked fun at its own controversy during its opening segment when Kerry Washington hosted SNL in November 2013.  News broke at the end of the year that SNL was holding auditions specifically to find black female cast members to join the program in 2014.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

NBC Orders Maya Rudolph Variety Pilot To Air As Primetime Special Post-Olympics

Saturday Night Live alumna Maya Rudolph is returning to NBC with a new variety series project produced by SNL honcho Lorne Michaels, this time in primetime. The network has ordered a pilot for a variety series headlined by Rudolph. I hear the plan is to air the pilot as a special after the Winter Olympics. Rudolph is executive producing with Michaels, Erin David and Dave Becky. The project has been in the works for several months. When NBC comedy series Up All Night, in which Rudolph co-starred with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, did not go forward with the planned multi-camera revamp in February, Rudolph, along with her co-stars, began fielding pilot offers. Rudolph didn’t entertain them, indicating to studios and networks that she was interested in doing a variety show instead.

NBC was among several suitors who began pursuing the project, leading to the pilot order. This marks the latest collaboration between Rudolph and Michaels, who also produced Up All Night. Rudolph, daughter of soul singer Minnie Riperton, was one of SNL‘s most popular cast members of the past decade. Her seven-year stint produced a string of memorable impersonations and original characters that often included music performances, including her recurring gigs as Beyoncé Knowles, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand as well as Oprah, Donnatella Versace and Michelle Obama. Last year she made a triumphant return to SNLwith a very well received stint as host. Rudolph, repped by WME,3 Arts and attorney David J. Matlof, was recently seen in the features The Grown Ups 2 andThe Way Way Back.

article by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

Four African-American Actors Nominated for 2012 Emmys!

2012 Emmy Nominees (from left to right): Idris Elba, Loretta Devine, Maya Rudolph and Giancarlo Esposito

Congratulations to Idris Elba (“Luther”), Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”), Loretta Devine (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live”) for their 2012 nominations by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences!

Elba was nominated in the Leading Actor in a Made for TV Movie/Miniseries category, Esposito for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Devine for Guest Actress in a Drama Series and Rudolph for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.  The Awards show will air live on ABC on Sunday, September 23 at 8 PM, EST.