Nicole Ari Parker has landed a role in A Meyers Christmas, Universal’s comedy starring Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union. It revolves around an estranged family that is brought together for the holidays for the first time since the mother’s death. Parker will play Sonya, the loving wife of Jackson and mother of his two kids. Mo’Nique, Kimberly Eliseand Jessie T. Usher co-star in the pic, which is set to open November 11, 2016.
David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim) wrote and will direct A Meyers Christmas, which is produced by Will Packer and his Universal-based Will Packer Productions. Talbert also is executive producing alongside Lyn Sisson-Talbert, James F. Lopez, Union and Jeff Morrone. SVP Production Kristin Lowe and Creative Executive Chloe Yellin will oversee A Meyers Christmas for the studio.
Parker recurs as Katt on Fox’s freshman drama Rosewood starring Morris Chestnut and co-hosted the daytime summer talk show The Boris & Nicole Show.
The prognosis is good for Fox’s “Rosewood.” The medical drama starring Morris Chestnut as a charismatic Miami pathologist has been given a full season order.
The series has been the standout among Fox’s freshman series this fall, averaging a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.8 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates for its first three episodes. Fox has paired the show with “Empire” in the 8 p.m. Wednesday berth, which has benefitted “Rosewood” as its audience has consistently grown in its second half-hour as viewers await “Empire” at 9 p.m.
Todd Harthan is creator and executive producer of “Rosewood” for 20th Century Fox TV. Other cast members include Jaina Lee Ortiz as Beaumont Rosewood’s potential love connection, Detective Annalise Villa, and Lorraine Toussaint as his mother. It was recently announced that Taye Diggs would guest star on the series.
“’Rosewood’ has proven to be a real self-starter for us, which is a tremendous feat on this highly competitive night. Todd Harthan, Morris, Jaina, Lorraine and the entire cast and crew have done a fantastic job creating a gorgeous, sexy world that is the perfect complement to ‘Empire’,” said Fox entertainment president David Madden. “The upcoming episodes are so compelling as we build out the family dynamics, and with today’s order, we’re excited to explore the world of ‘Rosewood’ even further this season.”
The back-nine order brings the show to 22 episodes for its first season. At a time when many network dramas are opting for shorter episode orders, Fox is hoping “Rosewood” will hold up as a reliable procedural drama in the vein of “Bones.”
article by Whitney Friedlander w/reporting by Rick Kissell via Variety.com
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.
Thriller “The Perfect Guy” narrowly beat out horror film “The Visit” for first place at the weekend box office, picking up a leading $26.7 million.
“The Visit,” M. Night Shyamalan’s return to the shock and chills genre that made him famous with “The Sixth Sense,” was close behind with a sterling $25.7 million. Going into the weekend, both films were expected to pull in between $15 million and $17 million.
“The Perfect Guy” has more than doubled its $12 million budget in a single weekend, putting it on a path to profitability. The story of a successful lobbyist (Sanaa Lathan) who rebounds from a breakup by embarking on a new relationship with a Mr. Wrong (Michael Ealy) was backed by Sony’s ScreenGems division. The studio had a similar success on the same weekend last year when “No Good Deed,” a thriller with Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, debuted to $24.2 million.
“It’s ideal timing, because there’s not a lot of competition in the marketplace and you can really stand out with a slightly lower [ad] spend,” said Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution at Sony.
In order to bring in its audience while keeping costs at a minimum, the studio aggressively went after African-American moviegoers. It launched a BET Awards takeover for “The Perfect Guy” and also debuted a customized trailer to appear alongside “Straight Outta Compton” that was wordless save for a sultry rendition of “I Put a Spell On You.”
“We wanted to sell it as a sexy, taut thriller,” said Greenstein. The picture marks the first ScreenGems title he has handled the marketing campaign for since he was brought over to Sony from Paramount Pictures in 2014.
This marks the second TV casting for Rutina Wesley during this pilot season – the first, although not for a pilot, was announced a month ago, when she joined the cast of NBC’s “Hannibal” as a pivotal character from Thomas Harris’ “Red Dragon” novel, for the next season. She’ll play Reba McClane, a blind woman who enters into a relationship with the psychotic Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage), and helps soothe his murderous urges – at least at first. “Hannibal” will return to NBC this summer.
The “True Blood” actress has now landed a lead role in ABC’s cop drama pilot titled “Broad Squad,” which, inspired by real-life stories, follows the first 4 women to graduate from Boston’s Police Academy in 1978.
Wesley will play Joanne, a lesbian, described as strong, strict and reserved, who prefers to keep her personal life private, in large part because she’s gay. She’s also a hard worker – a character trait that’s influenced by the fact that she’s black and a woman, and believes that, given her skin color and gender, she will have to work 10 times as hard as her fellow squad members, in order to be recognized and move up the proverbial ladder.
Wesley joins a cast that also includes Charlotte Spencer and Cody Horn, who play 2 of the other “broads” in the “Squad.”
“Broad Squad” will be written by Bess Wohl (“CSI: NY”) which will be executive produced by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, Len Goldstein and Aaron Kaplan. Coky Geirdroyc will direct the pilot.
Wesley will next be seen on the big screen, alongside Michael Ealy,Sanaa Lathan and Morris Chestnut in Sony/Screen Gems thriller titled “The Perfect Guy,” which follows a woman (Lathan) who meets an IT expert (Ealy), who seems to be the perfect guy. But after a sexually-charged courtship, she sees a violent side of him and dissolves the budding relationship. In a jealous rage and fueled by insane revenge, he disrupts her life.
Morris Chestnuthas inked a 3-picture deal with Sony’s Screen Gems, that will see him act in, as well as produce projects for the studio.
He’s already booked for the upcoming thriller “The Perfect Guy,” which he co-stars in with Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy, and he’s now also landed a starring role in the psychological thriller “When the Bough Breaks,” joining Regina Hall.
To be directed by Jon Cassar, “When the Bough Breaks” (previously titled “The Surrogate”), tells the story of a couple who hire a surrogate to have their baby, but, as you might expect, things don’t go entirely as expected.
Director Cassar’s resume includes helming episodes of hit TV series like “24,” “Daybreak” (which starred Taye Diggs), “La Femme Nikita,” the most recently-broadcast “24: Live Another Day,” and more. He’s also currently finishing a western titled “Forsaken,” starring Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, and Demi Moore.
Production on “The Surrogate” is set for early winter, with Unique Features’ Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, producing.
Meanwhile, Chestnut’s 3rd project under his 3-picture deal with Screen Gems, will be called “The Syndicate,” from writer Cliff Dorfman (“Entourage”), which Chestnut is producing.
Although Thor: The Dark World hung on to the No. 1 spot at the box office this weekend, the big story was a stellar opening for The Best Man Holiday, which trounced all expectations to debut with a studio-estimated $30.6-million. Disney’s 3-D sequel Thor: the Dark World took in a solid $38.5-million, which represented an expected 55% drop from its opening weekend when it grossed $86 million.
The Best Man Holiday received a coveted average grade of A+ from moviegoers, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That means it joins an elite club of films that have enjoyed long and fruitful box office runs, including Argo, 42, The Help, The King’s Speech, The Blind Side and Titanic. Going into the weekend, the distributor Universal Pictures projected that The Best Man Holiday would take in a modest $17 million, while prerelease audience surveys indicated the film would start off with around $23 million.
“There’s no crystal ball in guessing this stuff,” said Nikki Rocco, Universal’s president of distribution. “It was fair to think this film— where 87% of the audience was African American—would open in the high teens.” That it nearly doubled that estimate is “a phenomenal result,” said Rocco. “I would never have thought in my most non-lucid moment to expect this — the picture only cost $17-million.” Thanks to the A+ CinemaScore, Rocco says she believes the film will eventually reach a broader audience.
The Best Man Holiday, which is about a group of friends gathering for Christmas, is a sequel to 1999’s The Best Man which grossed $34 million. Both films were directed by Malcolm D. Lee and star a number of the same actors, including Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard and Nia Long.
This week, Universal Pictures released the official trailer to The Best Man Holiday, the upcoming sequel to the 1999 film, The Best Man. Writer/director Malcolm D. Lee is at the helm again, and he has reunited his all-star cast of Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun, Harold Perrineau, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall for a story set fifteen years later during the Christmas holidays. The movie is scheduled for wide release on November 15.
The Best Man is returning to the big screen this fall. The gang is back and the star-studded cast reunites to film Best Man Holiday. In it, Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall come together fifteen years later.
Universal Pictures has released the teaser trailer to the sequel of the 1999 film, which are both directed and written by Malcolm D. Lee.
The film picks up when the group of friends reunite over the Christmas holidays where rivalries are ignited and romances spark. The movie is scheduled to hit theaters on November 15.