According to Deadline.com, Queen Latifah and Jill Scott have signed on to the Lifetime TV movie about the Flint Water crisis.
Latifah will executive produce the project, reuniting with “The Wiz Live” and “Steel Magnolias” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “Steel Magnolias” was the network’s third-most-watched original telecast ever. Latifah will also portray a resident of Flint fighting to expose the poisoning of the community.
The script is inspired by the Time magazine cover story, “The Toxic Tap,” which “follows the story of three women from Flint who sought justice following the wrongdoing committed against the residents of the city who were unknowingly drinking and using lead-laden water. Their actions inspired a national movement for safe drinking…”
NBC is calling on three principals from its production of “The Wiz Live!” for a new drama.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network picked up a script from the TV musical’s executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan that’s based on the life of its veteran choreographer, Fatima Robinson.
Inspired by Robinson’s life as a dancer-turned-choreographer, the untitled drama is set in Los Angeles with early plans to set it in the 1990s, as dance begins to dominate pop culture on the streets and clubs that gave birth to hip-hop.
The project is in the early stages of development, according to THR. A writer has yet to come aboard.
Zadan and Meron will executive produce alongside their Storyline Entertainment banner’s Mark Nicholson and Tasha Brown, with the latter duo set to produce. Robinson will executive produce and serve as choreographer.
The drama marks her third go-round with Zadan and Meron following their collaboration on the Academy Awards, which producers told THR inspired them to enlist her to help stage NBC’s “The Wiz Live!”
“We worked with her on the Oscars and knew she was special,” Zadan told THR last week when he singled out Robinson’s contributions to helping to make the live musical a critical success. “We hired Fatima Robinson, who is not a Broadway choreographer, to do authentic black dancing. She comes from hip-hop and a lot of her point of view on dance is very gritty and authentic and raw.”
Fatima was behind the telecast’s most-tweeted moment during the song, when Ne-Yo “hit the dab” during his “Slide Some Oil to Me” performance. The moment drew 15,218 tweets per minute.
It looks like Uzo Aduba and Amber Riley are going to be playing sisters on NBC’s The Wiz Live!
Aduba will be playing Glinda the Good Witch, and Riley will be playing Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North and Glinda’s sister.
“We are so happy to welcome two actors we’ve admired and wanted so much to work with,” said executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron in a statement. “We look forward to showcasing the amazing musical talents of Amber and we are eager to introduce Uzo’s remarkable singing voice for those who know her solely as an extraordinary dramatic actress.”
These two stars join the already glamorous cast, which includes Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, David Alan Grier and rising star Shanice Williams.
The Wiz Live! airs on Thursday, December 3 on NBC.
According toVariety.com, NBC has announced it will make its next live musical television event a remake of the 1975 Tony Award-winner “The Wiz.” The remake will air on December 3.
Opening in 1975, “The Wiz” ran for four years on Broadway and won seven Tonys, including best musical. It retells the classic story of “The Wizard of Oz” in an African-American context.
In 1978, the musical was adapted into a movie produced by Motown and starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and original Broadway cast member Ted Ross. NBC’s announcement of the holiday television event comes at a time when broadcast networks are setting more diversified roles and casting more and more actors of color on TV, following the success of Fox’s “Empire” and ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” among other series.
“The Wiz” marks NBC’s third such production, following the success of “The Sound of Music Live!,” starring Carrie Underwood, and “Peter Pan Live!,” starring Allison Williams as the title character.
“The Wiz” will be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division. After the television event, the musical will make its Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season, also presented by Cirque du Soleil.