“Murder Town,” a legal drama to be exec produced by star Jada Pinkett Smith, has landed at ABC as a put pilot, Variety has learned.
The potential series hails from A+E Studios and marks the first project to be sold to a network outside the A+E Networks portfolio.
Pinkett Smith will star as a complicated prosecutor who makes history as Wilmington, Delaware’s first African-American District Attorney. She finds herself confronted by old loyalties and loves, a shocking revelation about her murdered husband and a polarizing, racially-charged case that threatens to burn her and her city to the ground.
Barry Schindel (“Intelligence,” “Numb3rs”) penned the pilot, which is based on an original script by Rob Fresco. “Murder Town” marks a reunion for the writer/producer and ABC, as he has worked on the network’s long-running crime drama “Castle.”
Schindel will executive produce with Pinkett Smith, plus Miguel Melendez. Overbrook Entertainment will produce with A+E Studios.
Sony has picked up rights to The Harlem Hellfighters, Max Brooks‘ upcoming graphic novel based on the true story of an African American WWI Army infantry unit. Caleeb Pinkett and James Lassiter will produce for Overbrook Entertainment. Hitting stores on April 1st via Broadway Books, The Harlem Hellfighters is based on the Army’s 369th infantry division, an African-American unit fighting in Europe during World War I. Breaking down racial barriers, the unit spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and went on to win countless decorations.
Though they returned to the U.S. as heroes, the unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The story chronicles their journey from the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France. The graphic novel was illustrated byCaanan White. Brooks will also adapt the script.
Brooks, the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, wrote the book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, which was adapted for Paramount’s Brad Pitt-starring film that grossed $202 million domestically and $540 million worldwide. A sequel is currently in development.
Fox’s Batman prequel has found another villain: Jada Pinkett Smith has been tapped to play Gotham’s Fish Mooney, a sadistic gangster with street smarts and a short temper. Based on the DC Comics characters and written by The Mentalist’s Bruno Heller, the one-hour drama series from Warner Bros. TV focuses on a younger version of Batman ally James Gordon (Ben McKenzie). Other cast members include Donal Logue as Detective Harvey Bullock, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Essen, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth and Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot (better known as the Penguin). Heller is executive producing with director Danny Cannon (CSI). Smith, who starred in TNT’s HawthoRNe and executive produces The Queen Latifah Show, is represented by Paradigm, Overbrook Entertainment and Tencer & Associates PR.
The DJ that has brought dance music fans songs including “Feel So Close” and “We Found Love” is making a move towards the small screen. According to Variety.com, HBO is developing a half-hour comedy with Calvin Harris that takes place in the world of electronic music entitled Higher. Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh on board to write the pilot, with a starry lineup of executive producers including Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay Z, James Lassiter, Tyran Smith, Miguel Melendez, Mark Gillespie and Dean Wilson, along with Harris.
No word yet on the plot of Higher, which will hail from Overbrook Entertainment, Three Six Zero Group and Marcy Media. Jay-Z and Will Smith have previously collaborated on the Broadway production Fela, and are also teamed on forthcoming feature musical Annie.
Queen Latifah is returning to daytime television with The Queen Latifah Show, a daily syndicated talk show which will air on CBS TV stations across the country starting in fall 2013, according to Deadline.com. Produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, in conjunction with Latifah’s Flavor Unit Productions and Sony TV, this is Latifah’s second foray into daytime talk – the first occurring from 1999-2001 on the identically-titled The Queen Latifah Show. The new show intends to feature celebrity interviews, human interest stories, comedy, pop culture and musical performances. It is also expected to showcase Queen Latifah’s talents, blending comedy and music into her hosting duties.
Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, producer Sidra Smith, director Shola Lynch, actors Will Smith, Angela Davis and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the ‘Free Angela & All Political Prisoners’ premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 9, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
From Ebony.com: Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, a new film by Shola Lynch, in which Angela Davis, 68, speaks openly for the first time in forty years about the tumultuous events of her twenties, debuted at this week’s Toronto International Film Festival. Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, who introduced the doc at the festival, just announced that their Overbrook Entertainment have partnered with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation as executive producers of the documentary about the scholar who came to embody Black power and Black radical feminism. Continue reading “Angela Davis Documentary Brings Life Of Revolutionary To Big Screen”→