Tag: Shonda Rhimes

Joe Morton Promoted to Series Regular on “Scandal”

article by EURweb via blackamericaweb.com

Papa Pope is boosting his presence on “Scandal.”

The Shonda Rhimes drama has promoted Joe Morton from recurring to series regular, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Morton stars as Rowan (aka Eli Pope), the former head of black-ops group B613. He was revealed in the season two finale as Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) father. The Broadway alum and former Tony nominee has had a recurring guest role since season two and won an Emmy in 2014 for the role.

The series briefly lost Morton last year after he booked a series regular role in TNT drama Proof and had a guest spot on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. He returned to Scandal after Proof was canceled following its freshman run.

Morton becomes Scandal’s newest series regular and joins Portia de Rossi (Elizabeth North) who was promoted at the end of season four; and Cornelius Smith Jr., who guest starred last season as Marcus Walker and was brought in to be the show’s newest gladiator at Pope & Associates.

Morton recently won an NAACP Image Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role on “Scandal.”

Channing Dungey Makes TV History, Becomes 1st African-American Network President

Channing Dungey
New ABC President Channing Dungey (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

Television history and black history has crossed paths today.

Channing Dungey, executive VP of drama at ABC, was today named entertainment president of ABC, replacing Paul Lee, who was removed after a reported power struggle with Disney/ABC Television President Ben Sherwood, according to reports.

Dungey is now the first African-American woman to lead a major broadcast network. The ABC veteran, known by industry insiders as the Shonda Rhimes’ whisperer, will now report directly to Sherwood.

“Channing is a gifted leader and a proven magnet for top creative talent, with an impressive record of developing compelling, breakthrough programming that resonates with viewers,” said Sherwood. “We thank Paul for his many accomplishments at ABC and his devotion to the ABC brand, and we wish him continued success in the future.”

Dungey, a UCLA grad who’s been with the network since 2009 (and Disney since 2004), is credited with developing many of ABC’s successful dramas, including “Scandal,” “Quantico,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” and “American Crime,” according to Variety.

Said Dungey, “I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity. And I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend. I’ve had the great honor of working alongside the talented team at ABC for many years and look forward to starting this exciting new chapter with them.”

Dungey began her career as a development assistant at 20th Century Fox-based Davis Entertainment, and did stints at other companies including Steamroller Productions and Warner Bros.

Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2016/02/apollonia-calls-vanitys-death-the-end-of-an-era-for-me/#Ff0TQ4cW3ec6B2x4.99

Debbie Allen, Tracee Ellis Ross and Nina Shaw To Be Honored At ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood Event

BWIH 2016
Nina Shaw, Tracee Ellis Ross and Debbie Allen (photo via essence.com)

From Essence.com:  ESSENCE is gearing up to honor and celebrate three bright talents in entertainment for our 9th annual Black Women in Hollywood event.

Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross will take home the Fierce & Fearless award, iconic director, producer and actress Debbie Allen is being honored with the Legend award, and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw will be presented with the Lincoln Power award.

In a climate where the conversation surrounding the roles, contributions and recognition of African-Americans in Hollywood is heavily charged, ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca points out the importance of the event.

“We are delighted to continue the tradition of honoring exceptionally talented women who are making significant contributions as creators and performers in Hollywood. At a time when the conversation about diversity in Hollywood remains prevalent, recognizing the indomitable power and presence of Tracee Ellis Ross, Debbie Allen and Nina Shaw at our annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon embraces an inclusive and diverse Hollywood community.”

The Black star power doesn’t end with the phenomenal honorees! The event will also feature appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, Nick Cannon, Ryan Coogler and Zendaya to name a few.

Fans can get full access to the event by tuning into the live stream on ESSENCE.com starting at 12:15 p.m. PT/3:15 p.m ET on February 25.

Black Women in Hollywood be televised as an ESSENCE and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network special airing Saturday, February 27 at 10 p.m ET/PT on OWN.

Shonda Rhimes to Receive Norman Lear Award From Producers Guild of America

Shonda Rhimes (Photo Courtesy of PMK)

Prolific producer Shonda Rhimes will receive the 2016 Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television at the 27th annual Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Rhimes is the executive producer of ABC hits including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder and Private Practice. She previously received the Norman Felton Award for outstanding producer of episodic television drama from the Producers Guild for her work on Grey’s Anatomy.

“Shonda Rhimes is one of the most passionate and insightful storytellers in entertainment today. Her pioneering work on Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How o Get Away With Murder has redefined the role of women in media and spurred the debate about diversity in television,” said co-chairs Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd in a statement. “Like the intelligent, strong, and fearless characters she creates, Shonda is a true force to be reckoned with and we are privileged to honor her with this year’s Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.”

Added Rhimes: “To be the recipient of an award bestowed upon me by my peers in the PGA is truly an honor. The fact that the award is named after a legendary producer whose work has had such an inspiring effect on my growth as a writer is genuinely gratifying. I couldn’t be more grateful for this special recognition.”

Last year the same award went to Rhimes’ fellow Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Mark Gordon. Previous recipients include Chuck Lorre, J.J. Abrams, Don Mischer, Dick Wolf, Jerry Bruckheimer, John Wells, Lorne Michaels, David L. Wolper, Don Hewitt, Garry K. Marshall, Aaron Spelling, Steven Bochco, David E. Kelley, Mark Burnett and Norman Lear himself.

Rhimes’ big-screen credits include Crossroads and The Princess Diaries 2. Her first book, Year of Yes, comes out Nov. 10.

article by Kate Stanhope via hollywoodreporter.com

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Writer Zoanne Clack and Shondaland Sell Baghdad-Set Military Drama Project to ABC

Zoanne Clack ABC
Zoanne Clack (photo COURTESY OF ABC)

ABC has bought a Baghdad-set military drama project from “Grey’s Anatomy” veteran Zoanne Clack and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland production company.

The untitled show is set circa 2004 among an U.S. Army Medevac team who work out of a base camp in the Iraqi capital. The series revolves around team members who “get on each other’s nerves, sleep with the wrong people, navigate ‘office’ politics and party like there’s no tomorrow.”

Clack is writing the script for ABC Studios and Shondaland. Clack, Rhimes and Shondaland’s Betsy Beers are exec producing for ABC Studios, where Shondaland is based.

Clack has worked her way up the ranks at “Grey’s Anatomy” since that show’s inception, rising from story editor to executive producer. She’s repped by CAA and manager Alan Rautbort at Circle of Confusion.

Shondaland has two comedy projects and another drama in the development pipeline this year at ABC.

article by Cynthia Littleton via variety.com

The New York Times Magazine Features Claudia Rankine Article “The Meaning of Serena Williams: On Tennis and Black Excellence”

Serena Williams cover
Serena Williams (CHRISTOPHER GRIFFITH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor-in-Chief
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor-in-Chief

Award-winning poet, playwright and professor Claudia Rankine has authored a cover article for the New York Times Magazine on tennis great Serena Williams.  “The Meaning of Serena Williams: On Tennis and Black Excellence” was digitally published yesterday, a week before the start of the U.S. Open and Williams’ opportunity to not only achieve a Grand Slam (winning all four major tennis tournaments in one calendar year) but also tie Steffi Graf‘s record of most Grand Slam titles won in the modern era (22) by a female.

It seems with this article the New York Times is accomplishing two things – finally hiring a black female writer to write about a prominent black female (remember the Shonda Rhimes “Angry Black Woman” debacle authored by Alessandra Stanley last September?) and attempting to make up for the poorly-received article written in July of this year by Ben Rothberg that was considered to be “body shaming” of muscular female athletes and Serena Williams specifically.

But whatever the intentions, we are happy for the existence of Rankine’s piece, the thoughtful analysis of racism, black excellence, and Serena’s career that it makes, and mostly, because we are rooting HARD for Serena to take the title and make even more history.  Check out an excerpt from the article below:

“The Meaning of Serena Williams” by Claudia Rankine

There is a belief among some African-Americans that to defeat racism, they have to work harder, be smarter, be better. Only after they give 150 percent will white Americans recognize black excellence for what it is. But of course, once recognized, black excellence is then supposed to perform with good manners and forgiveness in the face of any racist slights or attacks. Black excellence is not supposed to be emotional as it pulls itself together to win after questionable calls. And in winning, it’s not supposed to swagger, to leap and pump its fist, to state boldly, in the words of Kanye West, ‘‘That’s what it is, black excellence, baby.’’

Imagine you have won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, with only four losses in your 25 appearances in the finals. Imagine that you’ve achieved two ‘‘Serena Slams’’ (four consecutive Slams in a row), the first more than 10 years ago and the second this year. A win at this year’s U.S. Open would be your fifth and your first calendar-year Grand Slam — a feat last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988, when you were just 6 years old. This win would also break your tie for the most U.S. Open titles in the Open era, surpassing the legendary Chris Evert, who herself has called you ‘‘a phenomenon that once every hundred years comes around.’’ Imagine that you’re the player John McEnroe recently described as ‘‘the greatest player, I think, that ever lived.’’ Imagine that, despite all this, there were so many bad calls against you, you were given as one reason video replay needed to be used on the courts. Imagine that you have to contend with critiques of your body that perpetuate racist notions that black women are hypermasculine and unattractive. Imagine being asked to comment at a news conference before a tournament because the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, has described you and your sister as ‘‘brothers’’ who are ‘‘scary’’ to look at. Imagine.

The word ‘‘win’’ finds its roots in both joy and grace. Serena’s grace comes because she won’t be forced into stillness; she won’t accept those racist projections onto her body without speaking back; she won’t go gently into the white light of victory. Her excellence doesn’t mask the struggle it takes to achieve each win. For black people, there is an unspoken script that demands the humble absorption of racist assaults, no matter the scale, because whites need to believe that it’s no big deal. But Serena refuses to keep to that script. Somehow, along the way, she made a decision to be excellent while still being Serena. She would feel what she feels in front of everyone, in response to anyone. At Wimbledon this year, for example, in a match against the home favorite Heather Watson, Serena, interrupted during play by the deafening support of Watson, wagged her index finger at the crowd and said, ‘‘Don’t try me.’’ She will tell an audience or an official that they are disrespectful or unjust, whether she says, simply, ‘‘No, no, no’’ or something much more forceful, as happened at the U.S. Open in 2009, when she told the lineswoman, ‘‘I swear to God I am [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat.’’ And in doing so, we actually see her. She shows us her joy, her humor and, yes, her rage. She gives us the whole range of what it is to be human, and there are those who can’t bear it, who can’t tolerate the humanity of an ordinary extraordinary person.

In the essay ‘‘Everybody’s Protest Novel,’’ James Baldwin wrote, ‘‘our humanity is our burden, our life; we need not battle for it; we need only to do what is infinitely more difficult — that is, accept it.’’ To accept the self, its humanity, is to discard the white racist gaze. Serena has freed herself from it. But that doesn’t mean she won’t be emotional or hurt by challenges to her humanity. It doesn’t mean she won’t battle for the right to be excellent. There is nothing wrong with Serena, but surely there is something wrong with the expectation that she be ‘‘good’’ while she is achieving greatness. Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.

To read the rest of Rankine’s feature on Williams, click nytimes.com.

Shonda Rhimes Adds Comedy Project “Splitsville” to Development Slate at ABC

Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes’ production company has sold yet another series to ABC.  Shondaland is teaming with “Trophy Wife” creators Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins to develop the half-hour comedy “Splitsville,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The comedy follows a group of single residents of a suburban cul-de-sac, who in the wake of a wave of divorces, join forces to raise their kids and get through it together.  Halpern and Haskins will write the script and executive produce alongside Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers.

The project marks a reunion for Rhimes and Beers with Halpern, who was an executive story editor/writer on “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff “Private Practice.”

article via eurweb.com 

Shonda Rhimes’ “Year Of Yes” Memoir to Be Published by Simon & Schuster this November

TV Powerhouse Shonda Rhimes
TV Powerhouse Shonda Rhimes

Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal/How To Get Away With Murder executive producer Shonda Rhimes will publish her first book with Simon & Schuster in November, according to an announcement today by VP/editor-in-chief Marysue Rucci. That sets up a date after the original rights deal was signed in November 2013.

In December of that year, Rhimes accepted a challenge to say “Yes” to the unexpected invitations that come her way for one year. In Year Of Yes she chronicles the powerful impact saying “Yes” had on every aspect of her life.

“It’s mind-boggling that the mega-talented Shonda Rhimes, one of the most admired and accomplished women in Hollywood, would feel the need to challenge her status quo,” Rucci said in the announcement. “But by saying yes for a year, she truly transformed her life for the better in every way. Year Of Yes is surprising, hilarious, poignant, and accessible. It’s easy to imagine this book inspiring a movement and we couldn’t be more excited to publish it at Simon & Schuster.”

article by Jeremy Gerard via deadline.com

Debbie Allen To Expand Her “Grey’s Anatomy” Role – Will Become Executive Producer & Director

Debbie Allen as Dr. Catherine Fox Avery on GREY'S ANATOMY
Producer/Actor/Director Debbie Allen

After appearing in the hit ABC Shonda Rhimes medical drama, and directing a number of episodes, Debbie Allen is getting ready to step into an even larger role, as an executive producer and regular director for the upcoming 12th season of the show, which actually hasn’t been officially renewed, but is obviously expected to be.

The ratings for “Grey’s Anatomy” continue to be strong for ABC, as part of the network’s booming Thursday night lineup, also known as Shonda night, given that all 3 drama series (“Grey’s,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder”) that air in primetime on that day, are all Shondaland babies. Also, ratings have apparently surged ever since (SPOILER ALERT) the show killed off one of its key players in Patrick Dempsey. Although it’ll be worth paying attention to see whether the momentum carries.

Debbie Allen has directed episodes of several different TV shows over the years, dating back to “Fame” in the 1980s, to “Jane the Virgin” and “Empire” most recently. This new deal ensures that she will be even more involved in the production of the series from here-on, while still also recurring as Dr. Catherine Avery.

The final episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” will air over the next two Thursdays.

article by Tambay A. Obenson via blogs.indiewire.com

Dee Rees and Shonda Rhimes Developing Historical Drama ‘Warmth of Other Suns’ For FX

Shonda Rhimes, Dee Rees Developing 'Warmth
“Pariah” and “Bessie” director Dee Rees (CINDY ORD/GETTY IMAGES FOR HBO)

The book chronicles the movement of some 6 million African-Americans from the south into the north and western regions of the country from the period of 1915 to 1970. “Warmth of Other Suns” tells much of the story through the eyes of three characters who made the journey in different decades. Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize winner for her work at the New York Times, earned a host of critical acclaim for the book.

The TV adaptation is in the early stages of development. FX Prods. is shepherding with ABC Signature, the cable arm of ABC Studios, where Shondaland is based. Rees is writing the adaptation and exec producing with Shonda Rhimes and Shondaland’s Besty Beers.

Rees most recently wrote and directed HBO’s Bessie Smith biopic “Bessie,” which bows May 16. She made her feature directing debut in 2011 with the Sundance hit “Pariah.”

article by Cynthia Littleton via Variety.com

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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