Move over, Barbie and Ken — Cookie and Lucious Lyon need some space on toy store shelves. Fans of Fox’s hit Empire will soon be able to purchase a line of collector dolls inspired by Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard’s beloved characters, doll maker Tonner-One World announced Thursday.
Although images of the actual dolls are not yet available, the announcement was accompanied by sketches capturing Cookie and Lucious’ signature looks. Clad in a leopard mini-dress and oversized fur coat, Cookie is seen putting one heel in front of the other, no doubt ready to fling one of them across the room should she feel the need. Meanwhile, Lucious exudes cool confidence in a vibrant purple suit paired with a light turtleneck. Continue reading →
LOS ANGELES — Regina King’s house has a cozy seat at the foot of a hill in a section of the Los Feliz neighborhood here. The house isn’t far from the street but fosters an aura of secluded serenity anyway: A grapefruit tree guards the property. Off the rear patio is a small room with a vintage Pac-Man console and a signed LP of Prince’s “Controversy” on the wall.
On a sunny January morning, Ms. King sat in the kitchen calmly as the finishing touches were being done on her hair and makeup. She was hours from a trip to the Critics’ Choice Awards. Getting dressed would happen later. In the meantime, she wore a black one-piece unitard that unzipped in the front.
It’s easy to imagine this scene playing out regularly in her kitchen. After 30 years in the business, starting as a teenage actor on the NBC sitcom “227” and continuing with a series of notable but supporting film roles, Ms. King has made her mix of hard candor and intense warmth an asset for dramatic television. In 2015, five years after she published a short but action-packed plaint in The Huffington Post criticizing the lack of inclusion at the 2010 Emmys, she won her first Emmy for her work as Aliyah Shadeed, the Muslim-American sister of a murder suspect on John’s Ridley’s ABC anthology series, “American Crime.” Continue reading →
Cast and crew of Empire onstage at Fox’s Empire ATAS Academy Event at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel on March 12, 2015, in Los Angeles (ANGELA WEISS/GETTY IMAGES)
Empire fans, rejoice! The hit Fox series has been renewed for a third season. Currently, countless fans are going through withdrawal because of the winter hiatus, so hopefully this news will put smiles on their faces.
Although the ratings of the second season declined, it seems as though the Fox network still has faith in the show. Of course, the renewal news comes on the heels of Taraji P. Henson’s win at the Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series—Drama.
Empire continues its second season on Wednesday, March 30, on Fox.
Fox’s “Empire” may be headed on its midseason break after a couple of more episodes, but the network hopes to keep its Wednesday timeslot warm by slotting a holiday music and variety special hosted by the show’s Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard.
The network announced Monday that “Taraji and Terrence’s White Hot Holidays,” featuring a special duet by Henson and Howard and modern performances of classic holiday songs, has been set for Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 9. Among the entertainment superstars scheduled as guests and musical performers are Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Jamie Foxx.
“Empire” is broadcast television’s No. 1 series this fall in adults 18-49, averaging a 6.8` rating in the demo and 16.7 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates. The show is scheduled to exit the airwaves after its Dec. 2 midseason finale, and won’t return until March 30.
“White Hot Holidays” is produced by Casey Patterson Entertainment, Don Mischer Productions, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard and Vincent Cirrincione.
Laurence Fishburne is set to play the lead role of Nelson Mandela in Madiba, a miniseries for BET Networks executive produced by the late South African hero’s grandson Kweku Mandela.The six-hour mini, directed by Kevin Hooks (Prison Break), is based on two Mandela books, Conversations With Myself and Nelson Mandela by Himself. Named afterMadiba, the Thembu clan to which Nelson Mandela belonged, the project tells the story of a younger Nelson Mandela during the early-60s as he deals with the political unrest engulfing South Africa.
Madiba will be produced and financed by Toronto-based Blue Ice Pictures and also produced by UK-based Left Bank Pictures and South Africa’s Out of Africa Entertainment in association with Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions. Blue Ice Pictures president Lance Samuels executive produces alongside Kweku Mandela of Out of Africa and Daniel Iron, Neil Tabatznik, Steven Silver, Andy Harries, Marigo Kehoe and Loretha Jones.
Pre-production will begin later this year, with production slated for early 2016 in South Africa.
“Nelson Mandela’s journey of political activism and leadership is deeply inspirational and we are proud to have the talented and award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne join Madiba to tell this triumphant story” said Stephen Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks.
Fishburne executive produces and co-stars on the ABC comedy series Black-ish andwill be seen next summer in Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice. He recently signed on to star in the A&E remake of Roots and is in production on Sony’s romantic sci-fi drama Passengers starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.
There have been a number of feature and TV movies about Mandela, with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner-turned-president portrayed by such actors as Morgan Freeman, Sidney Poitier, Idris Elba, DennisHaysbert, Terrence Howard and Danny Glover.
Debbie Allen rose to fame with “Fame,” serving as a director, producer and choreographer. She was also the first black woman to be Emmy-nominated in the dramatic lead actress category. More than three decades later, she has a recurring role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and is a frequent director — and now executive producer of the show. “It’s a little crazy, but what a great life,” Allen tells Variety. “I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof that somehow landed on all fours.”
What are your new responsibilities on “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 12, being a director, actor and executive producer?
I’m very involved in every episode, in terms of production design. I’m selecting the directors this season, looking over everything from makeup and hair to the actors’ concerns. I spend a lot of time with the writers, which I love.
How do you balance acting in an episode that you’re also directing and producing?
It’s actually how I started on “Fame.” I trained in acting, literature and theater, so talking to actors is something I’m really used to doing. That gives me a little bit of an edge sometimes. I know how to speak the actor’s language. On “Fame,” I started as Ms. Lydia Grant and I was the choreographer, but I soon became their favorite director because I knew how to shoot the dance and then I understood the acting. Doing it all at the same time is how I came into it.
Have you noticed a big change in your role on “Grey’s,” now that you’re an executive producer?
Very dramatic change. I’ve always been there as a director and somewhat of a den mom — it’s interesting; so many of them grew up on “Fame,” and I’ll never forget the first time I directed, Patrick Dempsey started singing “Fame” and doing jetes, and I’m like, “Stop it already. Stop it!” — so now, there are things that are my responsibility or things that I keep my eye on or things that I can mitigate. I’m responsible for a lot of things, which is a wonderful position to have. I’ve done this once before on “A Different World.” I was the executive producer and director on that show for five years. But this is different. It’s an hour, it’s in its twelfth season, but it feels like it’s brand new.
Speaking of Patrick Dempsey, how is the set different without him?
We had a great relationship. My nickname for him was “Dash” — Dash was the kid in “The Incredibles” that was running fast. He would come through the set like that. He was on the move. Racing cars defines him for real. Patrick is not there so it changes the dynamic of the story for Meredith.
How much will you be featured in this season?
Catherine Avery is still a guest star. She’s not a series regular, but I’m there so when they need me now — last year, they had to go and try to find me — they can take advantage of me, and it’s okay! I’m not mad about it.