Tag: “The Wiz Live!”

Grammy Award Winner Mary J. Blige to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Mary J. Blige (Source: TARA ZIEMBA / Getty)

by Rebecca Rubin via variety.com

Mary J. Blige will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the recording category.

The ceremony will take place on Jan. 11 at 6201 Hollywood Blvd. in front of Eastown. Sean “Diddy” Combs will join Hollywood Chamber president and CEO Leron Gubler to unveil the star.

“Mary J. Blige is one of the most popular singers of our generation. Fans will be thrilled to see her star on the Boulevard as her career milestones are celebrated on this very famous sidewalk,” said Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

The Grammy Award-winning artist has recently been recognized for her acting work. Blige received Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for her role in Dee Rees’ period drama “Mudbound,” as well as a Golden Globe nom for best original song for “Mighty River.”

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Blige got her start in music by signing with Uptown Records in 1989. At 18 years old, she was the label’s youngest and first female artist. Her debut album, “What’s the 411?,” was executive produced by Combs and spun off hits including, “You Remind Me” and “Real Love.” Since then, she’s released 12 additional albums that have garnered nine Grammy Award wins from her 31 nominations.

Among her most popular songs are “Family Affair,” “No More Drama,” “Be Without You,” “Not Gon’ Cry,” “Love Is All We Need,” and “Seven Days.”

Her film debut was in 2001’s “Prison Song,” followed by Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.” She also starred alongside Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, and Russell Brand in 2012’s “Rock of Ages,” and appeared in 2013’s musical drama “Black Nativity.”

On the TV front, Blige has guest starred on “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Empire,” and “30 Rock.” She also played Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, on NBC’s musical “The Wiz Live!”

Source: http://variety.com/2018/music/news/mary-j-blige-hollywood-walk-of-fame-star-1202653233/

Queen Latifah and Jill Scott to Star in Lifetime’s Flint Water Crisis Movie “Flint”

Queen Latifah / Jill Scott (photo via madamenoire.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

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…”

Jill Scott is to play a real-life activist.

To read more, go to: https://deadline.com/2017/04/queen-latifah-betsy-brandt-jill-scott-marin-ireland-star-flint-lifetime-water-crisis-movie-1202069713/

Common to Star in ‘Black Samurai’ TV Series Executive Produced by RZA

Common Black Samurai
Common (DAVID FISHER/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Academy Award-winning rapper and actor Common is set to star in a television adaptation of “Black Samurai.”  The TV project is based on Marc Olden’s 1974 book series, which inspired the 1977 film of the same name. Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA is attached as an executive producer.  Producers are working on selling the project to a distributor. Once a network, cable or streaming venue is attached, the search for a writer and director will begin.

“Black Samurai” follows the story of Robert Sand (played by Common) who is rescued by a Japanese samurai master and trained for seven years. After suffering from vicious racism in the military, and seeing his teacher and fellow samurai killed before his eyes by terrorists, Robert Sand becomes a killing machine, out to destroy the corrupt powers who had taken the lives of his friends.

Producer Andre Gaines acquired rights to the book, and is executive producing the potential series, making it the first television show developed under his Cinemation banner.

“Robert Sand is like black Jason Bourne. Black Samurai is one of the most unique, timely and fun experiences I’ve ever read, while at the same time tackling some serious subjects around race and diversity,” said Gaines. “With ‘John Wick 2’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ coming up, Common was an obvious choice for the role, and I’m thrilled to have him on board. I believe he’s the next great American actor.”

Along with Gaines and RZA, Wu Films’ Mitchell Diggs and Diane Crafford are also exec producing.  I could not be more pleased that such incredible talent is attached to Marc’s work,” said Crafford. “This series has always been one of my favorites and Robert Sand, the Black Samurai, is a fascinating character who I can’t wait to see brought to life on the screen.”

Speaking of RZA, Gaines commented, “There is a long tradition and storied relationship between hip-hop and martial arts. Having RZA and the WuTang brand on board to executive produce will validate the series even more and mobilize the fans.” 

Aside from “Suicide Squad” and “John Wick 2,” Common’s acting career is on fire. He was recently seen in the latest “Barbershop” film and NBC’s “The Wiz Live” musical.

Click here to read the full Variety.com article.

Choreographer Fatima Robinson Lands Dance Drama Project Based on her Life at NBC

Fatima Robinson
Fatima Robinson

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.

article via eurweb.com

“The Wiz Live” Ratings Strong: NBC Musical Draws 11.5 Million Viewers

The Wiz Live! NBC
COURTESY OF NBC

It’s Also the Most-Tweeted Live Special Program on Record

Two years after NBC stunned the industry with huge ratings for its live presentation of “The Sound of Music,” the network was back at it Thursday night with “The Wiz Live,” which drew impressive numbers of its own. The event also set a Nielsen Twitter record as most social live special program in the more than four years of tracking such numbers.

Despite facing a highly-rated NFL game on CBS, last night’s live musical, whose all-star cast included Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Amber Riley, Uzo Aduba, Stephanie Mills and David Alan Grier, averaged a 3.4 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and about 11.5 million viewers overall from 8 to 10:45 p.m.,  according to preliminary Nielsen estimates. The only NBC entertainment series to fare better this fall is “The Voice,” whose season premiere averaged a 3.5/11 in 18-49 and 12.37 million.

According to Nielsen, roughly 269,400 people send 1.6 million tweets about “The Wiz Live!” on Thursday night and 6.4 million people saw those tweets a total of 128.9 million times. Last night’s production more than tripled the number of tweets for either “Sound of Music” (449,536) or “Peter Pan” (474,735).

Last night during the 8-11 p.m. EST window, global digital marketing technology company Amobee Brand Intelligence said “The Wiz Live!” attracted 1.374 million tweets during its three-hour telecast window — more than four times the number generated last year during the live telecast of “Peter Pan Live” (360,000). Roughly 30% of the sentiment was positive, 58% neutral and 13% negative — meaning the Twitter sentiment was 133% more positive than negative around the broadcast. Shanice Williams, the 19-year-old actress playing Dorothy, scored especially well, with only 2% of the sentiment surrounding her performance considered negative.

As expected, “The Wiz Live!” fared especially well in markets with large African-American populations. While the overall household average in Nielsen’s 56 metered markets was 7.9, the top scores came in Richmond (16.1), Norfolk (15.0), Baltimore (14.8), Washington, D.C. (13.2) and Atlanta (13.2). Joining D.C. and Atlanta as top-10 markets soaring above the national average were Philadelphia (10.3), New York (10.2) and Chicago (10.0).

article by Rick Kissell via Variety.com

“The Wiz Live!” Airs Tonight on NBC, to be 1st Live TV Program to Provide Vocal Description for Sight-Impaired

"The Wiz Live" on NBC, December 3 at 8pm EST/PST
“The Wiz Live!” on NBC, December 3 at 8pm EST/PST (photo courtesy NBC)

NEW YORK — When “The Wiz Live!” airs on NBC this Thursday, it will come alive for the blind with a voiced description of the broadcast’s sights and action integrated into its soundtrack.

NBC parent Comcast says this will be the first live entertainment program in U.S. history to be accessible in this way to those who are blind. The vocal description is a narration track interspersed between existing pauses in dialogue that describes the show’s visual elements such as facial expressions, settings, costumes and stage direction.

This enhanced broadcast of “The Wiz Live!” will be a pilot program available on local NBC stations where SAP (Second Audio Program) feeds are available. The service will be provided by Descriptive Video Works, which has provided more than 1,000 hours of live description for certain news and sports events.

“The Wiz Live!” premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. EST, with stars including Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, David Alan Grier, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Uzo Aduba and Common, as well as Shanice Williams as the young heroine, Dorothy.

article via accessatlanta.com