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    Taye Diggs Set To Return To ‘All American’ For Season 6 Guest Appearance

    (5/9/24) Taye Diggs is making a return to All American for one upcoming episode.

    The actor, whose character died in Season 5, is set to appear in the May 20 episode of The CW series, which will usher in the 100th episode on May 27.

    While canonically its been more than a year since the All American universe lost Billy Baker, Diggs only exited the series last season.

    His character died in Season 5, Episode 11, titled “Time.” Since then, the characters have been grieving Billy’s death in various ways, and Season 6 has largely focused so far on the ways everyone is trying to move forward without him.

    Details around how, exactly, Diggs will appear in the episode are being kept under wraps, and a logline for the episode has not been released quite yet.

    Season 6 of All American was recently expanded from 13 episodes to 15, which was intended to allow the writers to better flesh out the story and build toward a satisfying conclusion for this season. So far, there’s been no news on whether the series is renewed for Season 7.

    The series stars Daniel Ezra, Michael Evans Behling, Samantha Logan, Greta Onieogou, Bre-Z, Chelsea Tavares, Cody Christian, Monét Mazur, and Karimah Westbrook.

    All American hails from Warner Bros. Television and CBS Studios in association with Berlanti Productions, with executive producers Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Greg Berlanti, Jameal Turner, Sarah Schechter, Mike Herro and David Strauss.

    Shonda Rhimes Reveals The British TV Show She Wishes She’d Made Herself

    (4/14/24) Shonda Rhimes has made more than her share of era-defining TV drama, but there is one British classic she reveals she wishes she had made herself.

    Rhimes, the creator of Bridgerton which returns for a third season on Netflix in May, told The Times of London she enjoys watching other TV shows including Succession, Beef and The Bear, but there is one she wishes she had created –the UK’s longrunning sci-fi epic Doctor Who.

    She said: “I have been obsessed with that show for ever.”

    And when she met Doctor Who’s show-runner, Russell T Davies, credited with rebooting the show over a decade ago and bringing it to new heights? “I was so nervous.”

    Rhimes’s achievements are of similar size. Having created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, she told the newspaper she was persuaded to move to Netflix because she wanted to have fun – she didn’t mention the lure of a reported $150million deal – and said the streamer’s bosses told her, “Just make the shows you want to make.”

    They have been rewarded for their trust. On Bridgerton’s debut on Christmas Day 2020, it broke Netflix records becoming its most-watched English-language show. The second season broke that record two years later.

    Rhimes told The Times why she thought the show had found such a huge fanbase, with its offer of an antidote to the current world of dating apps and Tinder:

    “I think there’s this desire for something simpler, where there are rules to courting. We just said, how do you meet somebody? Well, back then you met somebody because you went to these balls, your parents talked and you had a dance. People seem to love that sort of order to a world, where the rules of love are so clear. There were rules of interaction, like a map, and that doesn’t exist anymore. There are no rules of engagement now in anything.”

    2024 SAG Awards Nominations

    (1/10/24) Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

    KHALID ABDALLA / Dodi Fayed
    SEBASTIAN BLUNT / Prince Edward
    BERTIE CARVEL / Tony Blair
    SALIM DAW / Mohamed Al Fayed
    ELIZABETH DEBICKI / Princess Diana
    LUTHER FORD / Prince Harry
    CLAUDIA HARRISON / Princess Anne
    LESLEY MANVILLE / Princess Margaret
    ED MCVEY / Prince William
    JAMES MURRAY / Prince Andrew
    JONATHAN PRYCE / Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
    IMELDA STAUNTON / Queen Elizabeth II
    MARCIA WARREN / Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
    DOMINIC WEST / Prince Charles
    OLIVIA WILLIAMS / Camilla Parker Bowles

    BEN AHLERS / Jack
    ASHLIE ATKINSON / Mamie Fish
    CHRISTINE BARANSKI / Agnes van Rhijn
    DENÉE BENTON / Peggy Scott
    CARRIE COON / Bertha Russell
    KELLEY CURRAN / Mrs. Winterton
    TAISSA FARMIGA / Gladys Russell
    DAVID FURR / Dashiell Montgomery
    JACK GILPIN / Church
    WARD HORTON / Charles Fane
    LOUISA JACOBSON / Marian Brook
    SIMON JONES / Bannister
    SULLIVAN JONES / T. Thomas Fortune
    NATHAN LANE / Ward McAllister
    MATILDA LAWLER / Frances Montgomery
    AUDRA MCDONALD / Dorothy Scott
    DEBRA MONK / Armstrong
    DONNA MURPHY / Mrs. Astor
    CYNTHIA NIXON / Ada Brook
    KELLI O’HARA / Aurora Fane
    PATRICK PAGE / Richard Clay
    HARRY RICHARDSON / Larry Russell
    BLAKE RITSON / Oscar van Rhijn
    JEREMY SHAMOS / Mr. Gilbert
    DOUGLAS SILLS / Borden
    MORGAN SPECTOR / George Russell
    ERIN WILHELMI / Adelheid

    BELLA RAMSEY / Ellie

    NICOLE BEHARIE / Christina Hunter
    NESTOR CARBONELL / Yanko Flores
    BILLY CRUDUP / Cory Ellison
    MARK DUPLASS / Chip Black
    JON HAMM / Paul Marks
    THEO IYER / Kyle
    HANNAH LEDER / Isabella
    GRETA LEE / Stella Bak
    JULIANNA MARGULIES / Laura Peterson
    TIG NOTARO / Amanda Robinson
    KAREN PITTMAN / Mia Jordan
    REESE WITHERSPOON / Bradley Jackson

    NICHOLAS BRAUN / Greg Hirsch
    JULIANA CANFIELD / Jess Jordan
    BRIAN COX / Logan Roy
    KIERAN CULKIN / Roman Roy
    DAGMARA DOMINCZYK / Karolina Novotney
    PETER FRIEDMAN / Frank Vernon
    JUSTINE LUPE / Willa
    MATTHEW MACFADYEN / Tom Wambsgans
    ARIAN MOAYED / Stewy Hosseini
    SCOTT NICHOLSON / Colin Stiles
    DAVID RASCHE / Karl Muller
    ALAN RUCK / Connor Roy
    J. SMITH-CAMERON / Gerri Kellman
    SARAH SNOOK / Shiv Roy
    FISHER STEVENS / Hugo Baker
    JEREMY STRONG / Kendall Roy
    ZOË WINTERS / Kerry Castellabate

    ‘The Gilded Age’ Renewed For Season 3 By HBO

    (12/21/23) HBO has picked up Julian Fellowes‘ The Gilded Age for a third season.

    The renewal comes just days after the Dec. 17 finale and follows solid ratings for Season 2 of the period drama. Total premiere-night viewing for the season grew for six consecutive weeks, culminating in a series high for the Dec. 17 Season 2 finale, according to HBO.

    “We’re so proud of what Julian Fellowes and The Gilded Age family have achieved, said Francesca Orsi, EVP, HBO Programming, Head of HBO Drama Series and Films. “From the costumes to the production design and performances, the show has captivated so many week after week. Along with our partners at Universal Television, we are thrilled to continue this grand tale for a third season.”

    With its strong performance and a Production Design Emmy win for its first season, The Gilded Age passed a stiff test to earn a renewal.

    In May Orsi told Deadline that the network was “having conversations regarding viewership relative to budget” while “assessing” several series, including sophomores Perry Mason, Winning Time, and The Gilded Age. “Each show has a job to do, given the price tag that we give to it, and there’s a viewership. component, and there’s a critical response element to it and, of course, the buzz nature of a show,” she said at the time. “It’s those elements that we are always keeping in mind and discussing relative to whether or not a show will continue.”

    Perry Mason and Winning Time were subsequently canceled after two seasons each. The Gilded Age outdrew significantly both of them in viewership and ranks among the most watched HBO series.

    Season two of The Gilded Age begins on Easter morning 1883, with the news that Bertha Russell’s bid for a box at the Academy of Music has been rejected. Through the eight episodes of the season, we watch as Bertha challenges Mrs. Astor and the old system and works to not only gain a foothold in Society, but to potentially take a leading role in it. George Russell takes on his own battle with a growing union at his steel plant in Pittsburgh. In the Brook House, Marian continues her journey to find her way in the world secretly teaching at a girls school while much to everyone’s surprise Ada begins a new courtship. Of course, Agnes approves of none of it. In Brooklyn, the Scott family begins to heal from a shocking discovery, and Peggy taps into her activist spirit through her work with T. Thomas Fortune at the NY Globe.

    Season 2 cast includes Carrie Coon, Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Morgan Spector, Louisa Jacobson, Denée Benton, Ben Ahlers, Michael Cerveris, Kelley Curran, Taissa Farmiga, Jack Gilpin, Simon Jones, Sullivan Jones, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Debra Monk, Donna Murphy, Kristine Nielsen, Kelli O’Hara, Patrick Page, Harry Richardson, Taylor Richardson, Blake Ritson, Douglas Sills, Erin Wilhelmi, Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, John Douglas Thompson, Ashlie Atkinson, Laura Benanti, Nicole Brydon Bloom, Christopher Denham, David Furr, Ward Horton, Matilda Lawler and Robert Sean Leonard.

    Fellowes serves as creator, writer and executive producer. Gareth Neame executive produces with David Crockett, who directs. Michael Engler, Bob Greenblatt and Salli Richardson-Whitfield executive produce. Sonja Warfield serves as writer/executive producer. The Gilded Age is a co-production between HBO and Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

    “There is much more story to tell with The Gilded Age. We’re delighted that HBO is giving fans another season of Julian Fellowes’ incredible storytelling,” said Erin Underhill, President, Universal Television. “The cast and crew put so much of their heart and soul into the last two seasons, and we’re so proud that all this hard work is paying off with another season…you won’t want to miss what’s next!”i

    ‘Origin’ Trailer: Ava DuVernay’s Epic Explores History, Tragedy, Resilience And Love

    (12/15/23) (Video) Neon has released the official trailer for Origin, Ava DuVernay’s ambitious adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s Pulitzer-winning book Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents, focusing the drama on Wilkerson and her book’s own origin story.

    Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor stars as the author in the pic, which hits theaters January 19, 2024 after it world premiered this fall at the Venice Film Festival.

    DuVernay wrote, produced and directed the film, which follows journalist Wilkerson, grappling with her own personal tragedy, as she sets herself on a path of global investigation and discovery to write her book. Despite the project’s colossal scope, she finds beauty and bravery while crafting one of the defining American books of our time.

    Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, Blair Underwood, Finn Wittrock, Jasmine Cephas-Jones and Connie Nielsen also star. Paul Garnes and DuVernay produced via her Array Filmworks.

    Neon acquired Origin just ahead of its bow in Venice, where DuVernay became the first African-American woman director in competition in the fest’s 80-year history.

    Check out the trailer above.

    ‘Cruel Summer’ & ‘Good Trouble’ Canceled By Freeform

    (12/8/23) The end has come for Freeform series Cruel Summer and Good Trouble. The Disney-owned cable net has canceled Cruel Summer after two seasons and Good Trouble will end with the second half of its upcoming fifth season, Deadline has confirmed.

    We hear Good Trouble will be given the opportunity to film some additional scenes for a supersized series finale episode to properly wrap up the series. Season 5B premieres on January 2.

    The series were Freeform’s last remaining scripted originals following the November cancellation of animated comedy Praise Petey.

    Set in an idyllic waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest, the final chapter of Cruel Summer followed the rise and fall of an intense teenage friendship. Approaching the story from three different timelines surrounding Y2K, the season twisted and turned as it tracked the early friendship between Megan, Isabella and Megan’s best friend Luke, the love triangle that blossomed, and the mystery that would impact all of their lives going forward.

    The series starred Sadie Stanley, Lexi Underwood, Griffin Gluck, KaDee Strickland, Lisa Yamada and Sean Blakemore. Paul Adelstein and Braeden De La Garza recurred.

    Cruel Summer hailed from studio eOne and was created by Bert V. Royal. Elle Triedman served as showrunner. Executive producers includedTriedman, Bill Purple, Tia Napolitano and Iron Ocean Productions’ Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple. The series was produced and distributed internationally by eOne.

    The Fosters spinoff Good Trouble followed the 20-something residents of the Los Angeles co-living space, The Coterie.

    In what now will be the final season, the roommates are set to face their toughest obstacles yet as they’re confronted with evolving relationship challenges and new career opportunities. Through highs and lows, romance and heartbreak, The Coterie crew will lean on each other while they navigate the next stage of adulthood.

    The series stars Cierra Ramirez, Tommy Martinez, Emma Hunton, Sherry Cola, Zuri Adele, Josh Pence, Bryan Craig and Booboo Stewart. It is executive produced by Joanna Johnson, Christine Sacani, Greg Gugliotta, Jennifer Lopez, Benny Medina, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Cierra Ramirez. Johnson also serves as showrunner.&

    Black Reel Awards Honorees Include Samuel L. Jackson, Colman Domingo, Shonda Rhimes And Ruth E. Carter

    (12/4/23) The 24th annual Black Reel Awards have set this year’s list of honorees for special recognition.

    For a third year in a row, the Black Reel Awards will fete a slate of special honorees, awarding the Oscar Micheaux Memorial, Sidney Poitier Trailblazer, Ruby Dee Humanitarian and its Vanguard Award among others. The latter will now be known as the Chadwick Boseman Vanguard Award to honor both the recipient and memory of the prolific Boseman, who died of cancer in 2020 at age 43.

    The first Chadwick Boseman Vanguard Award recipient is Colman Domingo, who this year can be seen portraying civil rights leader Bayard Rustin in the Netflix film Rustin and as Mister in the movie musical The Color Purple.

    The Black Reel awards committee also this year created the Diahann Carroll Icon Award to recognize outstanding work in television, and will give the inaugural Diahann Carroll Executive Award to Shonda Rhimes. The producer, author and screenwriter is known for her run of successful series including Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Station 19, Bridgerton and more.

    The Oscar Micheaux Memorial Award, which recognizes the work of an industry executive, will be awarded this year to costume designer Ruth E. Carter, the only African-American woman to win multiple Oscars. Her credits include Spike Lee projects School Daze, Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X and with Marvel and Ryan Coogler in both of the Black Panther movies.

    The Sidney Poitier Trailblazer Award, which recognizes the work of an outstanding actor, will be awarded to Samuel L. Jackson. The Ruby Dee Humanitarian award will be presented to Abbott Elementary star and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph.

    “I am pleased to salute the lifelong accomplishments of our 2024 honorees,” Black Reel Awards founder and CEO Tim Gordon said today. “However, I am most proud that our organization has taken the opportunity to honor the legacy left behind by a talent that seemed to be overlooked by others, Chadwick Boseman. The inclusion of his name along with the introduction of the Diahann Carroll award gives me great joy.”

    The 24th Annual Black Reel Awards will be broadcast on January 16, 2024.

    Shonda Rhimes Says She Was “Sort Of Waiting” To Be Called Out During Strike For Netflix Deal “That Started People Moving Into Streaming”

    (11/29/23) Shonda Rhimes, CEO and founder of Shondaland, who is behind such hit series as Bridgerton, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, said the writers’ strike, for her, “wasn’t complicated at all. “I consider myself to be a writer, first and foremost. So I was a writer on strike. And I was very aware that I [was] not on strike the way a lot of people [were] on strike,” she said.

    “You know, I don’t live in LA. So I wasn’t on the picket lines every day. I wasn’t going to lose my job, or my house, or my car, or not be able to pay my kid’s school tuition. But the strike was for those people, for the people who make much less as writers than I do, who are trying to get a living wage. And we’re trying to make sure that their futures are assured.”

    During a Q&A at The New York Times DealBook conference, she was asked if she ever worried about being blamed to some extent for moving viewers to Netflix as streaming services (led by Netflix) disrupted the television landscape. Streaming residuals were a big issue in both the writers and actors in the recent strikes. Rhimes was one of the first to sign a major talent deal with the company in 2017, jumping from her longtime home at ABC.

    “I will admit that I was sort of waiting for someone to say, ‘You made the first big deal that started people moving into streaming…And therefore, like, this is partially your fault.”

    She did not make the move for the money, which was substantial, but for a change and creative freedom. “I’d been making television at one place for such a long time, she said, referencing her long-time home at Disney. “And at the time, I remember The Crown was on Netflix [and] someone was telling me that they spent $12 million an episode on The Crown. And I thought, that’s an insane, amazing…And you could see that they could do things there that you can’t do on [broadcast] television. I liked the challenge of that.”

    She recalled a conversation with co-CEO Ted Sarandos “where I said, ‘I just want to make shows and be left alone’.” And she went, followed by Ryan Murphy and others. ”It started a big sort of chain of people moving to streaming.”

    On the economics of streaming, she cautioned, “It works for Netflix, but doesn’t work for anybody else.”

    Asked what she’s watching, she said, “I’m not watching television….I mean, I encourage everyone to watch Netflix obviously. But I have not watched narrative programming in a while. And I think it’s because I wanted to give my brain a break.” There’s “some really great stuff out there” and she doesn’t want it to influence her projects or writing. “But I also have been watching a lot more documentary programming, sports programming. I don’t know why, but that’s what’s interesting to me right now.”

    New celebrity narrators announced for this year’s Candlelight Processional at EPCOT

    (10/8/23) It’s almost the holiday season, and a new lineup of celebrity narrators will soon take the stage at Walt Disney World.

    The theme park announced the next group of storytellers for the EPCOT Candlelight Processional during EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays.

    The Candlelight Processional retells the story of Christmas along with a choir, orchestra and the Voices of Liberty.

    There will be nine new voices: Chrissy Metz, Luis Fonsi, Ann-Margret, Brendan Fraser, Eva Longoria, Joey McIntyre, Sterling K. Brown, Jordan Fisher and Audra McDonald join the fan-favorite tradition.

    Here is the complete schedule:
    Chrissy Metz: Nov. 24-Nov. 25
    Luis Fonsi: Nov. 26- Nov. 27
    Ann-Margret: Nov. 28- Nov. 29
    Simu Liu: Nov. 30-Dec. 2
    John Stamos: Dec. 3- Dec. 5
    Neil Patrick Harris: Dec. 6- Dec. 8
    Marlee Matlin: Dec. 9- Dec. 11
    Brendan Fraser: Dec. 12- Dec. 14
    Eva Longoria: Dec. 15-16
    Joey McIntyre: Dec. 17-18
    Sterling K. Brown: Dec. 19- Dec. 20
    Jordan Fisher: Dec. 21- Dec. 23
    Steven Curtis Chapman: Dec. 24- Dec. 26
    Audra McDonald: Dec. 27-Dec. 28
    Lisa Ling: Dec. 29- Dec. 30

    In addition to the Candlelight Processional, Disney World will have a new selection of merchandise, food offerings, beverages and decorations just in time for the holiday festivities at EPCOT.

    Shonda Rhimes, Lena Waithe And Matt Bomer To Be Honored At Human Rights Campaign National Dinner

    (9/25/23) Shonda Rhimes, Lena Waithe and Matt Bomer will be the honorees at the Human Rights Campaign’s National Dinner next month.

    The Oct. 14 event, to take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, also will recognize four transgender kids and teenagers, Grayson McFerrin, Libby Gonzales, Hobbes Chukumba, and Daniel Trujillo, who organized Trans Youth Prom.

    Rhimes will be honored with the National Equality Award, Waithe with the Visibility Award and Bomer with the Impact Award.

    HRC also is launching a new event as part of the weekend, the Equality Convention, which will take place the night before the dinner. The event will feature political and cultural figures as well as volunteers and other movement leaders to talk about LGBTQ+ equality.

    Kelley Robinson, president of HRC, said in a statement that the three honorees “are pioneers in their field and deserve to be celebrated for the immeasurable contributions they’ve made to the LGBTQ+ community.”

    In June, HRC declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States, citing the wave of legislation targeting LGBTQ+ rights. More than 525 bills were introduced in 41 states in 2023, according to the group.

    Taye Diggs Signs With A Management Co. & Global Artists Agency

    (9/20/23) Taye Diggs (Guiding Light), known for his five-season run starring as the beloved Billy Baker, former NFL player turned high school football coach, on CW’s All American, has signed with A Management Company and Global Artists Agency for representation.

    Diggs can next be seen leading the two-part BET+ film Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy based on the true crime story of businessman Lance Herndon. In the film, Diggs stars as Lance (Diggs), a successful Atlanta businessman, renowned in equal measure for both revolutionizing the city’s 911 system, and his womanizing ways. When he is found murdered in his own home, questions and allegations abound as to who might have wanted him dead.

    Diggs also is set to voice King Triton with Amber Riley as Ursula in Ariel, the Disney/Disney Junior animated series.

    Other TV credits include the series regular role of Dr. Sam Bennet in Grey’s Anatomy spinoff series Private Practice as well as the TNT serial crime drama Murder in the First as homicide inspector Terry English. He also had recurring roles in Ally McBeal, The West Wing, Will & Grace as Eric McCormack’s boyfriend in the show’s final season, The Good Wife, Rosewood, and Empire as city councilman Angelo Dubois, a love interest for Taraji P. Henson’s character.

    Notable film credits include Go, The Wood, The Best Man, House on Haunted Hill, Equilibrium, The Way of the Gun, Brown Sugar, and The Best Man Holiday among others.

    Diggs made his film debut in How Stella Got Her Groove Back starring opposite Angela Bassett as her younger love interest Winston Shakespeare. From there, he went on to build a successful career across film, television, and theatre. On the film side, Diggs portrayed The Bandleader in Rob Marshall’s film version of the Broadway musical Chicago. He also reprised the role he originated on Broadway, landlord Benjamin Coffin III, in Chris Columbus’ film version of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent. He continued his theatre career and went on to appear in Broadway musicals including Chicago, Rent, Wicked, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

    Diggs has served as a producer on several projects in addition to starring including the critically acclaimed UPN series Kevin Hill in which he plays the title character who juggles work as a lawyer while raising his ten-month-old cousin, and the ABC series Day Break in which Diggs’ Detective Brett Hopper relives the day he is accused of murder to discover the true killer. Diggs has also produced and starred in the films Til Death Do Us Part and Incarnation. He executive produced and hosted two variety specials alongside Ne-Yo and Eric Bellinger titled The Black Pack for The CW which featured music, dance, and comedy. He also executive produced and hosted the Hulu reality dating series Back in the Groove based on Digg’s original starring vehicle.

    Diggs is also an author and has penned five children’s books, Mixed Me!, Chocolate Me!, I Love You More Than…, My Friend!, and Why? A Conversation about Race..

    ‘How I Met Your Father’ Canceled By Hulu After 2 Seasons

    (9/1/23) There will be no third season for How I Met Your Father. Hulu has canceled the Hilary Duff-led sequel series after two seasons, Deadline has confirmed.

    News of the decision comes on the heels of Hulu also canceling popular comedy The Great after three seasons, and Disney+ not going forward with two new series and cancelling Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. after two seasons amid companywide streaming content cuts at Disney.

    In How I Met Your Father, written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, in the near future, Sophie (Kim Cattrall) is telling her son the story of how she met his father: a story that catapults us back to the year 2021 where Sophie (Hilary Duff) and her close-knit group of friends – Jesse (Chris Lowell), Valentina (Francia Raisa), Charlie (Tom Ainsley), Ellen (Tien Tran) and Sid (Suraj Sharma) — are in the midst of figuring out who they are, what they want out of life, and how to fall in love in the age of dating apps and limitless options.

    Aptaker and Berger executive produced alongside HIMYM creators/exec producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and the original series’ director/exec producer Pam Fryman, as well as Adam Londy. Duff served as a producer. 20th Television was the studio.

    A standalone sequel to CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, HIMYF featured cameos by original series stars Cobie Smulders (as Robin Scherbatsky) and Neil Patrick Harris (as Barney Stinson).

    Taye Diggs To Voice King Triton With Amber Riley As Ursula In ‘Ariel’ Animated Series

    (8/18/23) Hot dog! A signature Playhouse Disney/Disney Junior animated series whose catchy opening and closing songs are likely engraved into the brain of every parent with children born in the 2000s, is coming back. Disney Junior has greenlighted Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 2.0 (working title), a new incarnation of its former flagship series, to premiere in 2025. The announcement was made by Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, during the “Disney Junior & Friends Playdate” event at the Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim.

    Other Disney Junior programming news made at the event included the lead cast for the channel’s upcoming Ariel animated series, with Mykal-Michelle Harris (Raven’s Home) in the title role, Taye Diggs (Rent) as King Triton and Amber Riley (Glee) as Ursula. In the recent Disney live-action movie The Little Mermaid, the parts were played by Halle Bailey, Javier Bardem and Melissa McCarthy, respectively.

    Additionally, Cynthia Erivo, Valerie Bertinelli, Alan Cumming, Susan Kelechi Watson, Ana Gasteyer, Alison Pill and Dulé Hill have been tapped for recurring guest star roles in new animated series RoboGobo.

    A stop-motion Halloween special Mickey and Friends Trick or Treats also was announced, along with holiday-themed episodes of Disney Junior’ SuperKitties, Pupstruction, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse‘s successor Mickey Mouse Funhouse as well as Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends. Additionally, there were several premiere date reveals.

    The CG animated Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which aired originals from 2006-2016, anchored a Disney Junior – Live On Stage! show at Disney California Adventure.(You can watch the opening theme and the famous Hot Dog Dance closing song below at your own risk.)

    Disney Junior is the U.S. linear home of the Australian animated series Bluey, which just notched two consecutive weeks of over 1 billion minutes on Disney+ domestically as the streamer’s most watched program.

    “Disney Junior captures the hearts and imaginations of preschoolers and their families everywhere with stories and characters filled with magic, wonder, adventure and heart,” Davis said. “From providing early entry points into classic Disney franchises to introducing brand-new IP that becomes the latest kid obsessions, Disney Junior is always there with infinite opportunities to engage and play.”

    DISNEY JUNIOR’S ARIEL — (Premieres 2024 on Disney Junior and Disney+)
    Produced by: Wild Canary in association with Disney Junior
    Executive Producer: Lynne Southerland
    Producer: Ezra Edmond
    Supervising Director: Kuni Tomita
    Art Director: Chrystin Garland
    Story Editors: Norma P. Sepulveda and Keith Wagner

    Mykal-Michelle Harris (Raven’s Home) has been cast in the lead role of Ariel in Disney Junior’s Ariel, an animated musical series for preschoolers inspired by the beloved story of “The Little Mermaid.” Broadway, film and television stars Taye Diggs (Rent) and Amber Riley (Glee) will voice King Triton and Ursula in the series, which follows 8-year-old mermaid princess Ariel as she and her friends embark on fun-filled, action-packed underwater adventures throughout their Caribbean-inspired fairytale kingdom of Atlantica and beyond. In addition to Harris, Diggs and Riley, the series stars Elizabeth Phoenix Caro (The Christmas Chronicles) and Cruz Flateau (SuperKitties) as Ariel’s friends Lucia and Fernie, respectively, and Gracen Newton (Puppy Dog Pals) as Flounder..

    Shonda Rhimes On The Differences Between Working On ABC Versus Netflix; Reveals If Fans Affect Storytelling

    (5/14/23) Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, is opening up about the differences between working for a network like ABC and a streaming platform like Netflix.

    “They’re completely different engines,” Rhimes told Vulture in an interview. “ABC was a very powerful, very storied institution. There’s a ton of bureaucracy. The process was you get answered ‘no’ initially and then you have to find your way.”

    Rhimes continued, “Even getting Scandal to start what was live-tweeting, they were like, ‘Why would anybody do that? No.’ And then they came around to a ‘yes,’ but we just did it on our own until they saw it. We accomplished a lot in terms of exploring a woman’s right to choose, stuff I thought was just storytelling but turned out to be a real sort of quiet battle on my part to make happen on TV.”

    The Shondaland production company founder signed a multi-million deal with Netflix back in 2017, which she extended in 2021 to cover films, gaming and VR content, in addition to TV. As opposed to network television, Rhimes said that “Netflix was a baby in this business” when she started working with them.

    “They start with ‘yes’ and then figure out how to make something happen. And the attitude of a place that says ‘yes’ has a lot to do with your enthusiasm for doing the projects,” she added.

    In terms of budget between the two, Rhimes said she “was so obsessed with Netflix in the beginning” was because someone told her that The Crown had a budget of $12 million per episode.

    “I just couldn’t get over it. That is so much money. Think about what you could do with a much bigger playground,” Rhimes said.

    Most of the shows that Rhimes has created drive conversations on social media and with a vocal fan base suggesting ideas of what the characters should do next, things could get tricky. However, the producer and writer doesn’t let fans dictate her creative decisions.

    “I think I’m pretty famous for being a person who says I don’t pay attention to fans,” she revealed. “I don’t mean that in a bad way; I mean, the only way I know how to tell a story is to sort of be its keeper, and I therefore can’t take in all the outside influences from people’s reactions to the story. It doesn’t help me in figuring out a way to be creative in my job.”

    Tony Award Nominations

    (5/2/23) Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

    Jessica Chastain, A Doll’s House

    Jodie Comer, Prima Facie

    Jessica Hecht, Summer, 1976

    Audra McDonald, Ohio State Murders

    Taye Diggs To Star In True Crime Film Series ‘Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy’ For BET+

    (4/26/23) Taye Diggs is set to star in the true crime film series Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy from Mona Scott-Young of Monami Productions and Eric Tomosunas of Swirl Films. It is set to debut on BET+ later this year.

    Courtney Miller will direct, based on Ron Stodghill’s book Redbone: Money, Malice and Murder in Atlanta. Gregory R. Anderson will pen the script.

    Atlanta Playboy follows Lance (Diggs), a successful Atlanta businessman, renowned in equal measure for both revolutionizing the city’s 911 system, and his womanizing ways. When he is found murdered in his own home, questions and allegations abound as to who might have wanted him dead. An investigation into the murder is launched which reveals the truths and suspicions behind Lance’s professional and personal life. Was it a business rival, threatened by Lance’s bid for a big contract? Was it a scorned lover jealous of the place occupied in Lance’s bed? The film, much like the book, reconstructs Lance’s life as told by the various players in it.

    “Working in partnership with Mona and her team at Monami Productions to produce this film series is certainly a career highlight. This is the beginning of many collaborations that will emphasize important stories that will be told by an extraordinary producing team. We couldn’t be more excited,” Tomosunas said.

    Adds Scott-Young: “I am so excited to collaborate with Swirl Films on our first project, Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy. The film series is a captivating true life crime story that captures the unique culture of Atlanta. BET has always provided a platform for stories that are authentic and relatable and we are proud to be partnered with them on this project.”

    Scott-Young and Tomosunas executive produce, and Stodghill serves as co-executive producer with Stephanie R. Gayle of Monami Productions and Abbey MacDonald of Swirl Films. Ron Robinson and Keith Neal of Swirl Films serve as producers.

    Brian Rikuda and Devin Griffin also produce. Lorisa Bates and Marvin Neil serve as co-executive Producers. John Baldasare and Noelle Broussard serve as consulting producers all for BET Films.

    Taye Diggs guests on S.W.A.T.

    (4/24/23) “All that Glitters” – Following a string of violent home robberies, the team rushes to stop a crew targeting elderly victims. Also, Hondo’s longtime friend and former Marine squad leader Danny Wright (guest star Taye Diggs) turns to Hondo for help when his daughter goes missing, on S.W.A.T., Friday, May 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. Series star Jay Harrington directs.

    WRITTEN BY: Ryan Keleher

    DIRECTED BY: Jay Harrington

    Lady Gaga And Bruce Cohen To Co-Chair Joe Biden’s Revived President’s Committee On The Arts And Humanities; George Clooney, Jennifer Garner And Shonda Rhimes Among Members

    (4/13/23) President Joe Biden plans to appoint producer Bruce Cohen and Lady Gaga as the co-chairs of the revived President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

    Also on the list for the committee are musician Jon Batiste; Constance M. Carroll, president of the California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Association; actor George Clooney; Harvard professor Philip J. Deloria; M. Angélica Garcia, president of Berkeley City College; actress Jennifer Garner, art historian, museum director and curator Nora Halpern; bookstore owner and former congressman Steve Israel; producer-writer Marta Kauffman; producer Ricky Kirshner; actor Troy Kotsur; Bad Robot Prods. co-CEO Katie McGrath; Laura Penn, executive director of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society; artist and educator Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya; author and Stanford Professor Emeritus Arnold Rampersad; producer and author Shonda Rhimes; retired attorney and CPA Kimberly Richter Shirley; educator and journalist Horacio Sierra; writer and actress Anna Deavere Smith; singer-songwriter Joe Walsh; actress, director and producer Kerry Washington; and Pauline Yu, president emerita of the American Council of Learned Sciences.

    Biden announced last year that he was reviving the committee, which was disbanded during the presidency of Donald Trump.

    The committee, set up in 1982 during Ronald Reagan’s administration, advises the president and heads of cultural agencies on ways to elevate the importance of the arts, including through federal support.

    In 2017, remaining Obama-era members of the committee resigned in protest of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville riots. Trump did not renew the executive order for the committee.

    Biden issued an executive order in September reviving the committee.

    In the order, Biden pledged that his administration would “advance the cultural vitality of the United States by promoting the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services,” including when it comes to advancing equity, accessibility and opportunity. The order also pledges to “strengthen America’s creative and cultural economy, including by enhancing and expanding opportunities for artists, humanities scholars, students, educators, and cultural heritage practitioners, as well as the museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, colleges and universities, and other institutions that support their work.”

    A number of the members of the committee have ties to Biden, including as campaign donors and supporters. Along with Stephanie Cutter, Kirschner served as executive producer of Biden’s inaugural. Kaufmann hosted First Lady Jill Biden at her home for a midterm fundraising event in September. Batiste performed at a White House state dinner in December.

    During the Obama administration, Cohen also served as the entertainment industry liaison for Joining Forces, the initiative from First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to support military service members, veterans and their families. Lady Gaga performed at Biden’s inauguration, and traveled with him to support an initiative to address campus sexual assault.

    Julianna Margulies, Shonda Rhimes & Andy Cohen Among Celebrities Supporting ‘Let America Read’ Campaign Amid Book Ban Concerns

    (4/12/23) Chloë Grace Moretz, Julia Roberts, Connie Britton, Sterling K. Brown, Julianna Margulies, Selma Blair, Shonda Rhimes, Andy Cohen, and many other public figures are coming together to support the #LetAmericaRead campaign amid the book bans in some states in America.

    The initiative comes from CAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), in partnership with the non-partisan group Campaign for Our Shared Future.

    “History is clear: good ideas are strengthened through contest, as governments are through debate. Since time immemorial, book banning has been the refuge of leaders who fear that their arguments and writs cannot withstand scrutiny. Its violence is born of weakness. And we are not a weak people – fighting book bans is an act of patriotism and a show of strength,” stated Emmy Award-winning actress, Julianna Margulies.

    Between July 2021 and June 2022, 2,571 unique books that fairly address issues of race, gender, and culture in age-appropriate ways were at risk of being banned from classroom and library shelves by state or local officials.

    “I am a reader. I think all books have some value, but the life-changing books that have fought for that space in the school Canon of literature, they represent what has been so vital to America. Eli Wiesel’s books and “The Diary of Anne Frank” taught me the importance of never forgetting. And to keep tragedies alive in writing teaches the resilience we have. They went through it and they wrote about it so one day we won’t have to,” stated actress Selma Blair.

    States including Florida, Arizona, Iowa, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma, have proposed or passed legislation to eliminate some books. The book titles at risk include Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Beloved”, Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, and “The 1619 Project”, a Pulitzer Prize-winning report from The New York Times on the legacy of slavery in the U.S.

    CAA Foundation Executive Deborah Marcus says, “This current wave of book banning in the U.S. is an issue that we all need to be deeply concerned about. Librarians and teachers across the country are being targeted, threatened, and fired for putting books on shelves that are age-appropriate, historically sound, and reflective of society during the time periods in which they were set. The bans and these tactics pose a direct threat to the health of our entire educational ecosystem and to our democracy.”

    Campaign for Our Shared Future Executive Director, Heather Harding, Ed.D. added, “Books have the power to introduce us to new places, cultures, and perspectives. But right now students across the country are facing empty bookshelves in their classrooms and school libraries. Books that have been read for generations are being banned by extremists who appoint themselves judge and jury on what’s appropriate for everyone else.”

    To learn more about #LetAmericaRead, the dangers of book bans, and actions you can take, visit the website here.

    Ava DuVernay’s ‘Caste’ Adds Audra McDonald & Myles Frost

    (2/7/23) Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and Best Actor in a Musical Tony winner Myles Frost have joined the cast of Ava DuVernay’s latest film inspired by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of our Discontents.

    The two join previously announced cast Aunjanue Ellis, who is in the lead role, alongside Niecy Nash, Vera Farmiga, Nick Offerman, Connie Nielsen, Jon Bernthal and Jasmine Cephas-Jones.

    Written and directed by DuVernay, she is also producing alongside veteran collaborator Paul Garnes (Selma, Middle of Nowhere) of Array Filmworks.

    A bestseller and shortlisted for several awards, Wilkerson’s Caste examines racism in America through the prism of social, economic and cultural delineation and “pillars” of exclusion. Caste has been filming for several weeks in Savannah, GA. The formerly Netflix-attached Caste will move on to shoot in Germany and India later this year.

    The feature is financed by J4Am with sales handled by CAA.

    McDonald has earned six Tonys, more performance wins than any other actor, and is the only person to win in all four acting categories. On TV she starred in A Raisin in the Sun, Private Practice and The Good Fight. Her feature credits include Beauty and the Beast, Respect and The Object of My Affection. In 2016, McDonald was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. She’s a 2015 Primetime Emmy winner for Outstanding Special Class Program for Live from Lincoln Center.

    Frost won the 2022 Tony for his portrayal of Michael Jackson in the Broadway production of MJ the Musical and received a Grammy nomination for the cast recording.

    ‘Cruel Summer’: Season 2 Of Freeform Anthology Set For Summer 2023 Release

    (1/11/23) Freeform‘s breakout anthology series Cruel Summer is set to return for a second season this summer, featuring a new cast and a new mystery. On Wednesday, the network released a first look at the new ensemble.

    The cast includes Sadie Stanley, Lexi Underwood, Griffin Gluck, KaDee Strickland, Lisa Yamada and Sean Blakemore. Paul Adelstein will recur. Freeform hasn’t given a specific release date for the season yet.

    Set in an idyllic waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest, the next chapter of Cruel Summer follows the rise and fall of an intense teenage friendship. Approaching the story from three different timelines surrounding Y2K, the season twists and turns as it tracks the early friendship between Megan, Isabella and Megan’s best friend Luke, the love triangle that blossomed, and the mystery that would impact all of their lives going forward.

    The first season of Cruel Summer, which quickly became Freeform’s highest-rated series to date, debuted in April 2021. The story followed two young women: Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), the popular girl with a charmed life who one day goes missing, and Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelias), the nerdy wannabe who is accused of being connected to Kate’s disappearance. All signs point to Jeanette’s guilt, but is Kate really who she seems to be? Set over three summers and told through shifting points of view, the series challenges perception and follows how one girl can go from being a sweet outlier to the most despised person in America.

    Cruel Summer hails from studio Entertainment One (eOne) and was created by Bert V. Royal. Elle Triedman serves as showrunner. Executive producers include Triedman, Bill Purple, Tia Napolitano and Iron Ocean Productions’ Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple. The series is distributed internationally by eOne.

    ‘All American’ Renewed For Season 6 At The CW; Marks First Scripted Deal Under New Owners

    (1/11/23) The CW may be scaling back its scripted ambitions but it’s keeping All American.

    The network has handed an early sixth season renewal to the drama series, marking the first scripted renewal after Nexstar took ownership earlier this year.

    All American, which was The CW’s number one linear series in adult 18-49, most-watched series on digital and the largest show in total audience across all platforms, will launch its fifth season on January 23.

    It will then return for season six in the 2023-24 broadcast season.

    Deadline understands the series, which comes from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Studios, will continue to be produced in line with its previous seasons. This comes despite talk that the network is looking to cut budgets for scripted orders and floating a target license fee for drama series of $1 million dollar per episode going forward.

    The move also marks the first renewal since the hire of Brad Schwartz as President of Entertainment.

    It bucks a trend where a large number of The CW’s scripted shows are coming to an end including DC’s Stargirl, The Flash, Riverdale and Nancy Drew.

    Season five kicks off when Laura (Monet Mazur) throws Billy (Taye Diggs) a surprise birthday party, everyone comes together to roast Billy, but Billy has a looming decision hanging over his head. Spencer (Daniel Ezra) makes an effort to do what’s best for himself, hoping it helps Olivia (Samantha Logan) and him take a step towards moving on. Jayme (guest star Miya Horcher) offers some sage advice to Asher (Cody Christian) about his speech with JJ (Hunter Clowdus), but she ignores her own about watching out for red flags. Meanwhile, Jordan (Michael Evans Behling) and Layla (Greta Onieogou) get in their first fight over something neither of them could have predicted.

    All American is exec produced by Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, John A. Norris, Jameal Turner, Mike Herro and David Strauss.

    “Over the last five seasons, All American has established itself as one of the all-time CW flagship franchises,” said Schwartz. “All American is not only the network’s youngest series, but also the strongest performer when combining all our platforms. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, the entire creative team and the incredible cast for another season of captivating family drama.”

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