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BGN News Beat: The Week’s Biggest Headlines

BGN News Beat: The Week’s Biggest Headlines

BGN News Beat

What’s going on in the TV world?

FX’s Atlanta returns for its second season, entitled Robbin Season, next month. This season takes place during the holidays. “It’s a tense and desperate time. We wanted it to be a metaphor for our characters,” said executive producer/writer Stephen Glover. As we see in the trailer there are moments of lightness and levity balanced by darker scenes, a formula the first season established. Atlanta Robbin Season debuts on March 1 at 10 PM EST.

The fate of Midnight, Texas has been unknown since season one wrapped. Now we know that it will be returning for another summer run. Series creator Monica Owusu-Breen will be turning over the role of showrunner to Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder for the second season. Midnight, Texas is based on the best-selling book series by Charlaine Harris. It takes place in the fictional town full of supernatural beings. When asked about how she felt about this adaptation getting a second season, Harris said “I am stoked at the prospect of a second season of Midnight, Texas. I can’t wait to revisit my favorite town to discover what its inhabitants have been up to the past few months. Now the viewers, who’ve been asking me questions daily, will have their reward.” No release date has been set yet.

The trailer is out for TBS’ The Last O.G. It stars Tracy Morgan as Tray, an ex-con who is shocked to find out how much his world has changed while he was in jail for 15 years. He gets out on good behavior only to find out his Brooklyn neighborhood is no longer the one he remembers and his girl, played by Tiffany Haddish, has moved on and is raising the twins he never knew existed with a white man. Now Tray has to find a way to reconnect with his family and navigate through this post-prison world. The Last O.G. premieres on April 3.

Mary J. Blige returning to Netflix after her Academy Award nominated role in Mudbound. This time she will co-star in Umbrella Academy, the live action adaptation of the comic book by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. The series follows a dysfunctional family of superheroes known as the Umbrella Academy. Blige will play Cha-Cha, a “ruthless and unorthodox hitwoman who travels through time to kill assigned targets. Even though she has a few gripes about the bureaucracy of her employers, this job is her life. She is sadistic, sociopathic, and her reputation precedes her. Her true love is torture, and she thinks of herself as a “pain artist.” She really doesn’t care for people—except for her partner Hazel.” Blige has had guest appearances in Empire and black-ish as well as starring in NBC’s The Wiz Live but this is her largest TV series commitment to date. Steve Blackman (Fargo, Altered Carbon) will serve as executive producer and showrunner for Umbrella Academy.

Photo by Barry King

The cast of HBO’s True Detective has a new addition. Ray Fisher has been cast as the son of Mahershala Ali’s character, a series regular role. Fisher is best known as Cyborg in DC/Warner Bros Justice League. He will be joined by Rhys Wakefield (The Purge), Michael Greyeyes (Fear the Walking Dead) and Jon Tenney (The Closer) who have all been cast in recurring roles. Set in the Ozarks, the series will follow a mystery involving missing children over three separate time periods. Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali will star as state police detective Wayne Hays. Opposite him is Stephen Dorff, an Arkansas state investigator named Roland West who finds his life influenced by the decades old crime. Carmen Ejogo will play Amelia Reardon, an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980.


Coming off his role as Young Fridge in Jumani: Welcome To The Jungle, Ser’Darius Blain had just been cast in a leading role in The CW’s Charmed reboot. Blain’s character Galvin is described as “the ideal boyfriend, funny, mellow, in touch with his emotions, totally on board to follow his lady across the country for her dream job. An aspiring filmmaker who has yet to catch the break he’s sure is just around the corner.” The new reboot is from Jane the Virgin creator and showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman. It promises a more feminist take on the original show.

Bokeem Woodbine is set to star in the CBS pilot Main JusticeWoodbine’s character Miles Blair is “the recently sworn in Attorney General of the United States. His years of experience as a beat cop and ultimately as Detroit’s Police Commissioner have made him pragmatic, tough and grounded. It’s trial by fire when he takes the reins in Washington.” The series is based in part on the life of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who became the first African-American to hold the top Justice Department position. Woodbine was most recently in Spider-Man: Homecoming and was nominated for an Emmy for his role in FX’s Fargo.


Alfre Woodard will soon be joining the cast of Empire as the estranged and formidable mother of Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon. Woodard began filming her arc earlier this month. She will appear on a recurring basis starting in the second half of Empire’s current season four which will resume on March 28. Woodard and Henson previously starred together in the 2008 Tyler Perry film The Family That Preys. Woodard was recently in Marvel’s Luke Cage.

The cast of OWN’s new dramedy Love Is___ has grown with the addition of Tammy Townsend (K.C. Undercover), Loretta Devine (The Carmichael Show), Tim Reid (Greenleaf) and Vanessa Bell Calloway (Shameless). They will have recurring roles in the series. From Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the series is described as “a humorous drama about a modern-day power couple balancing successful careers and a beautiful family, and draws inspiration from the Akils’ real-life relationship. In the world of Black Hollywood, they navigate a complex set of social codes, and this series will explore it all, from the good to the bad…to the ‘90s, because that’s where this definitive love story all began.” Will Catlett and Michelle Weaver will star as Nuri and Yasir. Townsend will play Nuri’s mother while Devine plays Yasir’s. Reid and Calloway will play friends of Nuri and Yasir.

Lena Waithe’s comedy Twenties has just been ordered to pilot by TBS. Twenties follows a queer black girl and her two straight best friends. It’s about friendship, chasing dreams, talking trash, finding love, and messing everything up along the way. Waithe said that queer black characters have been the sidekicks for long enough. She always wanted to tell a story where a queer black woman was the main character.  Not only did she create the show, Waithe is also executive producing and writing it.

Kevin Durant is currently working on a scripted series for Apple. The series, entitled Swagger, is based on his early career and explores the world of Amateur Athletic Union basketball. Focusing on the players, their families, coaches as they straddle the line between ambition, opportunism and corruption. The series will be written by Reggie Rock Bythewood (Fox’s Shots Fired). Durant will serve as an executive producer.

Kenya Barris’ comedy pilot Bright Futures has just been picked up by NBC. The series follows a group of friends trying to find their way out of being clueless, immature twentysomethings to the successful professionals they’re destined to be. Barris will serve as an executive producer on the project. Kenya Barris is the creator of ABC’s black-ish and Freeform’s Grown-ish.

Finally, any Voltron fans out there? The trailer for their fifth season has arrived. The war against the Galra Empire continues and the paladins have to contend with Prince Lotor’s actions at the end of last season. While they find his intel useful, they still struggle with whether or not they can trust Lotor. And they still have to deal with Zarkon. This season promises to be action packed. Season five will be released on March 2.

In Movie News…

Last week was all about Black Panther as we counted down to the film’s release on Thursday night. Needless to say, Black Panther did better than anticipated.  Landing an A+ CinemaScore, it’s now the fourth highest pre-seller of all time according to Fandango. It’s currently estimated to earn $210 million over the four-day weekend in North America, much higher than the original forecast of $100 million-$120 million. It debuted in the U.K. with $3.7 million, the highest single-day gross of the year so far. It’s pacing ahead of Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Wonder Woman and Deadpool. Opening in South Korea to $4.7 million, it had the biggest February debut in history. It falls just behind Avengers: Age of Ultron in Marvel movies. The film has 98 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, the best of any title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Universe film. When asked about a sequel Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios expressed that he is hopeful for a Black Panther sequel and would absolutely want Ryan Coogler to come back for it. You can check out our podcast episode of interviews with the cast here.

Over the weekend Sylvester Stallone debuted what looks like the first poster from Creed 2. Creed was another team-up between director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan. They also worked together on Black Panther and Fruitvale Station. For the sequel to Creed, Coogler has moved onto an executive producer role with Steven Caple Jr. (The Land) taking over as director. Luke Cage producer and writer Cheo Hodari Coker will write the script. The film will see Adonis take on the son of Rocky IV villain, Ivan Drago. The poster highlights the fateful meetup.

Wednesday night’s live primetime coverage of the Olympics gave us a sneak peek at Disney and Pixar Animation’s The Incredibles 2This time Helen (Holly Hunter) takes the superhero spotlight, leaving Bob (Craig T. Nelson) at home with the kids. While she fights supervillains he has to navigate the ‘normal’ world of homework and bedtime stories. Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers make things even harder for him. Samuel L. Jackson is also returning as the voice of Frozone. The Incredibles 2 hits theaters June 15.

We have a new trailer for Pacific Rim Uprising. The IMAX trailer gives us an extended look at the battle between the Jaegers and the larger than life kaiju. The sequel to the 2013 Pacific Rim follows Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) as he deals with his famous father’s legacy and the return of the deadly kaiju. Pacific Rim Uprising debuts March 23.

Doris Payne is finally getting a film about her life. Tessa Thompson has signed on to play her. Doris Payne was notorious for traveling the world and committing luxury jewelry heists. Her criminal record dates back to the 1950s. Arrested several times, she was known to have had 20 aliases, 10 Social Security numbers, and nine dates of birth. The film is being described as a cross between Catch Me if You Can and The Thomas Crown Affair. Thompson can soon be seen in Annihilation and has had roles in Thor: Ragnarok and Creed. You can check out our recent interview with her here.

Dee Rees, director of Netflix’s Mudbound, is onto her next project: The Last Thing He Wanted. Based on the 1996 novel by Joan Didio, the thriller follows a Washington Post journalist thrown into the world of arms dealing and is put into a race against time to break the story. Cassian Elwes, producer of Mudbound, optioned the rights to the novel to partner with Rees after their success with with the Netflix film. Anne Hathaway is currently in talks to play the lead.

Dwyane Wade and Chance the Rapper are teaming up to bring us a new basketball documentary entitled Shot In The Dark. Based in and around Chicago’s Orr basketball academy, the film follows the team and their coach Lou Adams as they navigate between the harsh realities of their Chicago neighborhoods and the fast-paced world of high school basketball. Directed by Dustin Nakao Haider, the film will appear on FOX as part of the Magnify docu-series which will focus on athletes on and off the field.

Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player LeBron James is adding producer to his resume. He’s remaking the 1990 comedy House Party. James is producing through his SpringHill Entertainment company along with New Line and Maverick Carter. Atlanta writers Stephen Glover and Jamal Olori have been hired to write the screenplay. “This is definitely not a reboot. It’s an entirely new look for a classic movie,” James told The Hollywood Reporter. “Everyone I grew up with loved House Party. To partner with this creative team to bring a new House Party to a new generation is unbelievable.” The original House Party was written and directed by Reginald Hudlin and starred hip hop duo Kid ‘n Play.

Girls Trip breakout star Tiffany Haddish will soon star in The Kitchen along with Melissa McCarthy who is currently finalizing the deal. This marks the directorial debut of Straight Outta Compton scribe Andrea Berloff. Based on the comic book series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle from DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, The Kitchen explores what happens after mob leaders are arrested in an FBI sweep leaving their wives to take over their criminal enterprises. The wives end up being more viscous than their husbands. The movie is set in 1970s Hell’s Kitchen and is being produced by New Line Cinema and DC Entertainment.

Finally, Fox is developing a new X-Men film. There are few details on the project. We know the working title which is 143. Deadpool director Tim Miller will most likely direct the project from a script written by Brian Michael Bendis. Considering that he recently made the move from Marvel comics to DC, Bendis is an interesting choice for this project. The current assumption is that the film will be about Kitty Pryde. The 143 might be a reference to Uncanny X-Men #143 which finds Kitty trapped in the mansion with a demon from the N’Garai dimension. If it’s true, that means we will have a Kitty Pryde film before a Storm one and that’s a sad state of events.

In Other News

Singer/actress Janelle Monáe released a teaser trailer for her upcoming album, Dirty Computer. In the trailer we see her and fellow actress Tessa Thompson as lovers whose world gets upended in a futuristic society. Monáe is calling the new album an emotion picture. Each song will be accompanied with visuals that all together will tell a story. Dirty Computer will follow the same dystopic, afro-futurist theme that Monáe has been employing since her 2007 EP Metropolis: Suite I. The album will be released this year.

If you have anything I missed, email me at or tweet me at @jane_anon. Check back in next Monday for all the exciting news happening next week.

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