[Editor’s Note: Pardon the delay, BGN was getting some maintenance and TLC over the weekend but here it is: your pop culture newsfeed.]
What’s going on in the TV world?
The CW has renewed the majority of it’s shows. DC series The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning are all returning for the 2018-2019 season. Fan favorites Riverdale and Supernatural have also been renewed as have Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s likely that this will be the last season of the latter two. The fates of iZombie and The 100 are still unsure despite their strong fanbases. Whether or not they’re renewed will most likely be announced just before upfronts.
National Geographic is currently working on an adaptation of the Academy Award-nominated film Hidden Figures. Based on the book of the same name by Margo Lee Shetterly, the film brought to light the true story of black female mathematicians who worked on the American space program in the 1960s. It starred Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Peter Chernin and Jenno Toppin executive produced the film and will also be producing the series. Nat Geo found recent success with scripted series before, namely Genius which starred Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein in its first season. The series received 10 Emmy nominations.
We have our first look at Gabrielle Dennis as Whitney Houston together with Woody McClain who portrayed Bobby Brown in BET’s 2017 miniseries The New Edition Story. The Bobby Brown Story, which serves as a sequel, will focus on the life of Bobby Brown. From these photos it’s obvious that the tumultuous marriage between Whitney and Bobby will play a big part of the miniseries. The two married in 1992 and divorced in 2007. The couple’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, will also make an appearance. Mekhi Phifer, Lil Rel Howery, Lance Gross, Laz Alonso, Sandi McCree, T.K. Carter, and Alyssa Goss also star in The Bobby Brown Story. Kiel Adrian Scott is directing from a screenplay by returning New Edition Story scribe Abdul Williams.
According to sources at The Hollywood Reporter, Black-ish creator and Girls Trip writer Kenya Barris is looking to exit his deal with ABC Studios. He has three years left in the four-year deal he signed with them in 2017. The sources claim that he is in preliminary talks to move to Netflix, now the home of fellow ABC creator Shonda Rhimes. Rumors of this move come after ABC pulled a politically themed episode of Black-ish. Despite the deal, ABC has passed on two pilots developed by Barris only ordering the Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish to series. Barris’ Bright Futures has been ordered to pilot by NBC. He also wrote for the new Shaft film and is attached to the Coming to America remake. Lastly, a former writing partner is claiming that Barris stole the idea for Black-ish from him. The lawsuit is headed to trial.
Tiffany Haddish is executive producing a comedy series for HBO. The series entitled Unsubscribed, is described as “an examination of female blackness, beauty, and identity through a behind-the-scenes look at the Instagram hustle.” Xosha Roquemore and Danielle Henderson will serve as writers and executive producers. This will be Roquemore’s first turn as a writer. She is best known for her acting, having played the series regular role of Tamra Webb in The Mindy Project. Unsubscribed will be the first project under Haddish’s first-look deal with HBO which she signed back in January. You can currently see Haddish starring opposite Tracy Morgan in the TBS comedy The Last O.G.
Jordan Peele‘s next project is a four-part documentary series on Lorena Bobbit. Peele will executive produce the series. ”When we hear the name ‘Bobbitt’ we think of one of the most sensational incidents to ever be catapulted into a full-blown media spectacle. With this project, Lorena has a platform to tell her truth as well as engage in a critical conversation about gender dynamics, abuse, and her demand for justice. This is Lorena’s story and we’re honored to help her tell it,” Peele said in an interview. Jose Rofé will direct the series with Peele. The series will be released through Amazon.
Crystal Fox and Mo McRae are joining the cast of HBO’s Big Little Lies for its second season. Fox was cast in a series regular role as Elizabeth Howard, the mother of Bonnie played by Zoe Kravitz. McRae will play a teacher named Michael Perkins who comes into contention with Renata (Laura Dern). Merrin Dungey, who played Detective Adrienne Quinland in season one, will be returning for a guest starring role. Fox currently stars in OWN’s The Haves and Have Nots. McRae was most recently in Den of Thieves and has a recurring role in Empire.
Pilot Season 2018
Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s comic book series Y: The Last Man is finally headed to the small screen. FX has ordered it to pilot. Melina Matsoukas, who directed Beyoncé’s Formation video, will direct the pilot. Michael Green (American Gods) and Aida Mashaka Croal (Luke Cage) will serve as showrunners. The series takes place in the aftermath of a mysterious plague that killed every mammal with a Y chromosome except for a man named Yorick and his pet monkey, Ampersand. They are aided in their search for the origins of the plague by spy Agent 355 and scientist Dr. Alison Mann. The series ran from 2002 to 2008 on DC’s Vertigo imprint. The TV series will explore gender, race, class and survival.
Paramount has ordered a pilot for a new series based on the 1996 movie First Wives Club. Like the film, the series will be based in New York City and focus on a “group of women who band together after their marriages fall apart, and who find strength in their sisterhood — and of course a little revenge.” Girls Trip co-writer Tracy Oliver wrote the script for the pilot and is executive producing.
In Movie News…
The latest trailer of Avengers: Infinity War gives us a lot more of Wakanda and it’s inhabitants, showing snippets of T’Challa as well as Okoye, Shuri and M’Baku. A villain of Thanos’ stature is going to need all the might of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to combat him. Though scattered, the Mightiest Heroes post Captain America: Civil War have to team up to face this new threat. To promote the film, which comes out at the end of this month, Marvel also released new posters for each of the heroes. Avengers: Infinity War is currently tracking to earn $200 million-plus in it’s opening weekend. Black Panther debuted at $202 million. Speaking of Black Panther, it has reached another milestone. It will open in Saudi Arabia on April 18, breaking a 35-year film ban in the country. It also passed Titantic to become the third highest grossing film in American history.
There’s a new trailer out for Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s also having a special premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It will debut on May 15, ten days before it officially opens worldwide. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany and Thandie Newton round out the cast. While the last three Star Wars films have had their premieres in Los Angeles, this isn’t the first time a Star Wars film has premiered at Cannes. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith both screened out of competition there. For those of us not at Cannes, we can see Solo: A Star Wars Story on May 25.
Check out the trailer for Fahrenheit 451. Starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, the film is based on Ray Bradbury’s dystopian 1953 novel of the same name. Jordan plays Guy Montag, a fireman whose job it is to burn books but soon finds himself questioning society and his role in enforcing it. Shannon will play his mentor Captain Beatty. Fahrenheit 451 airs on HBO on May 19.
There’s a trailer out for Night School. Kevin Hart, who also co-wrote the script, plays a barbecue-grill salesman with dreams of becoming a stockbroker. To fulfill that dream he has to complete his G.E.D. Tiffany Haddish plays the teacher who tries to get him there almost despite himself. Malcolm D. Lee is directing, teaming up again with Haddish after directing her in the 2017 hit comedy Girls Trip. Will Packer who produced Girls Trip is returning as a producer for Night School.
Tracy Morgan and Underground’s Aldis Hodge will be joining Taraji P. Henson in What Men Want. Inspired by Nancy Meyers’ What Women Want, Henson plays a sports agent who is constantly losing out on opportunities to male coworkers. Then she gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts and uses it to her advantage to race and sign the NBA’s next superstar. Morgan will most likely be playing the NBA star’s father, a character similar to real life figure Lavar Ball. Adam Shankman is directing and executive producing the film which is slated to be released on January 11, 2019.
Star of the FX series Atlanta and the upcoming Deadpool 2 Zazie Beetz is currently in talks to join Kristen Stewart in the Jean Seberg biopic Against All Enemies. The film also stars Anthony Mackie, Jack O’Connell, Margaret Qualley and Colm Meaney. It follows the FBI’s attempts to discredit Seberg through COINTELPRO in retaliation for her support of the Black Panther Party. Beetz may also be joining Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm in Pale Blue Dot. Natalie Portman plays a married astronaut who begins having an affair with a fellow astronaut played by Jon Hamm after she returns to Earth from a mission. As Portman’s character begins losing connection with her family, she falls into a downward spiral that is worsened after finding out her lover is having an affair too. Beetz will play an astronaut trainee that Hamm is also having an affair with.
Orange is the New Black‘s Uzo Aduba will be starring in Miss Virginia along with Stranger Things‘ Matthew Modine. Based on a true story, Aduba will play a struggling single mother who moves her son from their dangerous neighborhood school to a safer but much more expensive one. Unable to make the tuition payment, she launches a movement to save not only her son’s future but other children in the community. Modine will play the lead supporting role of Congressman Cliff Williams. “The real Miss Virginia is as formidable as she is warm and down-to-earth,” said producer Erin O’Connor. “No one captures that spirit like Uzo. Her bravery, grit, and humor shine through in all her performances. We’re ecstatic that she will be bringing her infectious energy to Miss Virginia.”
Finally, Riverdale’s K.J. Apa has just signed on to replace Kian Lawley in Fox’s adaptation of The Hate U Give. Apa plays Archie Andrews on The CW show. He comes on board to the project after Lawley was let go in the wake of youtube videos surfacing of him using racial slurs. A week of reshoots is planned on the film’s Atlanta set. The Hate U Give is based on Angie Thomas critically acclaimed YA novel about the ramifications surrounding a police shooting of an unarmed Black teen. Amandla Stenberg stars as the 16-year-old protagonist, Starr, who is torn between the neighborhood she lives in and the more affluent school she attends. Apa will play her boyfriend. Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, and Common also star
If you have anything I missed, email me at email@example.com or tweet me at @jane_anon. Check back in next Monday for all the exciting news happening next week.