BGN News Beat

What’s going on in the TV world?

The premiere date of Dear White People season 2 has been set. It’s debuting Friday, May 4. Based on Justin Simien’s critically acclaimed debut indie feature, the series follows a group of students of color at the predominantly white Ivy League Winchester University as they navigate a diverse landscape of social injustice, cultural bias, political correctness and activism in the millennial age. The series stars Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, Antoinette Robertson, DeRon Horton, John Patrick Amedori, Ashley Blaine Featherson and Marque Richardson. It won an Audience Award as SXSW last year and has been nominated for Gotham and Image Awards.

Idris Elba is making the move to Netflix. The actor recently sold Turn Up Charlie, an eight-episode comedy series to the streaming service. According to Entertainment Weekly, Elba will star as Charlie, a struggling DJ who gets his “final chance at success when he reluctantly becomes a manny to his famous best friend’s problem-child daughter.” Elba co-created the series with producer Gary Reich. Production will begin in May.

Less than two months after Seven Seconds premiered on Netflix, the streaming service announced that the series won’t be renewed for a second season. The series explored race through an incident where a Black teenager was critically injured in a hit-and-run by a white police officer and the subsequent cover up by the majority white police force. Regina King starred in the series as the mother of the Black teen. Veena Sud (The Killing) served as the showrunner. Netflix will submit Seven Seconds as a limited series drama for Emmy consideration.

Paramount Network has ordered its reboot of The First Wives Club to series ensuring a 10-episode season. The project is from Girls Trip co-writer Tracy Oliver. The series is based on the 1996 feature that originally starred Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn. Casting hasn’t been announced yet for the series but sources say that they are looking to cast non-white actresses for the three leads. Production is set to begin this summer in New York for a 2019 debut.

OWN has placed two straight to series orders for upcoming Will Packer series. The first, Ambitions, is “a multi-generational family saga centered around one woman who, having recently relocated and intent on revitalizing her marriage, finds herself going head to head with some of the most powerful and deceitful players in the city.” It’s set to debut in 2019. The second is an unscripted dating show called Ready for Love that will “focus on successful men and women of all shapes, sizes and shades, each of whom is looking for lasting love. It’s a unique twist on a typical dating show. Ready for Love will specifically bring the perspective of men to the forefront, presenting an opportunity to see what men say about dating when women aren’t around.” Both are through Packer’s first-look deal with OWN.

Jane the Virgin is coming to an end. It was announced this week that it would end with the 5th season, specifically the 100th episode. “It is a wonderful final season of the show … This will only make real sense when you have seen the content of the fifth season of the show. It is exactly as it was laid out … [We’ve] always known when it was going to end. It will be 100 episodes when it’s done and 100 is exactly where Jennie [Snyder Urman, creator and executive producer] always hoped it could end the story. So it’s perfect,” said executive producer Brad Silberling. Series star and co-executive producer Gina Rodriguez hinted that the show’s upcoming fifth season would be its last during SXSW’s Women to Watch panels back in March so the news of it’s ending isn’t completely surprising.

Congratulations to Issa Rae who recently won a Peabody Award for HBO’s Insecure season 2. The Peabody recognizes and honors the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in television, radio, and online media. According to the Peabody Award site: “Issa Rae delivers a groundbreaking series that captures the lives of everyday young black people in Los Angeles with a fresh and authentic take. Breaking away from tired and familiar representations of “diversity” on television, this series offers a fun and intimate portrayal of work, relationships, and the ordinary experiences of the two young black women at its center.” Jay-Z also won a Peabody Award for his heartbreaking and insightful documentary: Time: The Kalief Browder Story.

SYFY picked up Deadly Class to series. Based on the Image Comics graphic novel by Rick Remender and Wes Craig, the series is from from The Avengers directors Joe and Anthony Russo, Sony Pictures TV and Universal Cable Productions. Deadly Class is a coming of age journey that follows a homeless teen recruited into an elite private school where the children of the top crime families are taught. He has to maintain his moral code while surviving the ruthless curriculum and vicious social cliques. Benedict Wong, Benjamin Wadsworth, Lana Condor, Maria Gabriela de Faria, Luke Tennie, Liam James and Michel Duval star.

In Movie News…

With a release date in a little less than a month, the final trailer for Deadpool 2 was released this week. The titular hero has turned from vengeance to protection, putting together a superpowered team to back him up in a bid to save a kid from Cable. In a funny sequence we see that his team is a hap-haphazard group of people who answered an ad including Shatterstar (Lewis Tan) and Domino (Zazie Beetz). We’re also introduced to new team members Bedlam (Terry Crews) and non-superpowered newcomer Peter (Rob Delaney). Deadpool 2 also stars Morena Baccarin, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Hildebrand. It hits theaters May 18.

Solo: A Star Wars Story gave us a new TV spot this week. Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian gets to speak in this one. “Every ship isn’t for everyone. She needs a particular type of pilot,” Lando says of the Millennium Falcon to Alden Ehrenreich’ Han Solo. He asks Emilia Clarke’s Qi’Ra what she’s doing with “Hairy and the Boy.” It’s a short, action packed trailer and Lando runs away with it. Solo: A Star Wars Story, starring Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany, premieres on May 25, 2018.

The Star Wars Universe is finally diversifying behind the scenes. Filmmaker, producer and actress Victoria Mahoney has joined the production of Star Wars: Episode IX. She was brought on by J.J. Abrams, the director of the film, to be the second unit direct. She’s the first woman to ever step behind the camera in that capacity and a Black woman at that. Fellow Disney filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, made the announcement on twitter. Mahoney has worked on Queen Sugar, Gypsy and Grey’s Anatomy. She directed the pilot for the DuVernay executive produced Red Line for CBS. Her debut feature film, Yelling at the Sky, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011. Star Wars: Episode IX is currently slated to open on December 20, 2019.

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have added another women to their group of directors. They’ve chosen Cathy Yan to be the director of an untitled girl gang movie with Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn. Yan will become DC’s third female director after Wonder Woman‘s Patty Jenkins and The New Gods’ Ava DuVernay. It was Yan’s presentation for Birds of Prey, which the film will be based on, that pushed her past more well established male directors. The film will see Quinn team up with several other crime fighters, most likely Black Canary, Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl.

Previous trailers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom led us to believe that the plot would concern heading back to the island of Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs from an erupting volcano that threatens them. This latest trailer reveals that there’s more to the plot. There’s a group that wants to save the dinosaurs to use them as weapons. We also get a better look at the new bio-engineered dinosaur which appears to have made it off the island to terrorize the populace. Directed by J. A. Bayona, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom premieres June 22.

The trailer for Blindspotting is out. Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal spent a decade creating Blindspotting which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Not only did they write it, they also star in and produced it. The film follows Collin (Diggs) who has 72 hours left on his probation and his reckless friend Miles (Casal). Collin witnesses a white officer kill an unarmed Black man at an empty intersection and begins having nightmares about having to confront the cop. The film illustrates how a city can treat two men from the same social standing with the same job differently because of their skin color. Directed by Carlos López Estrada, Blindspotting debuts July 20.

Common is in advanced talks to join Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy and Elisabeth Moss in New Line’s film adaptation of The Kitchen. Based on the DC/Vertigo comic book series, The Kitchen is set in 1970s Hell’s Kitchen and follows a group of mob wives who take over their incarcerated husband’s criminal enterprises. They’re soon revealed to be more ruthless than their husbands. Common is in talks to play FBI agent Gary Silvers. Domhnall Gleeson, Margo Martindale, Bill Camp, Brian d’Arcy James, James Badge Dale, Jeremy Bobb and Myk Watford also star. It’s slated for September 20, 2019.

Lee Daniels is set to executive produce the indie urban love story Pimp. The film stars Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee), Haley Ramm (The Originals), Aunjanue Ellis (The Help), Vanessa Morgan (Finding Carter), Mike E. Winfield (Conversations in L.A.), Edi Cathegi (Twilight) and DMX.  The film follows “Wednesday (Palmer), who is born into the gritty world of hustling, where she learns the game from her dad. Once he’s gone, she is left to look out for her mother (Ellis) and her girlfriend Nikki (Ramm). In need of more money, Nikki decides to hit the streets for Wednesday for a dream at a better life. In a ferocious battle of survival, Wednesday comes face to face with a pimp (Gathegi) who runs a more dangerous game, leaving Wednesday to fight for love and risk all to save Nikki.” It’s written and directed by Christine Crokos. Daniels has been the writer-director-producer behind TV and film hits such as Empire, Star, Precious and The Butler.

The trailer is out for The Equalizer 2, the sequel to the 2014 box office hit. Denzel Washington reprises his role of Robert McCall, a former CIA black-ops operative turned vigilante who seeks revenge for his friend’s murder. This is the first sequel Washington has done in his long career. Directed by Antoine Fuqua the film co-stars Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, and Pedro Pascal. Fuqua and Washington have worked together previously on the first Equalizer, 2001’s Training Day and 2016’s The Magnificent Seven. The Equalizer 2 hits theaters July 20.

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler‘s star continues to rise. He will soon receive the Director of the Year Award from CinemaCon. “In just a few short years, Ryan Coogler has positioned himself as one of the most dynamic, talented and successful directors of our time,” said CinemaCon Managing Director Mich Neuhasuer. “With the release of Black Panther, he has given us a film that is not just a box office juggernaut in grossing more than $1.3 billion globally, but a film that has crossed all cultures and ethnicities and has resonated beyond anyone’s wildest imagination from a societal standpoint. His is a landmark film and we couldn’t be more delighted to be honoring him as our Director of the Year.” CinemaCon is the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners.

In Other News

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN won the Pulitzer Prize for music. The Pulitzer board called the album “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” DAMN became the first non-classical or jazz album to win in that category.

Last Saturday, Beyoncé made history as the first black woman to headline the Coachella Festival. Dubbed “Beychella” by fans, the two-hour performance was streamed by 458,000 viewers worldwide on YouTube. It was the most-viewed Coachella performance on the festival’s YouTube live stream and the most viewed live music festival performance ever on YouTube. Additionally, #beychella hashtag received 2.4 million mentions, while #Coachella scored 1 million.

If you have anything I missed, tweet me at @jane_anon. Thanks for checking out BGN News Beat!