Small screen: David Chappelle returning to comedy; Hayma Washington elected as Television Academy chairman
After almost a decade of relative silence, comedy legend David Chappelle is returning to the stand up mic. Netflix scored a deal with Chappelle that will ensure at least two more specials from him in 2017. Meanwhile, the Television Academy elected its first African American chairman, Brown Girls found its two lead roles, and details about Veena Sud’s upcoming Netflix series have emerged. For these stories and more, read on:
Online: And we thought Chris Rock’s two comedy special deal was impressive. Comedy legend Dave Chappelle signed a three comedy special deal with Netflix, marking the comedian’s first return to the mic in 12 years. The deal includes one brand new special produced by Chappelle, and streaming rights to two previously recorded specials that were never released anywhere. The previously recorded specials will launch simultaneously at some point in 2017. Considering Netflix paid a massive $40 million for its deal with Rock, it can be speculated Chappelle’s deal is even bigger.
Van Jones is bringing his political web series The Messy Truth to CNN. The political pundit’s web series sees him traveling the country to speak to Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters alike. It went viral during the election as he challenged Trump supporters. He will use the special to give “a live audience a chance to be outspoken” about the recent election. It will also focus on social justice issues that could potentially arise during a Donald Trump presidency. The New York Times recently called Jones a “star” of the election.
Details are emerging about Veena Sud’s new Netflix series. The 10-episode drama will be titled Seven Seconds, and will focus on the growing tension between African American citizens and Caucasian cops in Jersey City after a teenage boy is critically injured by a cop. Russell Hornsby, who previously starred in Grimm, will play a devout man whose core is shaken by the incident. Zackary Momoh (A United Kingdom) will play his brother who returns home from Afghanistan to support his family. Raul Castillo (Looking) will play a cop working on the narcotics squad when the incident happens. Sud previously created Netflix’s popular crime drama The Killing.
Network: The Television Academy elected Hayma “Screech” Washington to succeed Bruce Rosenblum as its chairman. Washington, the academy’s first ever African American chair, previously won seven Emmys for executive producing The Amazing Race. The academy is dedicated to the advancement of the television industry in the United States, and produces the Primetime Emmy Awards. Washington’s role will include responsibilities such as figuring out a successor to the “wheel deal” that rotates the Emmys telecast between four major networks. Along with The Amazing Race, Washington has executive produced a number of other unscripted shows.
Fresh off his nomination at the Critics Choice Awards, Courtney B. Vance landed his next major role. The actor, most recently known for this role in The People Vs. OJ Simpson, will star opposite Felicity Huffman in a new political comedy for ABC. The single-camera comedy will follow a mixed race family with polar opposite political views. The show will be written by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and co-executive producer Vijal Patel. Vance, Huffman, Barris and Patel will all serve as executive producers.
Cable: Freeform has found its leads in Brown Girls. Punam Patel and Hina Abdullah will star in the network’s show about the relationship between an aspiring beauty vlogger trying to ignore her own heritage, and a recent Indian emigrant. Patel was previously a regular on the network’s comedy Kevin From Work, while Abdullah previously appeared in TNT’s drama series The Last Ship. The multi-camera comedy is a Kapital Entertainment production written by Shilpi Roy and Nastaran Dibai.
BET hosted a musical celebration for President Barrack Obama on November 15 that drew in huge ratings and social media buzz. The “Block Party” (officially dubbed BET Presents Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration) was watched by 1.4 million viewers and a total 4.2 million, becoming the network’s top viewed program of the year for the 18-49 demographic. The special featured a star-studded lineup including Samuel L Jackson, Regina Hall, Janelle Monae, Usher, and plenty more. The special was so popular, the network aired it three more times afterward.
Legendary Latino musician Luis Miguel is headed for the small screen. MGM Television is developing a mini series covering the singer’s life, which he spent earning multiple Grammy Awards after his career started at 11 years old. The series will explore Miguel’s personal life, which he typically kept hidden during interviews. The production is a joint venture between MGM and Gato Grande Productions, helmed by entrepreneurs Miguel Alamán Magnani and Antonio Cue Sánchez Navarro. Carla González Vargas, Head of Development at Gato Grande, will oversee the production.