Small screen: DuVernay, Winfrey and Davis speak about diversity (and why it might be a bad word)
In one week, Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey and Viola Davis, who are frontiers in the civil rights movement, all spoke about diversity and representation of women of color in film. Perhaps ‘diversity’ is a poor word choice, though; two of these women think the word doesn’t accurately convey the trends they are seeing in this country and believe using another word would be better for describe the situation.
Elsewhere in the world of television, Marvel property will stream online outside of Netflix, the announcement of a musical game show host will make you say ‘wow!’, and the Olympics stumbled across the ratings finish line. For these stories and more, read on:
Cable: “Don’t count on me, I’m just one person,” said Ava DuVernay, director of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s upcoming drama Queen Sugar. “That’s not change, that’s an anomaly.” DuVernay and Winfrey sat down with Hollywood Reporter to discuss the upcoming show, but also made their case about the word ‘diversity.’ The women prefer the term ‘inclusion,’ with Winfrey saying they want “a seat at the table where decisions are being made.”
Winfrey and DuVernay hope to make a change with Queen Sugar, which follows the story of two sisters living different lives; one in a city and the other inheriting a sugarcane farm. “I’m hoping to dismantle the notion of what Black Lives Matter means. It’s really about saying that black lives matter, that humanity is the same when you go inside people’s homes.” The show is a first in many instances because it isone of the few on cable television that will be entirely female-directed and heavily minority-directed. DuVernay wants to give underrepresented demographics a seat at the table for her show.
It seems like DuVernay and Winfrey are on the right track along with Shad “Bow Wow” Moss. Moss will host Spike TV’s upcoming musical game show Tracks, which pits teams against each other to name the song that’s playing first. The twist is only a certain “track” of the song will play (just the vocal, guitar, bass, etc.) and it will feature many celebrity appearances and performances, just like Lip Sync Battle. Christina Aguilera serves as executive producer so we can probably expect to see her throwing down some tunes. The show will debut on September 1 with back-to-back episodes.
“Everybody asks themselves, or a preacher, or a parent, things like, where do I come from? Why am I here?” Morgan Freeman told Awardsline. These are some of the questions he’s pondering in his project Story of God, which is nominated for an Emmy. The show aired on National Geographic and is currently preparing to make a second season. The star said he hopes to continue creating historical films and television shows saying, “There’s so much of American history that we just don’t know.”
Network: Viola Davis’s schedule may be packed with getting away with murder and forming suicide squads, but that’s not all she can do. In an interview with Awardline, she talked about her numerous upcoming projects, which include a Harriet Tubman biopic as well as the adaptation of the web series American Koko with Diarra Kilpatrick, both of which are being created via her production company. She also spoke about the changing landscape of women of color in the film industry saying, “We have an idea of what a leading lady should be” in terms of recent growth. Fans can also look forward to Fences, a film directed by and starring Denzel Washington, made entirely by people of color.
Unfortunately, ratings for the Rio Olympics were not a marathon or a sprint. After consistently disappointing ratings, the closing ceremony’s decline from the London games was even bigger than the opening ceremony’s. The event attracted roughly 15 million viewers, which was about half of what the London games had. Overall, the games dipped about 20% including online streaming. Still, the Olympics were a massive event; 3.5 billion people tuned in to at least a minute of the games just for perspective. That’s a decent sized audience.
Peter Macon and J. Lee are going to the future. The duo signed onto Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s Fox drama Orville, which will take place on a spaceship three hundred years into the future. Lee has previously worked with MacFarlane on Family Guy, and Macon’s previous credits include Showtime’s Shameless and Amazon’s Bosch. They will join a crew played by MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki and Scott Grimes. The series’ thirteen episodes will air in 2017.
Online: Netflix will not be the only streaming service with access to Marvel titles for much longer. Hulu is running away with a deal for Marvel’s The Runaways, a series about a group of teenage heroes on the run from a crime organization called The Pride. Upon realizing their parents take part in nefarious crimes, the unlikely group of heroes bands together to stop them and discover they have superpowers themselves. The series was co-created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, and will be run by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.
Fans of The Get Down won’t be let down. Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama’s first six episodes dropped to positive reviews (holding an 85% audience approval on RottenTomatoes), but they were also expensive to make costing approximately $7.5 million an episode. Despite the high costs, season two is scheduled for 2017 and delivering the six other episodes Netflix originally ordered.