Small screen: Beyonce and Rihanna run VMAs; a look at fall TV castings

Who run the world? If by ‘world’ we meant ‘VMAs,’ there would be a very clear winner. The awards show earlier this week highlighted several female acts who are currently running pop culture. Meanwhile, a ton of new castings are preparing for the quickly approaching fall television season, Empire is expanding its cast and crew, and there’s a lot to look forward to on Netflix and Hulu this September (looking at you, Luke Cage). For these stories and more, read on:

Cable: MTV’s Video Music Awards was slayed by female acts such as Rihanna and Fifth Harmony, but above all, Beyonce. Queen Bee took home a whopping eight Moonmen and gave a surprise sixteen minute montage of her latest album, Lemonade, her arms filled with awards. Get your headphones in formation and watch the performance. Girl band Fifth Harmony has to divide two trophies five ways; they won Best Collaboration with Ty Dolla Sign for their smash Work From Home, and Song of the Summer for All In My Head (Flex).

Rihanna performed not once, not twice, but four times throughout the show. The artist displayed her versatility by opening the show with upbeat electronic music and closing it with emotional piano ballads Stay and Diamonds (while dodging a kiss from Drake in between performances). Calvin Harris’s This Is What You Came For, on which she provides vocals, won Best Male Video.

Outside of the VMAs, Survivor’s Remorse will survive another year. The Starz comedy, produced by Lebron James, was renewed for a fourth season by the network. The news is unsurprising considering ratings have been steadily climbing, reaching a 0.4 rating from the previous season’s 0.14 rating amongst adults 18-49. Averaging at 2.9 million viewers per episode across all viewing platforms, viewership has climbed an impressive sixty percent from season one.

There’s a lot of casting news coming up on the fall television season. Under the Dome’s Aisha Hinds will portray Harriet Tubman on WGN America’s Underground. Hinds will appear in the second season of the historical drama about the Underground Railroad. The show is the cable network’s most-watched scripted series. Jasika Nicole (Fringe), Michael Trotter (Rosewood) and Jesse Luken (Justified) will also join the cast next season.

Upcoming White Famous is expanding its cast as well. After casting Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharaoh, Showtime announced Megalyn Echikunwoke and Utkarsh Ambudkar would also join the cast as yet-to-be-named characters. Echikunwoke will play the ex-girlfriend of Floyd (Pharaoh) and is known for her previous roles on House of Lies and Arrow. Little is known about Ambudkar’s role, and the actor previously appeared in Pitch Perfect and The Mindy Project. The show follows the rising comedian Floyd as he attempts to navigate his fame.

Captain Sulu is docking his ship on network television. John Cho, most famous for his appearance in the Star Trek franchise, will star in USA Network’s upcoming drama Connoisseur, according to Variety. Cho will play a con artist who dupes millionaires out of their paychecks only to be thrust into the national spotlight for his crimes. USA bought the script for the hour-long drama created by Gary Lundy, Ben Watkins (Hand of God) and Cho.

Network: ABC nabbed up Mara Brock Akil’s romantic comedy Documenting Love. Brock Akil is the creator of Girlfriends and The Game, and sold the script for pilot production with her husband, Salim Akil. The show is said to be about a love story between a modern day power couple. This is Brock Akil’s first sale under their three-year deal with Warner Bros. TV, which started in May this year.

The Young and the Restless is anything but young anymore, though arguably still restless. CBS's soap opera aired its 11,000th episode across 43 years of production on September 1. The Winters family, one of the most well-known African American families in television history, was first featured on the show in 1990 with the introduction of Drucilla Barber Winters, played by Victoria Rowell. Since then, the show has featured numerous members of the family, including characters portrayed by Kristoff St. John, Christel Khalil Bryton James and Mishael Morgan.

Empire is expanding its empire. The show cast The Cosby Show veteran Phylicia Rashad for a recurring role in the musical drama’s third season where she will play Taye Diggs’ mother. Disapproving of Cookie’s romance with Diggs’ character Angelo, her character will further shake up the dynamic in the Lyon clan. The show will return to Fox September 21.

The show also has a new executive producer for its third season. Diane Ademu-John will join the Empire’s third season as EP. This is her first project after signing an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV for several years. Seasoned in the field, Ademu-John has previously been involved with CW’s The Originals and ABC’s Body of Proof.

Online: Chances are you’ve heard of Netflix’s Luke Cage by now, even if the bad guys in this new clip above haven’t. The sneak peak highlights the Marvel superhero’s super strength and invulnerability to bullets as he defends himself against a mob of armed attackers. Based off comic books of the same name, Cheo Hodari Coker’s series, starring Mike Colter, will drop its first season to Netflix on September 30.

Luke Cage is one of many new shows and movies that will be available to stream on Netflix and Hulu this September. Check out the full list of new content featuring entertainers of color below:


  • Babel (2006 drama)
  • Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker (2013 documentary)
  • Cedric the Entertainer: Live from the Ville (2016 comedy special)
  • Easy Fortune Happy Life (2009 television drama series)
  • The Fierce Wife (2010 television drama)
  • Honey 3 (2016 dance)
  • Hope Floats (1998 romantic drama)
  • The IT Crowd (comedy, season 5)
  • Joyful Noise (2012 musical comedy)
  • Last Holiday (2006 romantic drama)
  • London Has Fallen (2016 action)
  • Margaret Cho: psyCHO (2016 comedy special)
  • Marvel’s Luke Cage (2016 superhero series)
  • Scary Movie 2 (2001 horror comedy)
  • ·Stomp the Yard (2007 drama)


  • Breaking Point (2010 drama)
  • Buried (2010 thriller)
  • The Four Feathers (2002 action)
  • From Dusk Till Dawn (1996 action)
  • Imagine That (2009 fantasy comedy)
  • Like Water (2011 documentary)
  • Martin Lawrence: Doin’ Time Uncut (2016 comedy special)
  • The Messengers (2007 thriller)
  • The Others (2001 fantasy thriller)
  • Rat Race (2001 adventure comedy)
  • Reincarnation (2005 horror)
  • Shadow Zone: The Undead Express (1996 horror)
  • The Tears of the Sun (2003 thriller)
  • Ticker (2001 action)
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2014 horror comedy)
  • The Wood (1999 comedy)