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First Look: Mary J. Blige in Power Book 2

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Power may wrap for good in February, but fans won’t have to live long without their weekly crime-drama fix from the addictive (and extraordinarily popular) Starz series. This summer, the network will unveil a spin-off featuring Mary J. Blige as Monet, a very successful woman in Queens who runs her business “with an iron fist,” explains executive producer Courtney A. Kemp. And EW has the exclusive first look!

Exactly how Monet earns her keep remains a mystery for now, but it’s probably not a stretch to assume that she — like Ghost [Power’s Omari Hardwick] before her — will be dabbling in the wild world of narcotics. It’s an idea that Kemp had been chewing on for nearly two years but didn’t truly take root until reps for Blige approached her about a Power cameo (because she was a big fan, natch).

“Power obviously is a masculine show but has very strong female characters,” Kemp tells EW. (Blige is pictured here with LaToya Tonodeo, who plays Monet’s daughter Diana). “For Mary’s character, we use all the power and presence of the actress to communicate how this is a woman who is remarkable and unique in her abilities. She’s as smart, savvy, and strategic as Ghost ever was, but her learning doesn’t come from books. We always said Ghost was a bookish kid who read all the time. This woman’s acumen comes from the street.”

If you loved what Power had to offer for six seasons, you’ll definitely appreciate Ghost, promises Kemp. “There are some people from the original show as well as a bunch of new characters,” such as Method Man, who will play an ethically challenged lawyer. “It will definitely have a lot of the same elements that you’re used to from Power in terms of criminality, sex, romance, and the legal system. Every scene is still about power.”

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Television

ABC orders Queens & The Wonder Years reboot centered on a Black family

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ABC has ordered a new take on the classic Fred Savage dramedy The Wonder Years by turning the focus on a Black middle-class family from the ’60s.

The new show will take place in Montgomery, Ala., and will be told through the POV of Dean, a 12-year-old boy. The show will feature Don Cheadle as the narrator (he’ll pay the adult Dean), as well as Elisha “EJ” Williams as young Dean Williams; Dulé Hill as his father, Bill Williams; Saycon Sengbloh as his mother, Lillian Williams; and Laura Kariuki as his sister, Kim Williams. Julian Lerner will play Brad Hitman, Amari O’Neil will play Cory Long, and Milan Ray will play Keisa Clemmons.

The series is from Lee Daniels Entertainment and will be executive-produced by Savage.

WONDER YEARS – “Episode TBD” (ABC/Erika Doss) DULÉ HILL, SAYCON SENGBLOH, LAURA KARIUKI, ELISHA WILLIAMS

ABC also ordered three more new shows for its fall lineup: the comedies Abbott Elementary and Maggie and the drama QueensAbbott is a workplace comedy that takes place at a Philadelphia public school. It stars Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, Janelle James as Ava Coleman, Chris Perfetti as Jacob Hill, Lisa Ann Walter as Melissa Schemmenti, and Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard.

Maggie is about a young female psychic who can already see her future. Rebecca Rittenhouse plays the title role.

Queens is a hip-hop drama about four fortysomething women who reunite their ’90s group, Nasty Bitches. It stars Eve as Brianna, a.k.a. Professor Sex; Naturi Naughton as Jill, a.k.a. Da Thrill; Nadine Velazquez as Valeria, a.k.a. Butter Pecan; Taylor Selé as Eric Jones; Pepi Sonuga as Lil Muffin; and Brandy as Naomi, a.k.a. Xplicit Lyrics.

ABC will present its fall lineup to advertisers Tuesday. It has already announced renewals for The GoldbergsA Million Little ThingsThe ConnersHome EconomicsThe RookieAmerica’s Funniest Home VideosAmerican IdolBig SkyCelebrity Wheel of FortuneThe Good DoctorGrey’s AnatomyShark TankSupermarket Sweep, and Station 19

Originally posted on EW

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‘The Game’: Paramount+ Hands Dramedy Reboot Official Series Order, Wendy Raquel Robinson & Hosea Chanchez To Reprise Roles

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The Game is officially restarting.

Paramount+ has handed a ten-episode series order to its reboot of The CW and BET dramedy with original cast members Wendy Raquel Robinson and Hosea Chanchez reprising their roles.

Robinson, who also stars in Insecure, will return as sports agent Tasha Mack, and Chanchez, who stars in Black Lightning, returns as footballer Malik Wright with several other legacy cast members making special appearances.

The series, which was created by Mara Brock Akil, originally launched as a half-hour comedy on The CW and ran for three seasons on the broadcast network. It subsequently moved to BET for six further seasons, breaking cable records, and became an hour-long dramedy.

The reboot, which was initially unveiled at Paramount+’s investor presentation, will be a half-hour and will see American Soul’s Devon Greggory as showrunner and writer. He will exec produce with Brock Akil, Salim Akil and original executive producer Kelsey Grammer and Tom Russo of Grammnet NH Productions.

The new series will relocate from San Diego to Las Vegas and will see new players offer a modern-day examination of Black culture through the prism of pro football. The team will tackle racism, sexism, classism and more as they fight for fame, fortune, respect and love—all while trying to maintain their souls as they each play The Game.

The ten-episode series is produced by CBS Studios, Akil Productions and Grammnet NH Productions.

“Fifteen years ago, I created The Game and am so proud of the success we had, and that I was able to create characters and stories that resonated with so many people,” said Mara Brock Akil. “I couldn’t be happier about leaving my beloved characters like Tasha Mack and Malik Wright in the hands of Devon, Wendy and Hosea, who I know will build off of the rich foundation the show has.”

“From the moment it debuted, The Game was a groundbreaking series that used humor, heart and memorable characters to explore real issues involving race, gender and, of course, football,” added Julie McNamara, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, Paramount+. “What better time for Devon and the whole team to reunite for a fresh look at a world that has only become more at-the-center of the cultural conversation today.”

The Game is a show I faithfully watched, with characters I grew to love, and now I have the honor of guiding them into the future,” said Greggory. “I’m simply thrilled to be hand-selected by Mara, Julie and CBS Studios to take over the creative reins of such an iconic and culturally significant series.”

“I love this show,” added Grammer. “I am very excited to see this new turn in its life and excited to wave the Paramount+ banner, as well. Grammnet NH Productions has been in business a long time and proudly explored diverse and inclusive material for decades. I am really looking forward to seeing this show on the air.”

Originally Posted on Deadline

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The Weeknd Still Pissed Over Grammy Snub

“I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.”

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The Grammys are coming this weekend, and it looks like it’s still bothering The Weeknd.

If you recall, The Weeknd was this years’ biggest snubbed artist. His song Blinding Lights has broken many records, such as longest Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 run. The songs success and album success also landed him the Super Bowl half time show last month.

From the Grammy Committee stand point…..they weren’t “wrong” in what happened. Although it was one of the biggest songs of the year, it was a tough field. Lets start off with the facts. Fact is, they tried to initially submit the song in the R&B genre, which would have given him a bigger chance of winning because R&B acts lately haven’t been as big as him. The committee rerouted him to the POP category, because the song is a POP song. In those categories, he is up against POP Stars like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa, and new comer Doja Cat. They all had pretty big years, and in the POP world, The Weeknd isn’t really the biggest guy out there.

Moving on. A lot of Blinding Lights’ chart success was due to multiple factors, one being a pandemic and another being that he had a lot of radio play. While streams and sales were solid, they weren’t enough to keep him in the Top 10. I looked at a random week in July 2020 and he wasn’t even in Spotify’s Top 10.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, The Weeknd stated he would boycott the awards from now on. “Because of the secret committees,” the Weeknd said, “I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.

Some would see this statement as him standing up to a long standing, flawed system. For me, he is throwing a temper tantrum. He’s in the music industry to express his creativity and bring his art to life. The awards and accolades are merely bonus. To have this much attitude over a predominately white award show is an example of him feeling as if he was entitled to the awards. Crazy thing about it, he didn’t mention his displeasure for also being snubbed at the NAACP Image Awards.

At the end of the day, you win some, you lose some…but you live to fight another day.

Friday

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