Friday, May 12, 2006

Issue 18: Emmy Knockoff

May 12, 2006
All the Urban Hollywood News, All the Time: Issue 18


MO' MONEY...Insiders are buzzing about the fact that the TV show "Girlfriends" is hanging in the balance not because of the merger of UPN and The WB--(it's believed it will make the CW fall lineup)--but because, says shock jock Wendy Williams, each of the four lead actresses are demanding a pay raise. They allegedly want a jump to $300,000 per show (up from $200,000 an episode). Hey, at least they aren't asking for a mil per show! Let's see how good a negotiator the show's exec producer Kelsey Grammer turns out to be.

SKIPPER SPIKE...We just got word that Spike Lee is going to do up the 20th anniversary of his first feature film--She's Gotta Have It -- big by, we hear, by reserving one of the largest cruise ships in the U.S. and sailing out today (Friday) four miles from the coast to celebrate. Don't know yet who's going to be on board, but we do know if you're out from shore four miles you can gamble on the open seas. Roll the dice, Spike!

WHO'S THE MAN?...A new flick screening at Brooklyn Academy of Music's (BAM) special series Sundance at BAM takes you where no hip-hop film has dared to go--the male psyche. Hip hop addresses misogyny and other heavy issues head on in Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture to screen later this month on various dates at BAM. Filmmaker Byron Hurt takes an in-depth look at the messages behind rap music videos to examine issues of masculinity, sexism, violence, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. Russell Simmons, Chuck D, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, and others are interviewed in the doc. Screenings May 15-21. For more info, click on this link:

OUT OF AFRICA...We just got a "Lessons From Africa" alert from Matt Damon about poverty and AIDS in Africa. What with George Clooney going on national TV and marching over the situation in Darfur; Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt preparing for their baby's birth in Namibia in between speaking out about the plight of children in Africa; and of course, Bono always talking out about something horrible on the Continent, we had to wonder just where are all the black actors? We know about Oprah's work in South Africa, Danny Glover's somewhat quiet campaigns, Alicia Key's recent humanitarian mission, and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith's frequent charity visits to South Africa. But none seem to take such visible platforms as their white counterparts. Why does it seem we always have to be "saved" by mainstream "heroes." But hold the phones, we also just got word that Hollywood newbie Kanye West is going to have his likeness included in a new game created by college student that promises to show the player exactly what it's like experience the genocide in Darfur. This, it is thought, will encourage more heart-felt commitment to relieving the situation. The verdict is still out on this one but it's got to have at least a good as shot at doing that as Angie's giggling approach the other week on "Dateline" (loving you though, Girl).

WHOOPI WAKES UP...Have you been wondering who would be the next celeb to get a radio show? Well, stop pondering. It's Whoopi Goldberg. She just inked a deal with Clear Channel for a syndicated morning show called Wake Up with Whoopi, starting July 31. According to Clear Channel, it'll be a live weekday program targeted at women to air on mostly adult contemporary stations nationwide. Wake Up will broadcast 5-9 a.m. (tape delayed on the West Coast) from New York and will feature daily topics, listener call-ins, guests, programmed music--and of course, Goldberg humor. We'll see if this breaks the Whoopi curse--she hasn't had much staying power these days for some reason. Hopefully this will do the trick.

DON'T GO THERE...Insiders are buzzing about NYPD arrest of Troi "the hater" Torain for aggravated harassment following his formal dismissal from the highly rated Clear Channel morning show after he apparently went too far in making lewd comments regarding a rival jock's four-year-old daughter. But you did you know this? Execs at CC are supposedly already talking to Charlemagne Tha God from WHXT-Hot 103.9 Columbia, SC. We heard they even flew him in already for a deal session. Talk about speedy delivery.

KUDOS IN ORDER...Ossie Davis and Morgan Freeman will be honored at the 2006 Ford Freedom Award black-tie gala May 15 at Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Davis will be named the 2006 Ford Freedom Award Honoree at the event. His widow, Ruby Dee, will accept on his behalf. Freeman, the 2006 Ford Freedom Award Scholar, will deliver the scholar's lecture at the Detroit Opera House to nearly 2,000 students, the organizer's PR folks tell us. Let's hope Freeman's more available to attendees afterward than he was at his own panel during the Tribeca film Fest.

ANCHOR'S AWAY, MON...Sheryl Lee Ralph's island film fest, The Jamerican Film Festival ( has found a new home. This year, the 6th, it will take place aboard Festival at Sea. Happening August 27- September 3, the fest and cruise head out from Long beach, Calif., with port of calls
that include Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan. Too bad it doesn't stop in Jamaica--the original "port of call" for Jamerican Film Fest.

FANTASIA UPDATE...We promised to bring you more information about the Lifetime movie Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, well here it is: Debbie Allen will direct. Viola Davis and Kadeem Hardison will play Barrino's her parents (yep, her parents!), Diane and JoJo Barrino, and Loretta Devine has been cast as her grandmother Addie Collins. A newcomer, Jamia Simone Nash, will play a young Fantasia. Scheduled to air in August. Let's see if this gives Lifetime the ratings boost it wants.

NEXT CHAPTER...Best-selling financial author Lisa Rogers-Cherry sent us over a note to tell us about a new show on I-TV, "The Product Hour," hosted by another African-American author, Marcus Parker. The show is being described as a mix between BET's "106 and Park" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" for young folks--mixing hip-hop flavor with educational and life issues. The show, filmed in Dallas, will include celebrity performances, an on-site DJ, and Rogers-Cherry, our urban Suze Orman, will try and help the targeted teen audience keep right with their money. Airs this fall.

Black erotica cult author Zane just inked a deal with Lions Gate, insiders tell us. The studio has acquired the worldwide rights to the New York Times bestselling author's "erotically charged thriller" Addicted. Zane and Suzanne de Passe will produce. No word on when production will start, but we're sure it will be steamy!


Late last week, CBS Corp. launched a new broadband channel called "innertube," an ad-supported outlet that includes specially created Web series and CBS reruns. The site streams three shows daily, such as "Greek to Chic," a makeover show for college kids; "BBQ Bill," a sketch comedy series featuring Rick Najera; "Animate This!," on which celebrities narrate animated stories from their own lives; and "Beyond Survivor," a show about reality shows. To be added later this month is "Fire Me ... Please," a canceled CBS reality series that will find new life on "innertube," as will unaired episodes of the drama "Love Monkey," another canceled network show. Viewers can access innertube can be accessed through

The nation's largest black-owned radio broadcaster, Radio One Inc., announced a net drop of 63 percent, despite higher revenue, last week. Still, the loss was less than Wall Street anticipated, so Radio One shares actually climbed. According to the Radio One financial information released, earnings fell to $2.6 million, down from $6.9 million a year earlier. Meanwhile, broadcast revenue increased 7 percent to $82.1 million, from $77 million. In a press statement, Radio One blamed overall industry declines in its broadcast markets.



With the Daytime Emmys having just aired and the prime time Emmys coming up in August, The A-List thought why not squeeze our version of The Black Emmys in between. This, of course, is not to be confused with the secretive folks who put on the Black Oscars and Black Emmys functions each year. Ours is in your face, and is The A-List way, open for debate. And, there's no table charge. It's all in fun, folks.

BEST BLACK TV DOCTOR: These days, there are just so many small screen surgeons and ER docs, it was hard to choose. But The A-List picks the demanding, take-no-mess Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey on "Grey's Anatomy." Though we can't deny Isaiah Washington is pretty great on that show as well. Maybe Wilson will share her award--we don't know if Bailey would.

BEST BLACK TV COP: A season would not be complete without the black cop or black police chief. Our choice for top tube cop--a tossup between Ice T on "Law & Order: SVU" and Niecy Nash as Dep. Raineesha Williams on Comedy Central's "Reno 911."

BEST BLACK TV JUDGE: Again, what would the world of TV be like without a black judge dispensing judicial attitude. We're going to miss the hairstyles Judge Mablean Ephriam has been flashing and her "heartfelt" talks with Baliff Joe Catalano when she leaves the show, so this one's for her.

BEST BLACK ON REALITY TV: What a can of worms reality TV has opened up. And, we're lovin' every minute of it--from Ms. J on "America's Next Top Model" to Lil' Kim's "Countdown to Lockdown". And the award goes to Flava Flav. That vote is wrong on so many levels but...take your pick for which show ("Surreal Life," "Strange Love," "Flavor of Love").

Hip Hop Hooray for Luda on his sinister spin on "Law & Order: SVU."

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY OR DRAMA) WHO SHOULD HAVE HAD HER OWN SHOW AGES AGO: The staff here loves them some Tichina Arnold, though a well-written comedy show--not in the flavor of "Wanda At Large" or "Wanda Does It"--for Wanda Sykes to helm would be welcomed as well.


BEST SERIES JUMPER: Aisha Thomas (who has been on "Ghost Whisperer," "CSI," "24," and "The Fifth Wheel," so far).

MOST OVERLOOKED ACTOR ON TV: All the evidence points to Hill Harper ("CSI: NY").

MOST OVERLOOKED ACTRESS ON TV: Marianne Jean-Baptiste on "Without A Trace" and--we think she's funny--Tracee Ellis Ross of "Girlfriends" were our selections.

TV FEMALE HOTTIE: Tyra Banks, of course!

TV MALE HOTTIE: Hunk tie--Gary Dourdan from "CSI" and Roger Cross of "24."

THE INVISIBLE MAN, PEOPLE WE FORGOT WERE ON AIR: Alimi Ballard ("Numb3rs"), Bruce Lewis ("The Dead Zone"), and the entire cast of "Half and Half"

YOUNG ACTOR TO WATCH: Percy Daggs from "Veronica Mars" steals every scene he's in with star Kristen Bell.



"The O.C."

So there you have our TV awards for 2006. Just wait for 2007!
Troy Marshall, Big Paul, Urban Network's Miller London and Tosha Thomas, and Regina Robertson chillin' at L.A. hotspot Tangerine at Tenna Marie's listening event.
Karin Lewis, Brian Sampson (Def Jam executive), Ed Pearson (ABC Radio) hangin' at the KKBT reception to welcome bestselling author Michael Basiden to the station.

Shout outs to news scooper Delores Richardson, celeb spotter Gil Robertson IV, and our international contributor Melissa Ross.