Monday, November 24, 2008

Issue #119

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HE'S BACK...He just couldn't stay away from broadcasting. BET founder Bob Johnson recently revealed his plans to launch another new cable TV network. While he has claimed the new venture will not compete with BET, it will be an urban network targeting a multicultural audience. His partner in the project is Ion Media Networks, Inc., which owns and operates the largest broadcast television station group in the U.S. The network is awaiting FCC approval. Any new network geared to the viewer of color is more than welcome, but what really is needed is some new blood in the playing arena. One can only hope that with the Obama administration there will be different directives that enable new, young pioneers shake up and re-invigorate the media world!

ON THE CASE...Hollywood is buzzing about Gabrielle Union re-teaming with X-Files writer/producer Frank Spotnitz to develop a new series for NBC. The pair worked together on ABC's short-lived "Night Stalker" (2005-2006). Spontitz will write the show and Union will star as a detective who must race to save someone's life before it's too late. While this concept sounds a but too familiar, we're looking for Union and Spotnitz to bring some edge to the proposed series. Universal Media Studios is producing.
PETITION POWER...A petition has just been created to urge National Public Radio (NPR) not to cancel one of last remaining African-American shows on the radio network. Earlier this week NPR announced cut backs and program cancelations and "News & Notes," which covered issues and people from an African American perspective, got the axe. Fans of the show have created a petition-- and with so few offerings for Black listeners on NPR, The A-List is urging our readers to take action.

WHO'S THERE?...A British television icon has gone Black--literally. British actor Paterson Joseph has signed on to be the first Black "Doctor Who." For those who don't know a hoot about who, he's the main character in BBC's favorite and long-running television science-fiction series. Great move for the producers to bring in a little color, but seems the BBC isn't ready to promote Joseph yet. Our interview inquires were met with "We're not doing any press at this time." As the next season gets into gear, we'll be watching and waiting to see if there is mega promo.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL...Tyler Perry has put to bed his latest legal cases. Perry was victorious in a recent copyright infringement lawsuit brought by a women who claimed Perry stole material from her play for his hit film Diary of a Mad Black Woman." And he has come to terms with the Writers Guild of America West on a contract covering writers on his TBS sitcoms "House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns." The Guild claimed Perry fired four writers without due cause and was not properly compensating others. While no details of the deal were released, negotiations went on for months. With Perry's "House of Payne" just becoming the most watched show by Black females, according to Nielsen, it seems Perry is on a winning streak. Now, we'd would hope he encourages his writers to get a little more creative and daring.

HE GOT JOKES...The Wu-Tang Clan’s the RZA has teamed up with writer/director Judd Apatow (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up). The RZA’s co-stars in The Funny People, a summer 2009 comedy that revolves around the story of a famous comedian coping with a near-death experience. Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Leslie Mann also star. Interesting move for Rza, but like his many ventures into Hollywood we're sure he'll bring the heat.



New media company 40A, Inc. has launched Blackbird, a new Mozilla-based browser targeting African-Americans. Blackbird is a customized version of Firefox 3 for Windows XP and Vista. It includes a variety of tweaked tools that search African-American resources, news, and video sites, social bookmarking and networking tools, webmail integration, and a charity content channel called "Do Good" that connects users with African American-focused organizations. It was soft launched in Beta earlier this week.


Singer Cassie and reality TV star Kim Kardashian strikin' a pose at the star-studded “Empowerment for Africa” dinner at Hearst Toer in Manhattan. Hosted by Hearst Magazines, A Diamond is Forever and The Diamond Empowerment Fund (founded by Russell Simmons) in recognition of World AIDS Day, raised money to support education initiatives that develop and empower economically disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource.