by G. Brown
Oprah’s Time Up on “60 Minutes” The talk host and media mogul has quietly hit the stop button on the stopwatch clocking her time on the iconic show. Winfrey joined the “60 Minutes” team two years ago but recently told THR that she “removed” herself from the lineup. Winfrey says, “It was not the best format for me…[It’s] never a good thing when I have to practice saying my name and have to be told that I have too much emotion in my name… I think I did seven takes on just my name because it was ‘too emotional.” Winfrey beamed with pride when it was announced she would be joining the show saying she was a “big admirer of 60 Minutes since my days as a young reporter…” While the network and the star are saying it was a mutual decision for her to leave, it doesn’t sound like Oprah pleased about her short-lived time at the show saying,”…So I was working on pulling myself down and flattening out my personality — which, for me, is actually not such a good thing.”
Jussie’s Crumbling “Empire” Fox network has inked a new deal for season 6 of its hit show “Empire” starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. But the opening credits may be missing the name of original cast member Jussie Smollett. The actor’s personal drama has drawn more headlines than the drama series he starred on. Smollett was accused of lying about an alleged beat down by racist, homophobic attackers in January. The 36-year-old actor told Chicago Police he was attacked by two men as he exited a restaurant. Smollett says the masked suspects wearing Make America Great Again hats screamed racist and homophobic slurs at him as they punched him, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured a chemical all over him. Smollett was later arrested and indicted in connection with paying two Nigerian-American brothers to stage the fake hate crime. Even more mysterious, all the charges against the actor were dropped in March. “Empire” creator/director Lee Daniels allowed Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon to be written out of the final two episodes of season 5. THR says”By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire,” Fox and producer 20th Century Fox TV said Tuesday in a statement.”
The Obamas Reaching Higher Ground Former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle are standing on higher ground. The former first couple announced seven projects they’ll be rolling out in their multiyear deal their Higher Ground Production company will produce for streaming giant Netflix. Some of the projects slated for release are:
- AMERICAN FACTORY A film described in a release by Higher Ground Productions and Netflix as “…a deep dive into a post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant and hires two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.
- BLOOM A drama series that shows the ugly side of the beautiful high fashion world in the days after WWII. Based in New York City, Engadget says the drama “ depicts barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress”.
- OVERLOOKED An adaptation from The New York Times telling the stories of remarkable people whose deaths were not reported by the newspaper.
There also a feature film on the life of Frederick Douglass based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. The projects are in various stages of production. No firm dates have been released on when we can expect to see the first completed film or films from the Obamas.
For this week’s look at who’s hot and happening in Black Hollywood, that’s a wrap!