All Articles Tagged "television"
In 2015, there will be more new TV shows, movies, comedy tours, and Youtube channels featuring Black comedians than ever before. Let’s take a look at the 15 black comedians to watch out for this year.
There is no denying that 2015 has started off with a bang for Black women in Hollywood. We are finally seeing sistas dominating on screen, behind the scenes, and in the boardroom. Let’s celebrate Black Excellence as we take a look at 15 women who are doing it big in Hollywood right now.
Who doesn’t love this beautiful image of the Knowles and their extended family and friends? The only thing better would be an hour-long reality show that followed Queen Bey, her sis, and her fabulous family as they possibly argued over photos, wedding food, and nearly missed a meltdown when Solange’s “Just Married” bicycle caught a flat on the way to the reception.
While we may never get an uncensored look into the lives of some of our favorite celebs, it doesn’t mean we can’t do a fantasy draft of the top 15 celebs who we think need reality shows. Get on it, VH1!
Most of us jokingly say “Big Brother is watching” when we talk about the government and technology corporations monitoring people. However The Takeaway reports, your new smart TV may actually be doing just that. New televisions are equipped with a microphone that it is used for voice recognition (a similar function to the iPhone’s Siri). The use for voice recognition helps consumers navigate televisions without using a hand-held remote. A half century of progress for the television has The Takeaway drawing correlations between these technological advancements to 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell’s predictions that people would start to give up their privacy, unsuspectingly. For example, the media outlet noted Samsung’s policies state:
“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”
If a person tries to alter the microphone settings on their televisions, they may face felony charges due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law prevents people from tampering with copyrighted pieces of technology devices.
Michael Price who serves as counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYC School of Law says in order for people to opt out of being monitored is by turning off the internet and disconnecting the television. Consumers won’t be able to have their privacy and enjoy the nifty updates to their favorite devices because corporations collect data from each consumer to “cater” to their likes and for advertisers to specify the needs of the companies who hire them.
“It’s really easy to turn the internet off. You can disconnect the TV in that way,” he says. “But it presents a really unfair trade off: You get to either use all these really nifty new pieces of technology that you bought and paid for, or you can have your privacy. But right now, it doesn’t seem like we can have it both ways. That’s what has to change.”
To understand other ways how your television may be collecting data from you, listen below.
Viewers got a look behind the curtain of one of television’s most beloved teen sitcoms, “Saved by the Bell” in a recent Lifetime production. The movie was wildly entertaining (though how truthful it was remains in question), and got us thinking about how many other great TV shows have some scandalous skeletons in the closet. So here are our picks for which TV shows’ behind-the-scenes drama we want to learn about next.
Writer and producer executive Mara Brock Akil rocked television networks’ boat with her story of black successful female friends, Girlfriends. The show became a favorite of black women who loved seeing their narratives play out on national television. After the CW network canceled Girlfriends, Akil moved onto her iconic show The Game. Modeled after the lives of professional football players, the show became an immediate success with fans. So much so that fans petitioned networks to bring it back after it, too, was canceled. Since returning to television The Game is still on a winning streak.
But Akil has a new baby on her hands and it’s the coolest kid on the television playground. Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union, reaches on average of over 2.5 million viewers (more than the HBO hit show Girls).
BloombergBusinessWeek profiled Akil about her life and work. And here are three things you may not know about the woman who has created some of your favorite television shows.
She sees herself in the ladies of Girlfriends
Raised in Kansas City, Mo., and educated at Northwestern University, Brock Akil began her career in the writers’ rooms of UPN’s Moesha and WB’s The Jamie Foxx Show…
Girlfriends ran for eight seasons; when the CW canceled it, Brock Akil and her infuriated fans were powerless. “Girlfriends was my first expression in the medium, my full voice, and it allowed me to document myself,” she says. “It was: I’m here, I deserve to be here, and I’m entitled to it.”
She orchestrated a social media campaign to “Save the Game”
“Whenever a new network starts, they typically start with a black audience, then dump them once they get ratings and bring the other programming on,” Brock Akil says. But this was 2009, and the black fans who’d clogged phone lines in 2006 had grown into a powerful force on social media. So Brock Akil savvily coordinated a massive social media campaign. A “Save The Game” YouTube (GOOG) video featuring all her show’s stars implored fans to complain on their Facebook and Twitter accounts and CW’s message boards.“Before, the studio held the narrative,” Brock Akil says. “I heard that when Girlfriends got canceled, the fans broke the phone system. The mail was overwhelming. UPN or the CW didn’t have to report that the fans broke the phones! With social media, it was all out there.”
Mary Jane is purposely flawed
An earlier generation of black television writers felt a responsibility to provide Cosby-style role models. But realistic imperfection, more often afforded to white male characters than minority women, has become Brock Akil’s signature.“The thing about writing for African American characters is, people think you have to right all the wrongs that were done in the past, and I can’t do that,” she says. “I believe if we keep trying to fix something that’s over, we’re missing out on what is in the moment. If I do that, my art is stale. I’m chasing a ghost.”
To read more on Mara, click here.
Despite the increasing presence of women and minorities in the entertainment industry, the Writer’s Guild of America reports the picture isn’t quite so rosy when you look at the number of writers working behind the scenes. Even when there have been gains, they’re small. And where money is concerned, the wage gap is real.
“Female writers accounted for 15% of feature film work in 2012, the latest year tracked in the survey, down from 17% in 2009. Minority writers remained stuck at 5% of film jobs, unchanged from 2009, but the survey shows minority writer earnings declined over the same period even as paydays for white male writers increased. In TV, minority employment reached 11% in 2012, the highest level in a decade. Female employment dipped to 27%, down 1% from 2009, while the earnings gap between male and female writers closed ever so slightly (by 1 cent in 2012 compared to 2009) to 92 cents for every dollar earned by males.”
Deadline Hollywood notes that minorities watch disproportionate amounts of television and film despite their smaller presence in the industry. The median age of an industry writer is 41 to 50 years old.
The Writer’s Guild of America, West is a labor union that represents writers in film, television, radio and in internet programming.
“Before we are likely to realize meaningful, sustained change…other industry players – the networks, studios, and agents – will have to go well beyond what they have routinely done in the past to address the troubling shortfalls evident on the diversity front among writers,” said Darnell M. Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, the author of the study.
The WGA full study, “Turning Missed Opportunities Into Realized Ones: The 2014 Hollywood Writers Report,” will be made available in June.
Last year, measurement firm Nielsen announced they’d began tracking the viewing habits of 5 million households that consume entertainment on Internet-connected devices and TVs. Dubbed the “zero TV” households by Nielsen, these non-traditional viewers tend to be younger than 35 years old, childless; and 75 percent own at least one TV set that is connected to the Internet, not a cable or television service. Nielsen found that virtually half of the “zero TV” homes (48 percent) watch TV shows through online subscription services like Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus or Netflix.
With complaints of rising prices, sheer lack of interest and viewing limitations, zero watchers have left cable TV behind. It’s not always an option due to offerings in certain markets and the need for the high-speed Internet service, which is available through these providers, but many people are ready for the change. Here are several alternatives to cable you may want to explore:
Try networks/TV shows’ sites
Free is the perfect price, and there are ways to watch your current shows for that exact price point via the show or network’s website. So, let’s say you missed Scandal (and can wait about a week), you can watch it on ABC Go. Networks like CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS.org provide limited content for free on their websites as well.
You’ll want to catch the episodes within a few days of a new episode airing because many networks remove them shortly after posting.
Purchase to watch
If you’re not willing to wait and need to watch those recently released shows and movies, you’ll have to pay. Whether you decide to pay-per-episode or via subscription, you’re guaranteed to get the latest shows:
iTunes—The media management service allows users to either purchase single episodes or season bundles of numerous TV shows for no more than a of couple bucks. When you purchase a TV episode or movie through iTunes, you can download and watch them offline at your convenience. This comes in handy when traveling or bored and without a Wi-Fi connection. As long as you can access your Apple account, you’ll be able to watch your iTunes content. If you’d like to watch the content once, with no plans of watching it again, users can opt to rent content to save additional money.
iTunes is the favorable option because you don’t have to wait for an entire season to be released in order to purchase a single episode, which isn’t the case for all services.
Google Play— You can buy or rent single movies or television show episodes, as well as entire seasons of television content, from Google’s entertainment hub. While many Android holders use Google Play, anyone with a Google ID can use it online.
The following are supported by the majority of the TV streaming boxes and services—
Amazon Instant Video allows you to buy and watch single episodes, season packs or movies. An Amazon Prime subscription gives you access to some additional content, as well as unlimited streaming access to thousands of movies and TV shows through Instant Video. It’ll cost you $99 for a one-year membership, a $20 uptick from its original $79 price tag.
The delay between a season’s close and its arrival on streaming services is annoying, but Hulu Plus ($7.99) is pretty good on delivering the latest episodes. You’ll usually find shows the day after they air on Hulu, which can’t always be said for Netflix.
If you’re looking to binge watch and view a backlog of shows, Netflix is the likely pick. Its generous library of movies from every genre and shows that are currently airing is well worth the $7.99 per month.
We’ve listed the top but there are others, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Crackle, among others, out there. The original programming provided through Hulu (Miss Fits, Fresh Meat, Line of Duty) and Netflix (House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black) has furthered the way consumers view TV content.
How do you watch TV? Do you stream or are you more of a traditional TV viewer? Let us know in the comments section below.
From The Grio
Numerous black actors have played the president of the United States over the years on film and television, including Morgan Freeman, Dennis Haysbert, Richard Pryor and Jamie Foxx. But with a new pilot called State of Affairs, NBC is offering up the first black woman POTUS.
Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress Alfre Woodward will play President Roberta Payton in the drama that is being billed as a cross betweenScandal and The West Wing. Woodard is joined by Katherine Heigl, whose character is a CIA operative who does daily debriefings with the president. Heigl’s character is also the ex-girlfriend of President Payton’s late son.
No further details about the pilot are available, but just the fact that a major network’s drama will star a black woman as the leader of the free world is a significant milestone in how black women are depicted in pop culture.
Scandal, flaws and all, was met with much fanfare when it debuted in 2012 partly because Kerry Washington’s power-wielding, smartly dressed lead character was a welcomed departure from prevailing depictions of black women in popular reality television and Tyler Perry creations. The show has since gone on to receive Emmy nominations, countless magazine spreads for its star and the social media buzz for Scandal is unmatched.
So, it’s not shocking that NBC has a pilot in the works that it is billing as a Scandal/West Wing hybrid. Political dramas have a proven track record in primetime television and Scandal’s ratings success with a black woman lead shows that America is ready to see powerful black women in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
One consistent criticism of Scandal concerns the main character Olivia Pope’s love life. She might be able to handle any sticky situation that is presented to her at work, but Pope basically melts into romantic-hyperbole-blubbering butter as soon as her married lover is in her vicinity.
If the State of Affairs pilot is picked up, it will be interesting to see how President Payton’s love life is written. Is she a widow? If she has a husband, what is his race? Is she faithful? Often times, fictional presidents are presented as having complicated love lives, but for a black woman in that position, could she afford to have such messiness?
I’m thinking that the title State of Affairs is a bit of a play on words and the show will likely feature plenty of extramarital flings. With Woodard and Heigl as the named leads, the show appears to be following the Scandal (Shonda Rhimes) formula of having a diverse cast. This would be a win-win for the network.
Read more about Alfre Woodard’s new role at TheGrio.com
Alfre Woodard has snagged her next major role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the “12 Years A Slave” actress has been cast to star in NBC’s new pilot drama, “State of Affairs”.
In the pilot, which has been described as “Scandal” meets “West Wing,” Woodard will be playing the role of President Roberta Payton, who enlists a CIA agent Whitney Tucker (played by Katherine Heigl), to counsel her daily on incidents occurring around the world and target America’s most pressing threats. Interestingly, Whitney also happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Roberta’s deceased son.
The script for the drama filled pilot will be written by Alexi Hawley and Joe Carnahan. Hawley will also executive produce the show along with Heigl and her mother-manager Nancy Heigl, Bob Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Julia Franz and Rodney Faraon.
Woodard joins a long roster of actors and actresses of color with leading roles in pilots this season. Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, Terrence Howard, Octavia Spencer and Jada Pinkett-Smith. This definitely sounds like the makings of an interesting series.
Does “State of Affairs” seem like a show you’d be interested in checking out?