Get ready for the return of Martin Lawrence to TV. Lawrence is currently negotiating a deal with Kelsey Grammer to do a sitcom for either the TBS or TNT networks. Grammer is best known for his 20-year stint playing “Dr. Fraiser Crane” on the TV shows Cheers and Frasier. Grammer just wrapped a stint on the Starz cable series Boss. In the 90’s, Lawrence ruled the airwaves with the Martin show on FOX, and he has wanted to return to the small screen. Last year, he had a
developed deal with CBS, but it fell through. Lawrence also backed out of a movie project with Jamie Foxx. Lawrence has been in a career slump for a while and he feels returning to TV is his best bet.
Singer Fantasia is having a hard time getting a career reboot. Fantasia took her frustration to social media, and it backfired on her. Fantasia spoke out about gay marriage and legalizing marijuana. Fantasia is not anti-gay, but her words were picked up by other outlets and misquoted. Fantasia is also tired of being judged for having a baby with a married man. She knows this has hurt her career, and she needs a hit record. Her personal life is such a mess that she can’t even get a reality show. Fantasia knows her fans will never understand why she is buying her baby daddy's (Antwaun Cook) affections. Fantasia's new CD is due out in a few weeks. She is already working on her look. She has a new stylist and already dropped a lot of weight. Fantasia's
new album is The Side Effects Of You and comes out March 13th featuring the lead single Lose To Win.
Cissy Houston will be sitting down with Oprah Winfrey as she marks the one year anniversary of the death of her daughter Whitney Houston. Cissy will be talking about her new book, which details the life she had with Whitney. Cissy will be Oprah's guest on Next Chapter in early February. Oprah is lining up the big gets for her OWN cable station. Disgraced Cycling Great Lance Armstrong will be joining Oprah on the 17th. Did he use performance enhancing drugs? Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour De France titles. Sources say we will see tears, and he
ask for forgiveness. If he tells the truth, will he go to jail like Olympic Runner Marion Jones? She served a six month sentence for lying to Feds about steroid use. Will there be a double standard?
In more OWN news, the next few months will see Actress/Comedienne Kim Whitley debuting her new show about raising a baby. In late May, Tyler Perry will be debuting his new shows (The Haves And Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor) for the network.
Speaking of Tyler Perry, he got a ringing endorsement from a surprising source........Minister Louis Farrakhan. Minister Farrakhan called Perry one of the great, young entrepreneurs of current time. The Minister also said he's glad Perry brought the character of “Madea” to America's consciousness by using humor to show the greatness of black women. These remarks came from a recent installment of Farrakhan Speaks.
TJ Holmes and BET.....is the end near? Holmes news/talk/variety show Don't Sleep hasn't been on the air since December 19th. That was after being scaled back from its October premiere and five
day a week airing to Wednesday nights only. Holmes has since popped up on MSNBC as a fill-in anchor. Reports are that Holmes was not happy with BET's changes, and BET isn't happy with the Don't Sleep ratings. Stay tuned!
Actor Ving Rhames has joined the cast of the medical drama Monday Mornings. The show is produced by David E. Kelly (Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal, Pickett Fences ) and CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Monday Mornings debuts February 4th on the TNT cable network.
Mark Wahlberg is starring in the film Broken City from Director Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, The Book Of Eli). The movie also stars Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta Jones, and is about an ex-cop with a scandalous past hired by the mayor to spy on his wife. Broken City opens January 18th. I got a chance to interview both Mark and Allen and reallly had a great time with them.
Don’t look for a reunion of the 90’s TV classic In Living Color. Show Creator Keenen Ivory Wayans shot a pilot for a new version of the show, but FOX network execs didn’t like it and turned the new show down.
One of the hottest reality shows is the TLC network's The Best Funeral Ever. The special had over a million viewers on its debut episode January 6th. Best Funeral Ever features over the top funerals and was a Sunday night special, but look for it to back very soon on TLC.
Our prayers and condolences go out to Singer Rebbie Jackson. Rebbie is the quiet one in the Jackson family, and she's best known for her 1984 hit Centipede. Rebbie’s husband Nathaniel Brown died recently after a long battle with cancer. Rebbie and her husband were married for 44 years and had three children.
R.I.P to Singer Lou Wilson of Mandrill. Wilson died at the age of 71 from a massive heart attack. Wilson, along with his brothers Ric and Carlos, founded the group Mandrill in 1968. Mandrill is best known for the hits I Refuse To Smile, Ape Is High, House Of Wood, Fencewalk and Can You Get It (Suzie Caesar). His brothers Carlos, Ric and Wolf called Lou Wilson the centerpiece of their music and lives.
Also Actor Ned Wertimer died this week at the age of 89. He's best known for playing “Ralph, the doorman” for 11 seasons on The Jeffersons beginning in 1975. His death comes only months after Co-Star Sherman Hemsley's (“George Jefferson”). Wertimer had something in common with his Co-star Roxie Roker (a.k.a. Lenny Kravitz's mom), who played “Helen Willis” and half of an interracial-married couple on and off the show. Wertimer was also half of an interracial couple in real life. He married his wife, the distinguished College Professor/Author/Researcher Dr. Skyne Uku, after he came to Hollywood in the 1960's. Wertimer died at a nursing home following a fall at
Tami Roman, David Keith, Ella Joyce and Elise Neal will be starring in the TV One show Belle's. The show about a family running a soul food business, and it debuts February 1st.
The 2013 Essence Music Festival is happening July 4-7 in New Orleans. Jill Scott, Keyshia Cole, New Edition, Brandy, LL Cool J, Mint Condition,“Uncle Charlie” Wilson and Maxwell are schedule to perform this year.
Speaking of Maxwell, he is hard at work on his fifth CD. He plans on releasing the second installment of his Black Summers Night trilogy series later this year. Last summer, he had to cancel his tour when he suffered vocal swelling and hemorrhaging.
Funkateer George Clinton had to sell the publishing rights to his music to pay off a million dollar debt. Clinton had to turn over the rights to some of his biggest hits including One Nation Under A Groove, (Not Just) Knee Deep, Mothership Connection and P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up) to pay off the debt to a law firm.
Boyz II Men is setting up shop in Las Vegas. Starting in March, they will be doing a series of weekend concerts for the rest of the year at the Mirage Casino. The Philadelphia natives just celebrated their 20th year as a group.
NeNe Leakes has reconciled with her husband Greg. Will their reunion and renewing of their vows be a part of the new season of The Real Housewives Of Atlanta?
Iyanla Van Zant is on the cover of the latest issue of Essence magazine.
Ebony magazine is celebrating Black Love with a triple cover featuring Meagan Good (Deception) & her husband Film Exec DeVon Franklin, Bishop TD Jakes & his wife Serita and Tiny & T.I.
Get ready for Beyonce in the new year: She’s performing halftime at the Superbowl; she’s producing a documentary about her life that will air on HBO February 16th; and she has just signed on as the new spokesperson for Pepsi. The $50 million Pepsi deal was announced this week and includes Beyonce's picture on Pepsi cans with the soda giant sponsoring all her major events. She’s also going to be the cover girl for the March issue of Vogue magazine and for the new issue of GQ magazine. Plus, she’ll be singing the National Anthem at President Obama's inauguration. Four years ago, Beyonce sang Etta James' At Last for The President and First Lady Michelle Obama at the inaugural ball.
Wendy Williams is releasing a new book of advice called Ask Wendy. The book comes out May 7th.
R Kelly has recorded a song for the survivors of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. The song, I Know You Are Hurting, features choirs of children and adults.
Congratulations to Stars Wars Creator George Lucas. The 68-year old film producer recently announced his engagement to 43-year old Investment Firm President Mellody Hobson. Hobson is also appears as a contributor to Good Morning America on financial issues and she's chairman of
Dreamworks Animation studio division.
Actress Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) will be taking a job on Public TV for the show Afro Pop. The show bills itself as the ultimate cultural exchange.
Halle Berry, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle and Bishop TD Jakes are going to be honored at the 2013 BET Honors. Gabrielle Union returns as host, and the show airs on BET February 11th. Performers include Ledisi, Alicia Keys, Brandy, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, The S.O.S. Band and Erykah Badu.
Congrats to Singer Brandy! She’s in Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor, and she recently got engaged to longtime boyfriend and Music Executive Ryan Press.
On Monday, March 18th, Latin Singing Sensation Shakira will join the lineup of NBC's singing reality show The Voice along with Usher. They'll join Judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Usher will also be starring in the movie Hands Of Stone, about the life of Boxing Great Sugar Ray Leonard.