Thursday, March 12, 2020

"The Walking Dead" Star Danai Gurira Inks Deal With ABC Studios

Black Panther and The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira has signed a two-year overall deal with ABC Studios. Under the pact, she will develop, write and produce for the studio across all platforms. Gurira is currently serving as showrunner and executive producer on Americanah, a miniseries for HBO Max which she adapted from the bestselling novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

“From Zimbabwe to Wakanda to Broadway, there is no one like Danai Gurira, said Jonnie Davis, president, ABC Studios. The scope of her talents and the breadth of her abilities are simply astonishing. We are over the moon that she has chosen to make ABC Studios her exclusive home.”

Gurira holds the distinction of being the first African female writer to have a play on Broadway and to bring the perspective of African women to mainstream theater. Her stage plays, which give voice to untold narratives, include In the Continuum, Tony-nominated Eclipsed and The Convert. Her newest play, Familiar, received its world premiere at Yale Rep and premiered in NY at Playwrights Horizons in 2016. Commissioned by Yale Rep, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons and the Royal Court, she is a recipient of the Sam Norkin Award (2016 Drama Desk Awards), a Whiting Award as well as a Hodder Fellowship.

Angus Sampson Joins Kiele Sanchez in CBS Series "The Lincoln Lawyer"

Angus Sampson (Insidious) is set as a series regular opposite Kiele Sanchez in CBS’ drama The Lincoln Lawyer, from The Practice creator David E. Kelley based on Michael Connelly’s bestselling novels. It hails from A+E Studios, which will co-produce with CBS TV Studios.

Sampson will play Cisco, a former biker gang member who now serves as Mickey’s (yet to be cast) investigator, friend, and when necessary, bodyguard, Cisco is an imposing figure with a keen mind and a deep well of contacts on both sides of the law that help him do his job.

The search continues for the lead role of Mickey Haller, played in the 2011 feature adaptation by Matthew McConaughey.

Written by Kelley & directed by Bernstein, The Lincoln Lawyer centers on Mickey Haller, an iconoclastic idealist, who runs his law practice out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car, as he takes on cases big & small across the expansive city of Los Angeles.

Wisdom of the Crowd creator Ted Humphrey serves as executive producer and showrunner, and Adam Bernstein (Divorce) directs and executive produces the project, which has a series order. Kelley executive produces with Humphrey, Connelly, Bernstein and Ross Fineman.

"The Blacklist" Renewed For 8th Season By NBC

NBC has ordered an 8th season of The Blacklist, the second consecutive year the veteran drama has received an early renewal. This time, the pickup was tied to a celebration of The Blacklist‘s 150th episode with the cast and crew in NY last month where the renewal announcement was made by NBC executives. There are no current plans for Season 8 to be the show’s final season.

Additionally, NBC has set a return date for The Blacklist’s current 7th season, which will resume March 20 at 8 PM with two back-to-back episodes.

The Blacklist pickup didn't come out of the blue. In anticipation of a renewal, Sony Pictures Television over the past few months closed new deals with the original cast members whose contracts were coming to an end, including stars James Spader and Megan Boone, The show’s entire cast is set to return next season.

“Congratulations to our incredible cast, producers and crew, all of whom continue to reach excellence week in and week out,” said Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, Co-Presidents of Scripted Programming, NBC Entertainment. “We couldn’t be more excited to continue Red and Liz’s story into season eight.”

After a meteoric early ratings run, The Blacklist, in which NBC Universal has an ownership stake, has become a reliable utility player for NBC. Currently in its seventh season, The Blacklist is averaging a 1.1 rating in adults 18-49 and 6.6 million viewers overall in Live+7 Nielsens to tie as the season’s #1 Friday drama in most current 18-49 season standings. With the addition of digital and linear delayed viewing to date, the show’s Oct. 4 season premiere has grown to a 1.6 in 18-49 and 8.1 million viewers. Additionally, The Blacklist is a major profit generator for Sony TV with strong international sales and a lucrative Netflix streaming deal.

The Blacklist’ continues to tell exciting and imaginative stories,” said Chris Parnell, Co-President, Sony Pictures Television. “It’s due to the brilliant cast, crew and our writing staff, led by Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath, who commit to unparalleled creativity. Wait until you see what’s in store for season eight. Thank you to Lisa Katz, Tracey Pakosta, Pearlena Igbokwe and all of our partners at NBC and Universal Television.”