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stephanie-mills-the-wiz

Before Diana Ross eased on down the road for the 1978 film The Wiz, it was another actress who played Dorothy Gale in the all-African-American reimagining of The Wizard Of Oz. Stephanie Mills originated the role in the hit Broadway production. NBC just revealed the 58-year-old actress will take part in their live production airing later this year. This time, however, she’ll play Auntie Em.

In addition to starring on stage, Mills also had a successful recording career. She found commercial success with hits including “What Cha’ Gonna Do With My Lovin’,” “Put Your Body In It” and my personal favorite “Never Knew Love Like This Before.” Love that latter disco jam.

Reportedly, producers are looking for ‘new talent‘ to play Dorothy. Boo, I was hoping for a bigger name. If they learned anything from last year’s disappointing Peter Pan, a household name is needed to lure in viewers.

The Wiz Live! will air on NBC on December 3. The network is teaming up with Cirque du Soleil to stage this production.

check out some of her biggest hits after the jump

nbc-2015-upfronts

Believe it or not, NBC only has an hour reserved next Fall for comedy. Surprising given that this is the network that gave the world Friends, Cheers, Seinfeld etc… Making matters even worse, the hour block is on Friday night to boot. Ouch! Returning series Undateable, which will go live next season, and the new Mark-Paul Gosselaar sitcom People Are Talking get the slot.

Given that NBC hasn’t launched a successful comedy in years, it makes sense. However, the peacock network has a couple of very interesting comedies waiting in the wings. America Ferrara and Eva Longoria return in Superstore and Hot & Bothered respectively. Both look to have lots of potential.

With regards to dramas, Blindspot, from Greg Berlanti looks the most interesting, along with The Player and Heroes Reborn. I’m curious to see if the latter can recapture the magic of its predecessor.

Neil Patrick Harris hopes to bring back the variety format with his new weekly series. I was excited about this, that is until his Academy Awards hosting gig ;) Check out show descriptions, trailers and new schedule below.

check out the schedule and trailers after the jump

major-networks-renewals-cancellations

For the most part, the broadcast networks have revealed the fates of their shows heading into next week’s exciting upfronts week. I’m sure the remaining shows in limbo will learn the verdict this weekend.

For a television addict like myself, it’s my favorite time of the year. I can’t wait to see what they think will become the next breakout hits next season. Until the big unveiling, check out below to see if your favorites are returning for the 2015-16 season.

check out the current status of all the shows after the jump

Mark-Paul Gosselaar Returns To NBC For New Sitcom

In: Donovan, TV Shows
mark-paul-gosselaar-people-are-talking

Mark-Paul Gosselaar returns to the network that launched his career. The peacock network has given the green light to its first new sitcom for the 2015-16 TV season. People Are Talking marks the 41-year-old’s first lead role in a comedy since Saved By The Bell: The College Years.

learn more about it after the jump

aquarius-david-duchovny

As the old adage states, if you can’t beat them, join them. Netflix that is.

In an unprecedented move by any broadcast network, NBC revealed it will release all 13 episodes of David Duchovny’s new series immediately after the two-hour premiere on Thursday, May 28. Aquarius will then be available on NBC.com, the network’s app and other on-demand platforms.

Set in the 1960s, Duchovny plays an LA police sergeant who is helped in a missing persons case by undercover officer Brian Shafe (Grey Damon), who behaves like a hippie and fits in with the people being questioned. Unknown to them, their investigation will lead them to Charles Manson. Aquarius is a sprawling work of historical fiction that begins two years before the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.

read statement after the jump

NBC Resurrects Wizard Of Oz-Themed Project

In: Donovan, TV Shows
emerald-city-nbc

NBC originally gave a 10-episode straight-to-series commitment for Emerald City last year. The Wizard of Oz-themed drama would’ve been based on L. Frank Baum’s 14 books. The modern and dark reimagining of the classic tales were reportedly going to be in the vein of Game of Thrones. NBC scrapped the project due to the ever popular ‘creative differences‘ reasoning. It appears the peacock network has had a change of mind.

Read the rest of this entry »

nbc-the-wiz-musical

It was between The Music Man and The Wiz and it appears the latter won. The re-imagining of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz featuring an all-black cast will be NBC’s next live musical production. With Empire nabbing killer ratings, it’s a wise choice for the peacock network to go with a music book filled with R&B flair. For the first time ever, producers will team up with Cirque du Soleil.

“We love this yearly tradition and we’re more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America’s living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well,” said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt. “Cirque’s incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love.”

Not only is The Wiz coming to television this holiday season, it’s also headed to Broadway for a revival production scheduled to debut during the 2016-17 season. Once again, Smash showrunners and exiting Oscar producers Craig Zaden and Neil Meron will executive produce the show. Harvey Fierstein will contribute new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.

watch Michael & Diana ease on down the road after the jump

Another Original Cast Member Joins Heroes Reborn

In: Donovan, TV Shows
heroes-cast

When NBC first announced it was resurrecting Heroes for a 13-episode miniseries, many were hopeful that some of the original cast members would return. Jack Coleman who played Noah Bennet was the sole OG alum attached to Heroes Reborn. That is until now… A fan favorite just booked a guest-starring arc on the event series. Find out who below.

find out who after the jump

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