Tag Archives: jennifer lopez

Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Eva Longoria projects part of NBC’s slate

Stevie Wonder is on board for an NBC miniseries set against the 19th-century Underground Railroad that helped escaped slaves find freedom.

Wonder, who will serve as executive producer for the project, also may be involved in a musical adaptation of the miniseries that is aimed at Broadway, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said.

“The hope is that Stevie will write the score” for the musical that’s in development and which would be staged after the miniseries airs, Greenblatt said.

NBC is in business with another famed musician, Dolly Parton. The network has closed a deal for a series of TV movies based on her songs, stories and “inspired life,” he said.

“To know Dolly is to love her, and the movies will be infused with genuine hopefulness, not to mention her music,” Greenblatt said.

The network, which scored big ratings with a live 2013 production of “The Sound of Music” but less so with the more recent “Peter Pan,” remains committed to musicals, Greenblatt said.

Next up will be either “The Wiz,” the 1970s stage reinvention of “The Wizard of Oz,” or “The Music Man,” which the network had previously said it had optioned. The network has time to decide since the musical that’s chosen is 11 months away from broadcast, Greenblatt said.

On the series side, NBC has ordered 13 episodes of the half-hour comedy “Telenovela,” with Eva Longoria as the star and executive producer. The series is a behind-the-scenes look at the “craziness” of making such a serialized drama, with Longoria playing the “beautiful and overly dramatic” lead actress of a hit Latin America TV show.

NBC, which plans a police drama titled “Shades of Blue” with another Latina star, Jennifer Lopez, recognizes the growing importance of the Latino audience, Greenblatt said.

“We get the diversity angle,” he said.

Air dates for the various projects were not announced.

Jennifer Lopez, Laverne Cox win GLAAD Media Awards

Jennifer Lopez has added a couple of more trophies to her block.

The pop star and “American Idol” judge was honored over the weekend at the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards with the Vanguard Award, which lauds efforts to increase visibility and understanding of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community.

In addition to being an outspoken advocate for LGBT civil rights, Lopez serves as executive producer of the ABC Family series “The Fosters,” which centers on a lesbian couple raising their children. “The Fosters” also won the award for outstanding drama series.

Other winners at the Beverly Hilton Hotel ceremony included NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” for daily drama, Fuse’s “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” for reality program, Tegan and Sara for music artist and “Young Avengers” for comic book. “Bridegroom” and “Call Me Kuchu” tied for the outstanding documentary trophy.

“Orange is the New Black” star Laverne Cox was presented with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is given to a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender member of the entertainment community. Previous recipients include Wanda Sykes, Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Ellen DeGeneres and Ian McKellen.

Norman Lear, the veteran producer of such sitcoms as “All in the Family” and “Maude,” was honored with the Pioneer Award.

The awards salute fair, accurate and inclusive representation in media of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives. Other winners will be presented at a New York ceremony on May 3.

One Million Moms condemns new TV show produced by Jennifer Lopez

The anti-gay group One Million Moms is in a furor over a new television series produced by Jennifer Lopez for ABC.

The group blasted the show, which centers around a lesbian couple, as “anti-family.” In a statement, the group vows to stop it “dead in its tracks.”

“Obviously, ABC has lost their minds,” the statement says.” They haven’t let up, so neither will we. ABC’s Family Channel has several anti-family programs, and they are planning on adding to that growing list. ABC Family has approved a series pilot from Jennifer Lopez’s production company, Nuyorican, about a lesbian couple and their diverse family.

“Many families have already discovered that ABC Family Channel is anything but family-friendly. But because of family being part of the network’s name, we thought a warning should still be sent out for anyone who continues to watch the channel.

“A premiere date has not been set, but One Million Moms wanted to sound the alarm about this new series. It will be airing on the network soon unless we do something about it. They are in the beginning stages.”

“Hollywood is continuing to push an agenda that homosexuality is acceptable when scripture states clearly it is a sin. As Christians, the Bible also says that we must speak up against sin. If we remain silent then we are guilty of sin also.”

The series under attack has the working title of “Meet the Fosters.” Industry observers say OMM’s opposition will not influence ABC Family, which has long ago written off the fringe-right Christian community.

One Million Mom’s frequently launches boycotts and crusades against companies that do not follow their interpretation of scripture. The group vigorously attacked JCPenney for choosing Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson, but the brand saw a positive increase in perception as a result, according to market analysts. Their attack on the NBC show “The New Normal” (pictured),  which debuts on Sept. 11, resulted in a Utah station cancelling the program. But they put the comedy in the news and generated unusually high viewer interest.

Before turning to Lopez’s TV show, OMM attacked the candy Skittles over a commercial in which a woman kisses a walrus. OMM said the commercial shows the candy maker “is taking lightly the act of bestiality.”

Dishing the divas


Britney Spears

Blame her parents, who pimped her out. Or blame the Disney machinery that molded her. Britney Spears has been making headlines, most of them not music-related or flattering, since her debut.

Spears’ latest disc “Femme Fatale” cements her status as a product of studio wizardry rather than actual performance skills. From the selection of songwriting-by-committee compositions (including the pseudo disco of “Till the World Ends,” the faux-urban suggestiveness of “Inside Out” and “How I Roll”) to the lifeless and robotic vocals (will.i.am’s “Big Fat Bass,” for example), “Femme Fatale” is fatally flawed.

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez will do anything for our respect. Whether she’s taking a stab at being a fashion icon, a serious actress or a judge on an over-rated TV talent show, she wants nothing more than to be valued for her talents. Whatever they may be.

And that’s what makes her recording career so puzzling. Does she really need (or want) to be a singer? Look no further than her unlovable new album “Love?” for the answers.

When Cher was strutting her stuff – in rocker chick or disco diva drag – well into her 40s and 50s, she came off as timeless. J Lo just sounds tampered with and tired. Buried under a production as slick and shiny as the CD booklet and as gauzy as the photos, Lopez gives her most phoned-in performance to date.

Check it out on the vocoder programmed “Good Hit,” the un-hip hip-hop of “I’m Into You” (featuring the over-exposed Lil Wayne), the silly Latin disco of “Papi,” the generic dance of “Invading My Mind” and “Villain.” Lopez does manage to crawl out from under the rubble on “Until It Beats No More” and “Starting Over.”

Lady Gaga

Let’s be honest, gays, Gaga let us down.

Not that her unflagging support of the community isn’t welcome and appreciated. After all, what did Britney ever do for us aside from appearing on an episode of “Will & Grace”?

But Lady Gaga’s well-oiled hype machine blew more than a little bit of smoke up our asses. “Born This Way” – or could that be born again? – stalls shortly out of the gate. “Marry the Night” is an energetic club anthem complete with Gaga’s trademark stutter. But the title cut suffers from sounding too familiar (“Express Yourself,” anyone?), in spite of its uplifting message.

In “Judas,” Gaga cannibalizes herself. “Americano,” “Hair” (rhymes with “prayer”), “Bloody Mary,” “Heavy Metal Lover,” “Electric Chapel” and Yoü and I” contain distracting and less-than-subtle religious references.

Still, songs such as “Bad Kids” and “Government Hooker” hold promise for what is yet to come from Our Lady of Gaga.

Sade

When Sade’s domestic debut “Diamond Life” arrived in 1984, it was clear that Madonna was no longer the only one-named wonder winning over music lovers. On the strength of hit songs such as “Your Love Is King,” “Smooth Operator” and “Hang on to Your Love,” Sade sparkled and dazzled listeners with the promise of more. These treasures and others are all found on the splendid new double-disc compilation “The Ultimate Collection.”

For the most part, Sade didn’t disappoint following her auspicious debut. She kept the strong songs coming with “The Sweetest Taboo” and “Never as Good as The First Time” from 1985’s aptly titled “Promise.” Her 1988 release “Paradise” featured “Stronger Than Pride” and “No Ordinary Love.” Then there was 1992’s “Love Deluxe.”

Eight years passed before Sade returned in 2000 with the Bob Marley-esque “By Your Side” from “Lovers Rock.” And then it was another 10 years before her next studio disc, “Soldier of Love,” whose title track was possibly her most daring musical departure.

In addition to the nine aforementioned selections, “The Ultimate Collection” contains 19 more cuts, such as the unexpected Thin Lizzy cover “Still In Love With You” and a dreadful remix of “The Moon and the Sky,” with the unnecessary Jay-Z, making this her most thorough anthology to date.

Lucinda Williams

Country rock survivor Lucinda Williams is nothing if not prolific. Since her groundbreaking 1998 comeback disc “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” she’s recorded five more studio albums, including her latest “Blessed.” She’s never taken more than a few years off between releases.

The Williams of “Passionate Kisses” fame is probably a thing of the past. The closest we get to something almost upbeat occurs on fourth song of “Blessed” – “Seeing Black.” For the most part this is a somber if occasionally uplifting CD, as you can hear on the exquisite album closer “Kiss Like Your Kiss,” as well as “I Don’t Know How You’re Livin’,” “Born to Be Loved” and “Convince Me.”

Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull has long struck a balance between being an interpreter of other people’s songs and a performer of her own compositions. Over the course of almost 20 studio recordings and 45 years, Faithfull has achieved legendary status.

Faithfull’s latest disc “Horses and High Heels” maintains her standing. Produced by Hal Willner, who worked with Faithfull on previous discs, the 13 songs on “Horses and High Heels” won’t disappoint for their sheer diversity and for the way Faithfull makes herself at home in whatever setting she’s working.

Co-written originals such as “Eternity” and “Prussian Blue” rank among her best achievements as a songwriter. Faithfull’s renditions of Jackie Lomax’s “No Reasons” (which has more than a subtle suggestion of the Rolling Stones), Lesley Duncan’s “Love Song” and Allen Toussaint’s “Back in Baby’s Arms” (on which guest backing vocalist Jenni Muldaur also shines brightly) find her at the peak of her interpretive skills.

PJ Harvey

“Let England Shake,” PJ Harvey’s musical homage to her motherland, is one of the most riveting but unsettling albums of the year. There is blood and gore and death everywhere. Soldiers fall “like lumps of meat” while flesh quivers “in the heat” in “The Words that Maketh Murder.” The xylophone in the title track might almost distract you from the “fountain of death” and end of England’s “dancing days.” The brassy charge, a war cry if ever there was one, woven into the fabric of “The Glorious Land” is strangely exhilarating. But the chanting and Mellotron in “England” only serve to call attention to the people who “stagnate with time.”

And yet, it’s hard to turn away, especially from “Bitter Branches” and the stunning “Hanging in the Wire.”

Avril Lavigne

On “Goodbye Lullaby,” her fourth album and first in four years, prefab skate-pop chick Avril Lavigne sounds like she’s trying to distance herself from the snarling brat of her previous discs. After all, she is a 27-year-old divorcee. So a song such as “Wish You Were Here,” perhaps the most mature track on the disc, sounds like the most adult recording she’s ever made.

But that doesn’t last long, because in “Smile” she sings about being a “crazy bitch,” blacking out and waking up with a new tattoo. She gets serious again on “Everybody Hurts” (not the R.E.M. song of the same name), as well as “Not Enough.” And that’s pretty much how it goes, a serious-to-silly seesaw.

Sade