Producer/director Reginald Hudlin, whose credits include the 2016 Oscars, will become the first-ever Black executive producer of the Primetime Emmys, Variety has learned exclusively.
Done+Dusted will return to produce the telecast, while Hudlin will serve as an executive producer along side host Jimmy Kimmel and Done+Dusted’s Guy Carrington, David Jammy and Ian Stewart.
ABC and the Television Academy is set to announce the Emmys producing team later today. Last year, Done+Dusted produced the kudocast alongside Don Mischer Prods.
“I’m excited to collaborate with this outstanding team as we produce a show that celebrates the best of what we do and reflects this moment in history,” said Hudlin, who earned an Emmy nomination for producing the Oscars, and whose awards show credits also include executive producing the NAACP Image Awards for nearly a decade.
The Emmys are set to air on Sunday, Sept. 20 with Kimmel presiding. But beyond that, details of this Emmy Awards are still being worked out, including how much will be produced remotely and whether there will be an in-studio element. Normally, the Emmys are held with a full audience at the Microsoft Theatre at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would seem to place a limit on that idea.
“The world has been turned upside-down by a pandemic, but television has remained our steadfast friend through it all, and we want to come together to honor this friend of ours that informs, entertains and oftentimes uplifts us when we need it most,” said Ian Stewart of Done+Dusted. “How we accomplish that on Emmy night is a question we’re all grappling with, but any stumbling block can be a stepping stone, depending on how you use it.”
This is the third year in a row that Done+Dusted has been a producer on the Primetime Emmy telecast, having also handled the show’s 2018 airing on NBC.
“Each year Done + Dusted has produced the Emmys, they’ve brought new ideas and a great collaborative spirit, and with the addition of Reggie Hudlin, it promises to be a truly exceptional night,” said Frank Scherma, Television Academy chairman and CEO. “In this year of tremendous challenge, we look forward to the joint team innovating even more, delivering a reimagined Emmys to honor the exceptional television that has brought us together while we’ve had to remain apart.”
Last year, to mix things up, the Emmys went without a host for the first time since 2003. Done+Dusted has its work cut out for it: In recent years, the Emmys has faced major ratings declines: 2019’s telecast dropped 33% to record lows (a 1.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demo and 6.9 million viewers), while the 2018 edition was the previously lowest rated, with a 2.4 rating and 10.2 million viewers.
This year’s show, however, has the draw of the return of Kimmel, who previously hosted in 2012 and 2016. And then there’s the unique aspect of creating a major awards show in the middle of a pandemic.
The nature of this year’s Emmys should give Hudlin, Done+Dusted and Kimmel a bit of permission to rethink the show and perhaps make some major changes in an effort to attract more viewers, who may already be more willing to show up and see what the Emmys might look like in this environment. Kimmel is also an executive producer on the telecast.
Done+Dusted has had plenty of experience in recent months producing specials in these social distancing times. That includes the four-hour YouTube Originals livestream “Dear Class of 2020,” which featured Barack and Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, BTS, Alicia Keys and others. The company also worked with LeBron James’ Springhill Ent. to produce “Graduate Together,” another virtual graduation special that aired across multiple networks.
At ABC, Done+Dusted was behind the recent “Disney Family Singalong” and its sequel. In pre-COVID times, Done+Dusted also worked with the Alphabet network in last November’s “The Little Mermaid Live,” which earned critical raves and attracted 9 million viewers.
Other credits for Done+Dusted, which is based in both London and Los Angeles, include the London Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, the British Fashion Awards, “Stand Up to Cancer,” Nickelodeon’s “Kids Choice Sports Awards,” the BAFTA Television Awards, HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” special and the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”
Hudlin earned an Oscar best picture nomination in 2013 for “Django Unchained”; his career has included film and television, and even a stint as a network executive — having served as the first entertainment president for BET. His film credits also include “House Party,” “Boomerang,” “Great White Hype” and “Bebe’s Kids,” while he was an executive producer of “The Boondocks” and also wrote and produced the animated series “Black Panther,” based on the comic book series he wrote.
Hudlin’s latest film is “The Black Godfather,” currently streaming on Netflix, while he also directed the legal thriller “Marshall” and produced the Civil War-era historical drama “Emperor,” which premieres next month. Hudlin’s upcoming Disney Plus film “Safety” premieres this fall.
Kimmel will serve as an EP through his shingle Kimmelot, a collaboration with Wheelhouse Entertainment’s Brent Montgomery.
Nominations for the 72nd Emmy Awards will be announced by the Television Academy on Tuesday, July 28.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has picked up the U.S. rights to Emperor,the feature based on the harrowing journey of American freedom fighter Shields Green, played by Dayo Okeniyi (Shades of Blue). Oscar nominee James Cromwell (The Green Mile) co-stars along with Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries), Naturi Naughton (Power), Mykelti Williamson (Fences), Ben Robson (The Boy) and Oscar nominee Bruce Dern (Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood).
Mark Amin directed the pic, which was originally slated for a limited theatrical release in March via Briarcliff Entertainment but was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’ll be released on digital, DVD and on-demand on August 18.
Set in the pre-Civil War South, the film details Green’s escape from slavery and his transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Seeking freedom for his family, Emperor fights his way north, joining the daring raid on Harper’s Ferry, the key battle of the abolitionist movement which helped spark the beginning of the Civil War and alter the course of American history.
Amin co-wrote the screenplay with Pat Charles. Django Unchained producer Reginald Hudlin produced the pic along with Amin and Cami Winikoff.
Disney+ revealed today an exclusive sneak peek from their upcoming new original anthology docuseries Marvel’s 616. The new series will be revealed further later this week at Comic-Con@Home on Thursday, July 23, 1:00 p.m. and discuss the making of the show
The show will premiere this fall.
The first clip is from the episode “Higher, Further, Faster” directed by actor/director Gillian Jacobs, which shines a light on the women of Marvel Comics and how they found ways to tell stories of representation and inclusion. Watch it below.
The second clip is from the Paul Scheer-directed episode “Lost and Found,” following the actor and comedian’s eye-opening and at times hilarious journey to discover the “forgotten” characters of Marvel Comics. Watch it below.
In the early ‘90s, Reginald Hudlin first encountered Denys Cowan, by then a celebrated artist off his work on projects ranging from DEATHLOK to THE QUESTION. Riding high off his own success of writing and directing the 1990 hit House Party, the future President of Black Entertainment Television recalls this first meeting:
“It had to be around the founding of Milestone [Media],” says Hudlin, referring to the landmark comic imprint that Cowan helped found alongside Dwayne McDuffie, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle. “I was a fan of the work of each of the creators, and loved that they were teaming up to start a company. They actually asked if I wanted to join them, but I had just made House Party and thought I should solidify my movie career before I started branching off into new fields. I remember sitting on the desks of their offices, hearing great stories, like the time when Clarence Thomas called their offices as a fan. And talking about creators who were hating on them for being successful. I told them don’t worry about the haters, time will tell the story. And it did.”
The idea of working in comics stuck with Hudlin, and the prospect of collaborating on something Cowan could help bring to life remained a long term goal of both men. In 2005, Reggie made his debut as a writer on BLACK PANTHER, and after an influential three-year run on the book, the writer wanted to make sure he wrapped his stint by scripting something for his friend.
“Denys is an amazing artist, so having him is just a good look, period,” reflects Reggie. “And he always does something unexpected. I remember one of his character explorations [for Black Panther] where he drew the collar on the cap really tall, sort of Doctor Strange style. It was brilliant. Made the character mysterious, kind of reinvented but not going too far.”
Working with his editor Axel Alonso, Hudlin conceived the concept that would become CAPTAIN AMERICA/BLACK PANTHER: FLAGS OF OUR FATHER, a flashback tale set during World War II that saw Steve Rogers and the Howling Commandos visit Wakanda for the first time and encounter our Panther’s predecessor in the form of T’Challa’sgrandfather.
“It was a lot of fun to do,” says Cowan of the project, in which he drew the standout title characters as well as Nick Furyand his crew, plus the villainous Red Skull. Paired with the potent inks of fellow industry legend Klaus Janson as well as vibrant colors from Pete Pantazis, the visuals Denys provided would resonate in terms of both action and pathos.
Hudlin considered CAPTAIN AMERICA/BLACK PANTHER an important story to tell and a suitable sendoff to his time in Wakanda: “Both characters represent the ideals of their nation. Captain America stands for the best of the United States, and Black Panther symbolizes the greatness of all of Africa. More than their physical prowess, their moral compass is what makes them natural leaders.”
“Seeing each of them through the eyes of Gabe Jones, an African American soldier serving with Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, felt like a natural story that needed to be told. And folks are still reading it!”
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