Jamie Foxx’s Showtime Comedy Adds ‘CSI: Miami’ and ‘Pitch Perfect’ Grads

August 29, 2016 9:00am PT by Kate Stanhope

Megalyn Echikunwoke and Utkarsh Ambudkar join 'SNL' alum Jay Pharaoh in the pilot, titled 'White Famous.' Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Megalyn Echikunwoke and Utkarsh Ambudkar join ‘SNL’ alum Jay Pharaoh in the pilot, titled ‘White Famous.’

Jamie Foxx’s Showtime pilot White Famous is taking shape.

Megalyn Echikunwoke and Utkarsh Ambudkar have joined the comedy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The half-hour project focuses on a talented, young African-American comedian named Floyd (Jay Pharaoh) whose star is rising, forcing him to navigate the treacherous waters of maintaining his credibility as he begins to cross over toward becoming “white famous.”

Echikunwoke will play the yet-to-be-named character of Floyd’s ex-girlfriend, the mother of his son and the love of his life. Her credits also include Showtime’s House of Lies, Arrow as the DC Comics character Vixen, Damien and The 4400. She is repped by UTA.

Ambudkarwill portray Malcolm, Floyd’s frustrated agent who wants his client to do whatever it takes to make it big in the business. His credits include Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and Barbershop: The Next Cut as well as recurring roles on The Mindy Project and ABC’s Muppets reboot. He is repped by Gersh and 3 Arts.

White Famous is based on an original idea by Foxx, who is also set to exec produce and recur if the show is picked up to series. Tom Kapinos (Californication) will write the script and also exec produce, along with pilot director Tim Story (Ride Along). Lionsgate TV  and Showtime will co-produce.

Showtime ordered the pilot in June, and announced Pharaoh’s casting at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, just three days after it was announced Pharaoh would not be returning to Saturday Night Live for what would have been his seventh season. Showtime also announced the casting of Pharaoh’s now-former SNL colleague Taran Killam as the lead role in another comedic pilot, Mating, from Jason Katims during their TCA presentation.

Pilot Season Showtime

Kate Stanhope

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Alison Brie to Star in Netflix Wrestling Comedy ‘GLOW’ From Jenji Kohan

August 29, 2016 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg

The Netflix series marks the in-demand actress' latest TV role since 'Community' and 'BoJack Horseman.' Getty Images

The Netflix series marks the in-demand actress’ latest TV role since ‘Community’ and ‘BoJack Horseman.’

Alison Brie is hopping into Netflix’s wrestling ring.

The Community and BoJack Horseman favorite has booked the starring role in the streaming giant’s Jenji Kohan comedy GLOW, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

GLOW — aka Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — is inspired by the real story of the 1980s female wrestling league. The 10-episode comedy is set in Los Angeles and will showcase big hair and body slams and tell the fictionalized story of an out-of-work actress who finds one last attempt to live her dreams in the form of a weekly series about female wrestlers. The comedy is based on the professional women’s wrestling syndicated TV series that existed in the ’80s. The comedy was picked up to series in May.

Brie will star as Ruth, a struggling actress whose dreams of fame take a surprising turn when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women’s wrestling. 

GLOW was co-created by Liz Flahive (Homeland) and Carly Mensch (Orange Is the New Black), who serve as showrunners on the series that also counts OITNB’s Kohan and Tara Herrmann as executive producers. 

GLOW expands Brie’s relationship with Netflix, where she voices multiple characters in critical favorite animated comedy BoJack Horseman. The comedy marks her latest series regular acting gig following NBC/Yahoo’s Community and comes after a pilot season that saw Brie turn down multiple offers — both comedy and drama — at seemingly every broadcast network. The busy actress, who counts Mad Men among her credits, also exec produces TV Land comedy series Teachers, which was renewed for a second season.

On the big screen, Brie was last seen in How to be Single, opposite Leslie Mann and Rebel Wilson. She will next appear in The Masterpiece, opposite James Franco and The Headhunters Calling, the latter of which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. Brie is repped by WME, Rise Management and Sloane Offer.  

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‘Empire’: ‘The Cosby Show’ Star Phylicia Rashad to Recur in Season 3

August 29, 2016 8:51am PT by Kate Stanhope

The Emmy winner will play the mother of Taye Diggs' character. 

The Emmy winner will play the mother of Taye Diggs’ character.

Empire is adding a familiar face to the mix for season three.

Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) has joined the hip-hop drama’s third season in a recurring role, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The Emmy winner will play Diana Dubois, a powerhouse from one of New York’s oldest and most prominent African-American families. As the mother of ambitious city councilman Angelo Dubois (season three guest star Taye Diggs), she has her sights set on higher office for her only son, and she’ll stop at nothing to help him get to the top. Diana’s interactions with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), Lucious (Terrence Howard) and the rest of the Lyon clan will lay bare the stark class divides that can exist, even within the black community.

In addition to Diggs, Rashad also joins fellow series newcomers Mariah Carey, rapper French Montana, singer Sierra McClain, singer Kid Cudi, rapper Birdman and rapper Xzibit, who made his debut in the season-two finale and will return in a series-regular capacity. 

In addition to her two-time Emmy-winning role on The Cosby Show as Claire Huxtable, Rashad’s recent credits include Creed, Psych and Lifetime’s 2012 Steel Magnolias remake. 

Empire returns for season three on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. on Fox.

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Kate Stanhope

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