A Look at Entertainment
by T.J. Moore –
Actress and comedienne Mo’Nique has recently signed a development deal with Endemol Shine North America, reuniting her with Cris Abrego (Producer of VH1’s Charm School), who is currently the Chairman of the Americas, Banijay, and President and CEO of Endemol Shine Holdings.
According to Shadow and Act, Mo’Nique will develop unscripted TV projects under Hicks Media, which is the actress and her manager/husband Sidney Hicks’s production label. The unscripted series are for Monique to both host and star in, as well as develop and produce projects for others’ performers.
It is a reunion for Abrego with Mo’Nique, whom he cast in Charm School for VH1 15 years ago. Before his stint with Endemol Shine North America, Abrego cofounded 51 Minds, which produced Charm School.
Abrego called Mo’Nique and Hicks about collaborations during the pandemic.
“I’ll never forget my first time working with her on Charm School, where she made it very clear that there was a lack of diverse faces behind the camera and that things needed to change,” Abrego said in a statement. “That was 15 years ago, and Monique has been a champion of equality and representation in the industry ever since.”
He added, “Mo’Nique is an icon in every sense of the word, and I can’t think of anyone who is more relevant and whose authentic voice should be heard right now more than hers. Our team at Endemol Shine is thrilled to be working with her and excited by the top names that both she and Sidney are already bringing in to collaborate with.”
Mahogany debuted over 30 years ago as a Hallmark card imprint. Now Crown Media Family Networks, Hallmark’s parent company, is using Mahogany as the blueprint for a new television initiative spearheaded by Crown Media SVP of Programming Development Toni Judkins.
The company will launch Mahogany on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries early next year. The initiative will expand Crown Media’s content offerings with powerful storytelling that exemplifies Hallmark’s core ethos—family, community, human connection, positivity, and the transformational power of love—through the unique lens of Black culture.”
The initiative will debut with a quarterly slate of original movies and will eventually include other media offerings such as scripted series, podcasts, and more.
“Mahogany is an expression of all the love, joy, and complexities that emerge from the distinctive journey of Black people,” Judkins said. “It is a dream realized to create a content experience around this Hallmark brand that honors, empowers, and authentically captures black culture and amplifies our voice.”
Crown Media President and CEO Wonya Lucas said the company is “so proud” to announce the initiative, “a programming brand extension that allows us to unite our audience around Hallmark’s universal values, while leaning into the distinct vote of the beloved card line.”
“This launch marks a pivotal moment in our evolution as we continue to bring the Hallmark brand to life in new ways,” Lucas said. “In addition, it’s forward in our mission to deliver more diverse, inclusive content representing various cultures and perspectives that resonates with our current audience and attract new viewers.”
The Hallmark Channel was praised recently for its efforts to embrace diverse audiences when it debuted its first same-sex kiss on Good Witch, one of its popular shows. The Mahogany project is yet another step in the effort to feature diverse voices.
Rapper Saweetie is the next superstar set to receiver her very own McDonalds meal.
“The Saweetie Meal” comes packed with all the “My Type” artist’s faves, including a Big Mac, medium fries, 4-piece Chicken McNuggets, and a medium Sprite. Customers can also add “Saweetie ’N Sour” sauce with their combo.
McDonald’s USA’s Chief Marketing and Digital Customer Experience officer Morgan Flatley issued the following statement on the restaurant’s collaboration with the rapper.
“We’re thrilled to team up with Saweetie, a true brand fan who puts her own spin on everything she touches around music, fashion, beauty, and culture,” Flatley said, “And now she’s brought that spark and creativity to her signature McDonald’s order by celebrating her love for our food and mixing things up.”
McDonalds has seen major success from its celebrity collaborations. Last year, the company launched the new initiative alongside Travis Scott. His “Cactus Jack Meal” was such a hit with customers that it sold out of ingredients.
The Saweetie Meal became available on August 9, 2021.