Oz Rodriguez Signs Two-Year Producing Deal with Universal Television

There are more Universal projects in Oz Rodriguez’s future…

The Latino Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live director has signed an exclusive two-year producing deal with Universal Television.

Oz Rodriguez,

Rodriguez has been with SNL since 2013, first directing Digital Shorts. He went on to become head of the film unit, and won an Emmy for his behind-the-scenes series Creating SNL.

He’s next set to direct all six episodes of SNL star Michael Che’s new HBO Max sketch series from Universal Television.

“We feel so lucky to be solidifying our relationship with Oz, who has been in the family for many years and has played a key role in our success,” said Jim Donnelly, Universal Television EVP of Comedy Development. “He brings a creative vision and distinct visual style to every project he is involved in, and we couldn’t be more excited for all that’s to come.”

Rodriguez just wrapped the pilot of AMC’s Kevin Can F***k Himself. He directed the pilot and multiple episodes of AP Bio, in addition to the Kal Penn/Mike Schur pilot Sunnyside, both for NBC, as well as episodes of Last Man on Earth for Fox, Detroiters for Comedy Central, Shrill for Hulu, and Mixed-ish for ABC.

He most recently directed NBC & Peacock’s 30 Rock reunion, which aired on July 16.

On the film side, Rodriguez wrote and directed Vampires vs. the Bronx for Universal and Broadway Video, which premiered on Netflix earlier this month.

“I am very excited to continue my partnership with Universal Television,” said Rodriguez. “The studio has been my home for the last eight years, starting with my first season of Saturday Night Live. There are so many opportunities at the studio right now and we have a chance to tell stories that reflect characters that have been missing from television for far too long. It feels great to keep this creative partnership going with the studio that gave me my first big break.”

Peacock Releases Official Trailer for Mario Lopez’s “Saved by the Bell” Reboot

Bells are ringing for Mario Lopez

Peacock has released the official trailer for the Saved by the Bell reboot, starring the 47-year-old Mexican American actor and television personality.

Mario Lopez

The trailer for the NBC streaming platform’s original title gives Saved by the Bell fans, both new and original, a first look into the updated, quirky world of Bayside High.

The trailer kicks off with Alycia Pascual-Peña’s Aisha and Haskiri Velazquez’s Daisy in a school bus en route to the iconic television high school. But upon their first minutes at Bayside, they realize things are far from what they’re used to. “Why is everybody so rich?” asks Aisha as Mitchell Hoog’s Mac parks his red Corvette.

After getting a glimpse at the new members of the Bayside family, the trailer gives viewers a look at Lopez’s A.C. Slater and Elizabeth Berkley Lauren’s Jessie Spano.

“We all want these new kids to feel welcome. It’s not going to work unless we get to know them,” says Jessie.

Upon feeling alienated from her affluent peers, Daisy confronts the Bayside legacies, calling them out for their limited perspectives.

The trailer sees a return of the go-to grub spot The Max, as well as its quirky staff and regulars. The teaser also shows a collection of parties, performances and cast reunions only a true Bayside Tiger could love.

Saved by the Bell premieres on Peacock on November 25. Tracey Wigfield writes and executive produces alongside executive producers Franco Bario and Peter Engel. Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, produces the series.

Jaime Camil to Star in Still Untitled Apple TV+ Musical Comedy

Jaime Camil has found the Apple (project) of his eye…

Apple TV+ has set a star-studded ensemble cast for its upcoming musical comedy that includes the 47-year-old Mexican actor, singer and television personality.

Jaime Camil

In addition to Camil, the project – which will be led by Saturday Night Live‘s Cecily Strong and executive produced by Lorne MichaelsBroadway Video – will also star Keegan-Michael Key, Alan Cumming, Fred Armisen, Kristin Chenoweth, Aaron Tveit, Dove Cameron, Ariana DeBose, Jane Krakowski and Ann Harada.

Written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the as-yet untitled comedy series follows a couple on a backpacking trip designed to reinvigorate their relationship when they discover the magical town of Schmigadoon, in which everyone acts as if they’re in a studio musical from the 1940s. They then discover that they can’t leave until they find “true love.”

Key will play Josh, Melissa’s (Strong) long term, pragmatic partner, and the last person who wants to be stuck in this magical town. Cumming is Mayor Menlove, the welcoming mayor of the town with a secret (and a song) in his heart. Armisen plays Reverend Layton, the mild-mannered religious leader of the town. Chenoweth is Mildred Layton, Reverend Layton’s morally superior wife who is in everybody’s business. Tveit plays Danny Bailey, the town bad boy who is trouble with a capital T, especially once he sets his sights on Melissa. Cameron is Betsy, the farmers daughter who instantly falls for Josh. DeBose portrays Emma Tate, a more modern woman and the town’s teacher, she struggles to fit into the town’s strict mold. Camil plays Doc Lopez, the handsome town doctor with an icy heart. Krakowski plays The Countess, a stunning and sophisticated woman determined to marry Doc Lopez. Harada is Florence Menlove, the oblivious and dutiful wife of Mayor Menlove.

Paul will serve as showrunner, and will write all of the original music. Barry Sonnenfeld will direct.

The series hails from Broadway Video and Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Camil earned two Teen Choice Awards for his scene-stealing role on Jane the Virgin.

Peacock to Debut Mario Lopez’s “Saved By The Bell” Reboot in November

Mario Lopez is being Saved this November…

Peacock has announced plans to launch the reboot of Saved By The Bell, starring the 46-year-old Mexican American actor, on November 25.

Saved By The Bell

The Saved By the Bell reboot follows California Governor Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who gets into trouble for the state’s many underfunded high schools and proposes they send affected students to California’s highest-performing schools. Thus enter the iconic Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the overprivileged Bayside kids a much-needed dose of reality.

Lopez will reprise his role as A.C. Slater, while Elizabeth Berkley will also reprise her role from the original series.

Also rounding out the reboot cast are Josie Totah, Dexter Darden, Haskiri Velazquez, Mitchell Hoog, Alycia Pascual-Pena and Belmont Cameli.

Tracey Wigfield serves as writer and executive producer for the series, alongside executive producer Franco Bario. Peter Engel also serves as executive producer.

Saved By the Bell is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Otmara Marrero to Star in NBC’s Quarantine-Themed Comedy Series “Connecting”

It’s a new connection for Otmara Marrero

The Cuban-American actress has been cast as the lead in NBC’s comedy series Connecting.

Otmara Marrero

Written and executive produced by Martin Gero and Brendan GallConnectingis an ensemble comedy about a group of friends trying to stay close (and sane) through video chats as they share the highs and lows of these extraordinary times.

Last month it received an eight-episode straight-to-series order.

Marrero will play Annie (fka Abby), who identifies as female. Her friends describe her as a hermit who would barely go out, even before the quarantine started.

Universal Television, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios, is the studio.

Marrero played the female lead in Dick Wolf’s ABC drama pilot reboot New York Undercover, which was produced by Universal Television

She previously starred for three seasons on Sony Crackle’s series StartUp opposite Martin Freeman and Adam Brody

Her film credits include Vandal and Clementine

Josh Segarra to Star in NBC’s Comedy Pilot “Night School”

Josh Segarra is heading to night school…

The 33-year-old Puerto Rican actor will star as the male lead opposite Shanola Hampton in NBC’s multi-camera comedy pilot Night School, based on the hit 2018 Universal movie. 

Josh Segarra

The project hails from Marlonco-creator Christopher Moynihanand the film’s star-producer Kevin Hart, producer Will Packerand director Malcolm D. Lee.

Segarra was tapped for Night School as he just became available when Netflix canceled the RuPaul-starring dramedy series AJ and the Queen after one season.

Penned by Moynihan and directed by Phill Lewis, NBC’s Night School revolves around a unique mix of adults at a night school GEDprep class who unexpectedly bond over their shared experience and find themselves helping one another both inside and outside of the classroom.

Segarra will play Teddy Walker, a charming salesman. The role was played by Hart in the movie. Hampton plays the teacher, Carrie Dawes, portrayed by Tiffany Haddishin the film.

In addition to Hampton, Segarra joins previously cast Ian GomezCollette WolfeJames Earland Joe Massingill.

This marks Segarra’s return to NBC and Universal Televisionafter recurring on the network and studio’s drama series Chicago P.D. several years ago. The Orange Is the New Blackalum has been recurring on CW’s Arrow as Adrian Chase/Prometheus; on Comedy Central’s The Other Two as Lance, Brooke’s simple-minded ex-boyfriend; and on Fox’s holiday event series The Moodys

Jon Seda to Star in NBC’s Drama Pilot “La Brea”

Jon Seda is making a return to NBC…

The 49-year-old Puerto Rican actor, who starred on NBC’s Chicago Fire and recurred on Chicago P.D. for several seasons, has landed a lead role opposite Natalie Zea and Michael Raymond-James in the high-concept drama pilot La Brea.

Jon Seda

Hailing from writer David AppelbaumKeshet Studiosand Universal Television, the project begins with a massive sinkhole that mysteriously opens in Los Angeles. It tears a family in half, separating mother (Zea) and son from father (Raymond-James) and daughter (Zyra Gorecki). When part of the family find themselves in an unexplainable primeval world alongside a disparate group of strangers, they must work to survive and uncover the mystery of where they are and if there is a way back home.

Seda will play Dr. Benjamine Glass, a former Navy Sealwho knows how to take charge.

Thor Freudenthalwill direct the pilot.

Last spring, Seda departed the Chicago franchise after seven years on Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Justice. As his Chicago character had developed a devoted following, his exit was met with strong reaction by fans, and NBC has been looking for ways to bring him back into the fold.

Seda starred as Detective Antonio Dawson Chicago P.D. One of the original stars of the Chicago franchise, he started off as a recurring on the mothership Chicago Fire before he was spun off to Chicago P.D. He also appeared for a time on the short-lived legal drama spinoff Chicago Justice.

Prior to joining the Chicago franchise, Seda played Nelson Hidalgo on TremeHis other credits include appearances on Hawaii Five-0The Closerand Burn Notice.

Oliver De Los Santos to Star in Peacock’s “Punky Brewster” Pilot

Oliver De Los Santos is punking out…

The Latino actor has been cast as a series regular opposite Quinn CopelandLauren DonzisNoah Cottrell and Soleil Moon Frye, in Peacock‘s Punky Brewster reboot pilot from UCP and Universal Television.

Oliver De Los Santos

In the multicamera/hybrid continuation of the iconic 80s sitcom about a bright young girl raised by a foster dad, Punky (Frye) is now a single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets Izzy (Copeland), a young girl who reminds her a lot of her younger self.

Copeland’s Izzy is a street-smart, headstrong and adorable Punky-like girl for a new generation. Recently abandoned by her mother, Izzy tries to hide her vulnerability, but finds a kindred spirit in Punky (Frye). Donzis will play Hannah, Punky’s fashion-forward teenage daughter, who often feels like she’s the parent and Punky’s the kid. De Los Santos as Daniel and Cottrell as Diego will play Punky’s adopted sons, who are 10 and 12 years old, respectively. Even though they are brothers, they are complete opposites except when it comes to annoying their older sister, Hannah (Donzis).

In addition to Frye, they join previously announced cast Freddie Prinze Jr. and Cherie Johnson, reprising her role from the original series.

Produced by UCP and Universal Television, Punky Brewster is written and executive produced by Steveand Jim Armogida. Frye will also serve as executive producer. Jonathan Judge is directing and executive producing the pilot.

The original series, created by David W. Duclon, ran for four seasons from 1984-1988, two on NBC and two in syndication.De Los Santos is set to star in the feature film Occupation: Rainfall and will play the lead role in the upcoming feature film Home PlateHe also stars in the web series Junior Executive.

NBC Orders Diana-Maria Riva’s Immigrant Comedy “Sunnyside” to Series

Diana-Maria Rivais ready for the Sunnysideof life…

NBC has picked up to series the Queens immigrant comedy Sunnyside,  starring the 49-year-old Dominican American actress.

Diana Maria Riva

Co-written and executive produced by Kal Penn and Matt Murray and executive produced by Michael SchurSunnyside stars Penn as former New York City Councilman Garrett Shah, who finds his calling when faced with six recent immigrants in need of his help and in search of the American Dream. In keeping the authenticity of the project, the producers assembled a cast of predominantly immigrant actors to star opposite Penn, a rarity on broadcast television.

In addition to Riva and Penn, the cast includes Joel Kim BoosterKiran DeolPoppy LiuMoses Stormand Samba Schutte.

Sunnyside is produced by Universal Televisionin association with Fremulonand 3 Arts Entertainment.

Riva previously starred on the short-lived NBC series Telenovela, as well as CBS’  Man with a Plan.

NBC Picks Up Jimmy Smits’ Legal Drama “Bluff City Law” to Series

Jimmy Smits is Bluffingit all the way back to a television near you…

NBC has picked up to series the Memphis legal drama Bluff City Law, starring the 63-year-old Puerto Rican actor.

Jimmy Smits

The project hails from The Brave creator Dean Georgaris and producer David Janollari

Co-created by Georgaris and Michael Aguilar and written by Georgaris, Bluff City Law is a character-driven drama that follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis firm that specializes in the most controversial landmark civil rights cases. Led by legendary lawyer Elijah Strait (Smits) and his brilliant daughter, Sydney Keller (Caitlin McGee), they take on the toughest David-and-Goliath cases while navigating their complicated relationship.

This marks Smits’ return to NBC and the legal drama arena. He has starred in three previous NBC series: legal dramas L.A. Law and Outlaw as well as White Housedrama The West Wing.  

Launching a new hit legal drama series has been a priority for NBC. Recent attempts included the Chicago Justice spinoff from the Chicago franchise.

In addition to Smits and McGee, the cast includes Scott ShepherdBarry SloaneMichael Luwoye, MaameYaa BoafoStony Blydenand Jayne Atkinson.

Georgaris will write and executive produce. Aguliar and Janollari will executive produce.

Bluff City Lawis produced by Universal Televisionin association with David Janollari Entertainment.