Jorge Diaz to Star in Pilot for HBO Max’s “Head of the Class” Sitcom Reboot

Jorge Diaz is moving to the head of the class

The 37-year-old Mexican American actor has joined the cast of HBO Max’s multi-camera comedy pilot Head of the Class, a reboot of the popular 1980s ABC sitcom.

Jorge Diaz

Diaz joins a roster of new additions to the cast that includes Dior Goodjohn, Brandon Severs, Adrian Matthew Escalona and Christa Miller.

They join previously announced Isabella Gomez, Gavin Lewis and Jolie Hoang-Rappaport in the reboot which hails from American Vandal writers Amy Pocha and Seth Cohen, Bill Lawrence and his Doozer Productions; and Warner Bros. Television, which produced the original series.

Written by Pocha and Cohen, based on the original series created by Rich Eustis and Michael Elias, the reimagined Head of the Class revolves around a group of overachieving high school students who meet their greatest challenge — a teacher Alicia Adams (Gomez), who wants them to focus less on grades and more on experiencing life.

Diaz plays Elliot Olsen, a goofy English teacher who loves his job and is genuine to a fault. Goodjohn is Robyn Rook. Stem queen turned Twitch streamer, Robyn’s the defacto leader of the class – though she’d never admit it. Severs will portray Terrell Smith, is a year-round athlete, who is uber-positive and all about team mentality. Escalona is Miles Mendelson, the shy, introverted, overthinking coder, who’d rather spend time with computers than people. Miller recurs as Principal Maris, an intimidating, tough love boss that always puts the students first.

Diaz has appeared on a number of hit comedies including the CW’s Jane The Virgin, NBC’s The Good Place and Netflix’s Arrested Development. He also starred as SPC Israel Garza in Nat Geo’s Critics Choice-nominated Iraq war drama, The Long Road HomeOn the film side, Diaz portrayed Hector Estrella in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, earning a nomination for an Imagen Foundation Award for his performance.

Escalona was first discovered in 2018, when a video of him singing “She Used To Be Mine” from the Broadway musical Waitress went viral with almost 4 million views and counting. He went on to be invited by Waitress writer and composer Sara Bareilles to make a guest appearance during her tour stop in Pittsburgh, near his home town. Head of the Class is Escalona’s first major TV role.

HBO Max Releases Zion Moreno’s “Gossip Girl” Reboot Character Photo

Zion Moreno’s got some serious style

The official Instagram account for HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot brought in the new year with some fresh faces, including a photo of the 28-year-old Mexican American actress/model.

Zion Moreno

The social media page unveiled the cast and characters set to grace the screen when the reboot hits HBO Max. Like the original series, the new iteration of Gossip Girl, written by Joshua Safran, is based on the book by Cecily von Ziegesar. The logline: Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years.

Each post featured the new Gossip Girl cast members, their characters and their most important traits.

Moreno’s character, Luna La, is is described with the sword “style.”

All the characters flaunted their New Year’s best in the photo announcements.

Produced by Fake Empire and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS StudiosGossip Girl is written and executive produced by Safran of Random Acts.

Karena Evans will direct the first two episodes of the upcoming reboot.

 

Tony Plana to Appear on Season Two of OWN’s Drama Series “David Makes Man”

Tony Plana is the new Man on the block…

The 68-year-old Cuban actor and director has joined the cast of OWN’s Peabody Award-winning drama David Makes Man for the upcoming season season.

Tony Plana

The Ugly Betty alum will be one of 10 actors set to appear in recurring roles on the series from Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney and Warner Bros. Television.

Plana joins a roster of newcomers that includes Brittany S. HallErica Luttrell, Zsané JhéBobbi BakerPatrice ArenasTrinity CidelBrandi HuzzieRodney Gardiner and Janmarco Santiago.

David Makes Man  returned to Orlando, Florida and continued production in October.

On the directing side, Kiel Adrian Scott is set to return to direct five episodes of the new season while Erica Watson (has been tapped to helm the remaining five episodes in the 10-episode sophomore season, which is set to debut in the early summer of 2021.

Season 2 finds David in his 30s (Kwame Patterson, SnowfallThe Wire), a rising businessman facing an opportunity that will change him and his community forever; the mounting pressure forces David to choose between the instincts that helped him survive or finding a new way to truly live.

Here are the details about the recurring characters for Season 2:

Tony Plana (Ugly Betty, The Affair) plays Joe Padilla, a billionaire real estate developer who brings David an ambitious opportunity, under the guise of redevelopment.

Brittany S. Hall (Ballers) plays Nicole, a sophisticated and honest architect who has been dating David but loves her freedom as well.

Erica Lutrell (Westworld, Salvation) plays adult Marissa, a Miami-based marine biologist, activist, and protector of the land and sea. When her former middle school friend-turned-nemesis further threatens the ecological balance of South Florida, Marissa sets out to prove that corporate greed is toxic for everyone.

Zsané Jhé (Good Trouble, Black Lightning) adult Shella, an entrepreneur extraordinaire. She leads the charge for the residents of The Ville in the fight against the real estate redevelopment company trying to gentrify their homes.

Bobbi Baker (House of Payne) plays Robin, Gloria’s loyal and level partner. Together they run Robin’s Nest in Little Havana, a foster home for LGBTQ+ youth.

Patrice Arenas (Celestial) plays Denise, an office assistant at the Edwards Firm (where David works). She keeps things moving at the office while also learning the moods and tempo of her boss.

Trinity Cidel plays Trenise, the gifted daughter of David’s brother, JG. She is calm, introspective, and more like her uncle David than her own father.

Brandi Huzzie (The Demon in the Dark) is cast as Trisha, the long-time girlfriend of JG and mother of his child. Together they raise their daughter Trenise.

Rodney Gardiner (The Warriors) plays Corey Roberts, a Miami district commissioner and politician. Corey offers to work with David and Joe to help push their Ville redevelopment project, but they will have to do it his way.

Janmarco Santiago (The Fate of the Furious) plays Elan, Joe Padilla’s entitled nephew and David’s unrequested assistant.

The new recurring cast members join the previously announced new series regulars Kwame Patterson (SnowfallThe Wire) as adult David and Arlen Escarpeta (The Oath) as adult JG alongside returning series regulars Akili McDowell (young David), Alana Arenas (David’s mom Gloria), Travis Coles (Mx. Elijah) and Cayden K. Williams (young JG) for Season 2.

HBO Max Gives Series Order to Rosario Dawson’s Futuristic Drama “DMZ”

Rosario Dawson is heading to the demilitarized zone

HBO Max has given a series order to Ava DuVernay and Roberto Patino’s DMZ, starring the 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist.

Rosario Dawson

HBO Max ordered four episodes of the limited series, a futuristic drama set amid a second American civil war and based on the DC Comics series.

Production on the series is scheduled to start in 2021.

DMZ stars  Dawson and Benjamin Bratt in the lead roles, alongside Hoon Lee, Freddy Miyares and Jordan Preston Carter.

DMZ is set in the near future, when America is embroiled in a bitter civil war, leaving Manhattan a demilitarized zone (DMZ), destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world. It chronicles the harrowing journey of fearless and fierce medic Alma Ortega (Dawson) to find the son she lost in the evacuation of New York City at the onset of the conflict. Throwing gasoline on the flames of that conflict is Parco Delgado (Bratt), the popular, and deadly, leader of one of the most powerful gangs in the DMZ. He wants to rule this new world and will stop at nothing to secure that outcome.

The drama will examine the stark political and cultural divide in American society, where Alma must contend with the gangs, militias, demagogues and warlords that control this lawless no man’s land. In doing so, she becomes the unlikely source of what everyone there has lost…hope.

Patino, who will write all episodes and showrun the series, wrote the pilot episode, which was directed by DuVernay. Patino and DuVernay serve as executive producers on the series.

DMZ is produced by DuVernay’s ARRAY Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this epic to the screen with my boundary-pushing partners at WBTV and HBO Max, a sublime cast led by Rosario and Benjamin, and my partner and friend, the inimitable and ever-inspiring Ava DuVernay,” said Patino. “DMZ offers up an explosive playground which, more than anything else, exalts the resilience of community and the human spirit. I can’t wait to welcome the die-hard fans of the comic books and new viewers alike to this intoxicating, haunting and inspiring world.”

Dawson’s television credits include The Mandalorian, Briarpatch and Jane the Virgin. She’ll soon appear in the upcoming miniseries Dopesick.

Tracy Vilar to Star in the Netflix Dramedy “Maid”

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Tracy Vilar is maid to order…

The 52-year-old Latina actress has been cast as a series regular opposite Margaret Qualley in MaidNetflix’s dramedy series from writer Molly Smith Metzler, John Wells Productions, Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.

Tracy Vilar

Written by Metzler, Maid is inspired by Stephanie Land’s bestselling memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. It revolves around Alex (Qualley), a single mother who turns to housekeeping to — barely — make ends meet as she battles against poverty, homelessness, and bureaucracy. Told primarily through her point of view, Maid is described as a beautiful, alive, gritty and inspiring exploration of poverty in America.

Vilar will play Yolanda, the owner of “Value Maids,” the cleaning business that eventually employs “Alex” (Qualley). A woman who suffers no fools and runs a tight ship, Yolanda has managed to survive in a world (and economy) that is not always kind to her.

In addition to Qualley, Vilar joins previously cast Andie MacDowell, Nick Robinson and Anika Noni Rose. Maid is currently filming in Vancouver.

Vilar co-starred on the CBS comedy series Partners. Her television series credits include  major roles on Fox’s House and TNT’s Saved and guest shots on three Shondaland/ABC series, Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away with Murder and For the People. She also appeared in the features Grace of My Heart and K-Pax.

Martin Sheen & His “The West Wing” Cast Mates to Reunite for ‘When We All Vote’ Special on HBO Max

Martin Sheen is returning to the West Wing

Aaron Sorkin is reuniting his The West Wing cast, including the 80-year-old half-Spanish American actor, for the first time in 17 years with a special for HBO Max.

Martin Sheen The West Wing

Sheen, Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford are getting back together with Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme for A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote.

The special will feature a theatrical performance of Hartsfield’s Landing, an episode from the NBC drama’s third season that featured Sheen’s President Barlet playing chess against Sam (Lowe) and Toby (Schiff), while the Chinese are playing war games in the Taiwan Strait and Josh (Whitford) is nervous about the 42 votes in a remote New Hampshire town’s election, which always predict the winner of that state’s primary.

It marks the second high-profile special of a classic NBC series produced by Warner Bros. set to air on HBO Max following the much-delayed Friends reunion special.

The West Wing reunion has long been in the works with Schiff saying in June that the gang was getting back together in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd. The crew have reunited in various forms, including at ATX in Austin, for The West Wing Weekly podcast, and for an ad for Bridget Mary McCormack, a candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court. However, this is the first time that it will air on television.

The team behind the Warner Bros. Television-produced series have organized the reunion to raise awareness for and support When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization co-chaired by Michelle Obama, which was founded to increase participation in every election in America.

WarnerMedia will make a donation to When We All Vote.

Michelle Obama will make a guest appearance in the special, while additional cast members and special guests from the worlds of public service and the arts will be announced in the coming weeks.

A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote will shoot over multiple days at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles in early October. Sorkin will write original exclusive material for the special, while Schlamme will serve as director of the production.

 “Tommy and I are incredibly excited to be getting The West Wing cast back together for this staged reading and to support When We All Vote in their efforts to get all of us involved in this election,” said Sorkin.

“With A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote, we are excited to revisit this legendary series and offer our passionate fans something that is substantial, meaningful and unforgettable, while also promoting an important message for our time,” added Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “Combined with WarnerMedia’s donation to When We All Vote, this special not only entertains, but also help ensure the organization can carry forth its mission to increase voter participation in every election.”

Sheen appeared on 140 episodes of The West Wing from 1999-2006. The won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of fictitious U.S. President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet.

Dania Ramirez to Star in Netflix’s DC Vertigo Comic-Based Series “Sweet Tooth”

Dania Ramirez has landed a Sweet role…

The 40-year-old Dominican actress and Devious Maids star will star in Sweet ToothNetflix’s new drama series based on the DC Vertigo comic.

Dania Ramirez

Ramirez will be part of the series’ core cast of series regulars, which includes Christian ConveryNonso Anozie and Adeel AkhtarWill Forte has a recurring role, while James Brolin serves as the series’ narrator.

The eight-episode Sweet Tooth follows the adventures of Gus (Convery) — part deer, part boy — who leaves his home in the forest to find the outside world ravaged by a cataclysmic event. He joins a ragtag family of humans and animal-children hybrids like himself in search of answers about this new world and the mystery behind his hybrid origins.

Ramirez will reportedly play Aimee, a pioneer in the middle of dystopic America, a lone scavenger in an abandoned city, rebuilding a sustainable habitat and giving orphaned hybrids a home.

The project hails from Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey’s Team DowneyJim MickleBeth Schwartz and Warner Bros. Television.

Along with fellow new Netflix series Cowboy Bebop, Sweet Tooth was among of a handful of Hollywood television series and movies to be granted border exemptions by the New Zealand government several weeks ago, a crucial step for any overseas production to be able to film in the country, which has largely eradicated COVID-19.

The tentative plan is for the cast to travel to New Zealand in August, where they’ll self-isolate for two weeks ahead of a potential September 7 start of production, according to Deadline.com. 

Ramirez can currently be seen as one of the leads in the first season of Kevin Williamson’s CBS All Access anthology drama series Tell Me a Story, airing on the CW

She previously starred on Marc Cherry’s Lifetime series Devious  Maids and had major roles on ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Heroes

Netflix Releases Trailer for Fifth Season of Aimee Garcia’s Supernatural Series “Lucifer”

Aimee Garcia is preparing for a Hell of time… 

Netflix has released a trailer for Season 5 ofthe 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American actress’ series Lucifer,which will premiere on Friday, August 21.

Aimee Garcia

Here’s the Netflix logline for the new series: “The stakes are higher than ever. Secrets will be revealed, beloved characters will die, and we’ll finally get an answer to the question, ‘Will they or won’t they?’”

Season 5 of the Warner Bros. Television-produced show, starring Tom Ellis as the Devil, will be split into two eight-part blocks of episodes. It was meant to be the show’s last season, but Netflix recently renewed Lucifer for a “FINAL final” sixth season

In addition to Ellis and Garcia, who portrays  Ella Lopez, the series also stars Kevin Alejandro as Detective Dan Espinoza, Lauren German and D.B. Woodside.

Netflix originally rescued the supernatural drama from Fox, where it was canceled in May 2018 after three seasons. The pickup followed a big #SaveLucifer campaign that played out on social media for more than a month.

NBC Renews J.R. Martinez’s “Manifest” for a Third Season

It’s J. R. Ramirez manifest destiny…

NBC has given the green light for a third season of the missing plane drama series Manifest, starring the Cuban-American actor.

J.R. Martinez in Manifest

From Jeff Rake and Warner Bros. Television, the series is influenced by the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible.

The season 2 finale drew solid numbers, earning a 0.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and 4.58 million viewers, with the series averaging a 1.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers in live plus seven, according to Nielsen.

In addition to Martinez, who portrays Detective Jared Vasquez, Manifest also stars Melissa RoxburghJosh DallasAthena KarkanisLuna Blaise, Jack MessinaParveen Kaur and Matt Long.

Johnathan Fernandez to Star on HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl” Series Reimagining

Johnathan Fernandez is ready to spill the tea…

The 46-year-old Colombian and Honduran American actor joined Emily Alyn Lindin Gossip Girl, HBO Max’s upcoming series reimagining of the pop culture phenomenon that made household names of stars like Blake LivelyLeighton Meester, Penn BadgleyChace Crawford and Ed Westwick.

Johnathan Fernandez

Fernandez joins a roster of new cast additions that includes Whitney PeakEli Brown and Jason Gotay.S

The 10-episode series hails from Joshua SafranJosh Schwartzand Stephanie Savage’s Fake EmpireAlloy EntertainmentWarner Bros Televisionand CBS Television Studios.

Like the original series, the new iteration of Gossip Girl, written by Safran, is based on the book by Cecily von Ziegesar. Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. 

The prestige series will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years.

No official character descriptions for the quartet are being released. The new series is said to have a similar character dynamic to the original, with Peak, Brown and Lind as the leading trio and Fernandez and Gotay as members of the core ensemble.

Gossip Girlran for six seasons from 2007-2012 on the CW across 121 episodes. Its influence extended beyond television.Fernandez was a series regular on another WBTV series, Fox’s Lethal WeaponFor three seasons, he played the dry-toned medical examiner on the series reboot.  Fernandez will next appear in the Marvel feature Morbiusand the indie Together-ish.