Roku Acquires Quibi’s Programming, Including Nicole Richie’s “Nikki Fre$h” Series

Nicole Richie is freshening up Roku

Roku has acquired the exclusive global distribution rights to the portfolio of Quibi’s programs, including the 39-year-old part-Mexican American actress & television personality’s series Nikki Fre$h.

Nicole Richie

In its biggest original programming foray to date, Roku’s acquisition covers most of the recently shuttered mobile-only streaming venture’s library, while some daily news shows aren’t part of the package.

A key draw for Roku is the talent, a roster including Richie, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, Liam Hemsworth, Anna Kendrick, Chrissy Teigen and Lena Waithe.

The lineup includes titles like Most Dangerous Game, Dummy, Murder House Flip and the Reno 911 reboot, starring Carlos Alazraqui.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, though the valuation is said to be less than $100 million, according to insiders. Roku shares rose 5% to $398.60 on the news. At one point early in the trading day, they reached $402.81, an all-time high.

The programming will be available for free starting later this year. Shows will have advertising, as they did on the $5-a-month Quibi service, and they’ll be housed on the Roku Channel. The hub for free and premium streaming channels, including 150-plus free live, linear offerings, has become a mainstay of the company’s strategy since Roku launched it in 2017. By the fourth quarter of 2020, it was being viewed by households representing an estimated 61.8 million people, the company said, double its reach at the end of 2019.

“The most creative and imaginative minds in Hollywood created groundbreaking content for Quibi that exceeded our expectations,” said Quibi Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. “We are thrilled that these stories, from the surreal to the sublime, have found a new home on The Roku Channel.”

Bad Bunny to Take Part in LeBron James’ “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” Special

Bad Bunnyis celebrating the Class of 2020

The LeBron James Family Foundation announced that it’s paying tribute to the class of 2020 with a one-hour multimedia event called Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, with the 26-year-old Puerto Rican reggaeton and Latin trap singer joining the roster of participating artists.

Bad Bunny

James’ virtual graduation party for this year’s graduation class, who’s seen their school year cancelled because of the coronavirus, will take place on Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 pm ET simultaneously on NBCABCCBS, and Fox— as well as on the streaming platforms Complex NetworksFacebook app, InstagramPeople TVSnapchatTikTok and YouTube.

In addition to Bad Bunny, the lineup includes Kane BrownLana CondorDavid DobrikDolan TwinsKarol GLiza KoshyMaren Morris, National Teacher of the Year Rodney RobinsonOlivia WildeZendaya, Charli D’AmelioDixie D’AmelioChika, YBN Cordae, Loren GrayH.E.R., the Jonas BrothersBrandan Bmike Odums, Ben PlattHenry PlattJonah Platt, Megan RapinoeYara ShahidiLena Waithe, Pharrell WilliamsMalala Yousafzaiand many more.

Working with the XQ Instituteand The Entertainment Industry Foundation, the show will allow the companies to honor the more than three million high school seniors who’ll miss out on the annual rite of passage due to the national shutdown caused by the COVID-19pandemic.

“We learned early on in our work with students and families in Akron that education is so much more than academics,” said James in a statement.

“It’s about a shared experience, a journey we’re all on together—students, parents, educators, community members, and everyone around them. With that not being possible right now, we’ve been working to find ways to help families get through this really difficult time. These students have worked incredibly hard for this and there’s no way we can let that go unrecognized. While this won’t be the graduation experience they were supposed to get, we hope we can still give them something special because they deserve it.”

The commercial-free show will be curated by high school students and educators from across the country, with support from the American Federation of Teachers, highlighted by a collection of commencement addresses, celebrity performances and inspirational vignettes.

Students, educators, and families are encouraged to submit their videos and photos online for consideration to be included in the telecast using #GraduateTogether. Artist JR is also inviting seniors to share their portraits for a national virtual yearbook celebrating the entire Class of 2020

Local TV stations will feature custom breakaways to celebrate the achievements of high school students in their communities.

Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020will be broadcast commercial-free on May 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.

HBO to Premiere Season 3 of Rodrigo Santoro’s “Westworld” in March

Rodrigo Santorois heading West(world) this March…

HBO has set Sunday, March 15 at 9:00 pm for the release of the eight-episode third season of its Emmy-winning drama series Westworldstarring the 44-year-old Brazilian actor.

Rodrigo Santoro

In addition to Santoro, who portrays Hector Escaton, the returning cast includes

Evan Rachel Woodas Dolores, Thandie Newtonas Maeve, Ed Harris as the Man in Black, Jeffrey Wrightas Bernard, Tessa Thompsonas Charlotte, Luke Hemsworthas Stubbs and Simon Quartermanas Lee Sizemore.

New cast members this season include Aaron PaulVincent Cassel,Lena WaitheScott MescudiMarshawn LynchJohn Gallagher Jr., and Michael and Tommy Flanagan.

Created for television by Jonathan Nolanand Lisa Joy, and based on the film written by Michael Crichton, Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the birth of a new form of life on Earth.

The theme for the new season is “New World” and at Comic-Con in July, Nolan said one of the inspirations for the new season was Blade Runner, though he noted he wanted to do it differently.

Nolan said they went out in the world to find some beautiful places to shoot to capture the show’s future. “Dystopia can look pretty beautiful in the world. Just because the world is corrupt inside, doesn’t mean it can’t be smothered over and pretty. We wanted to find a version of dystopia that we hadn’t seen before,” Nolan said at Comic-Con.

The first two seasons of Westworld received a combined 42 Emmy nominations. The second season’s 20 noms resulted in three wins, including: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Newton, Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) and Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series.

Wilson Cruz to Executive Produce Apple’s New LGBTQ-Themed Docuseries “Visible: Out On Television”

Wilson Cruzis bringing out the visible

The 45-year-old Puerto Rican actor and gay rights activist will executive produce Apple’s new docuseries Visible: Out On Television to its growing slate of original series on Apple TV+.

Wilson Cruz

The five-part television event shines a spotlight on how the LGBTQ movement shaped television and comes from Emmy-nominated filmmakers Ryan White and Jessica Hargrave

Visible: Out on Televisioninvestigates the importance of television as a medium that has shaped the American conscience, and how the LGBTQ movement influenced what we watch on TV.

Each hour-long episode will explore themes like invisibility, homophobia, the evolution of the LGBTQ character, and coming out in the television industry. 

The docuseries includes archival footage as well as interviews with key players from the movement and the screen. 

Visible will feature Janet MockMargaret ChoAsia Kate DillonNeil Patrick Harris and Lena Waithe as narrators. It will also include never-before-seen interviews with Ellen DeGeneresOprah WinfreyAnderson CooperBilly PorterRachel Maddow, Don LemonSara RamirezJesse Tyler Ferguson, among others in the community.

In addition to Cruz, the docuseries will be executive produced by Wanda Sykes.

Visible: Out On Television willdebut on February 14, 2020, exclusively on Apple TV+.

Cruz is known for playing Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life, and Angel in the Broadway tour production of Rent. His other credits include Star Trek: Discovery, Noah’s Arc, and Party of Five.

Salvador Chacon Lands Recurring Role on Showtime’s “The Chi”

Salvador Chacon is Windy City bound…

The 35-year-old Mexican actor has landed a recurring role on the Lena Waithe-created Showtime drama series The Chi.

Salvador Chacon

Chacon, Cory Hardrict and Joel Steingoldare set for multi-episode arcs in season three. 

The series is currently in production in Chicago and will return to the network in 2020.

Produced by Fox 21 Television Studios,The Chiis a timely coming-of-age story about a group of residents who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption.

Chacon will play Tomas Gutierrez, a nurse who works alongside Jada (Yolonda Ross) whose view of his native Chicago and the people in it is influenced by his cultural heritage.

The season three cast includes Ntare Guma Mbaho MwineJacob LatimoreAlex HibbertYolonda Ross, Shamon Brown Jr.Michael Epps and Birgundi BakerLuke James, La La Anthonyand Lil Rel Howeryalso are set to recur in Season 3.

Chacon, who has a recurring role on FX’s Mayans M.C., has appeared iBad LaborThe GetNCISand Ex-Best.

La La Anthony Lands Recurring Role on Showtime’s “The Chi”

La La Anthony is heading to Chicago’s South Side…

The 38-year-old Afro-Puerto Rican actress and television personality has landed a recurring role on Season 3 of Showtime’s The Chi.

La La Anthony

Created and executive produced by Lena Waithe and executive produced by CommonThe Chi is a timely coming-of-age story centering on a group of residents in Chicago’s South Side who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption.

In Season 3, Anthony will play Dominique “Dom” Morris, a savvy businesswoman with dreams of more lucrative opportunities. 

The season three cast includes Ntare Guma Mbaho MwineJacob LatimoreAlex HibbertYolonda Ross and Shamon Brown Jr. 

The Chi is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios.

Production is underway on Season 3 with new showrunner and executive producer Justin Hillian.

Anthony’s previous credits include television appearances on Power, Star and Daytime Divas.

Monica Ramirez to Speak at This Year’s Makers Conference

Monica Ramirez is Maker-ing a difference…

The Latina activist will take part in this week’s Makers Conference, a three-day event that seeks to underscore the stories of trailblazing women.

Monica Ramirez

Ramirez, the co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, will be one of the speakers at the conference, which looks to amplify the conversion around sexual harassment and push for change on issues such as equal pay and diversity in the workplace.

Ramirez, the daughter and granddaughter of migrant farmworkers hailing from a rural community in Ohio, has served farmworker, Latina and immigrant women as an attorney, organizer and advocate. She’s dedicated to ending violence against women, particularly farmworkers.

She’s also the founder of several major initiatives and projects, including Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Bandana Project and the Latina Impact Fund, and she’s a Board member for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Deputy Director for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

This year’s other speakers — chosen from the worlds of tech, entertainment, business and non-profits — include Hillary Clinton, Gloria SteinemJane FondaLena Waithe, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, Cleo Wade, Jessica Biel and Lena Dunham.

The 2018 Makers Conference will take place from February 5-8.

Riesco to Star in in Showtime’s Hour-Long Drama “The Chi”

Armando Riesco is joining the force…

The 39-year-old Puerto Rican actor has landed a series regular role in Showtime’s hour-long drama The Chi.

Created/executive produced by Lena Waithe, The Chi is a coming-of-age story that follows a half-dozen interrelated characters in the South Side of Chicago.

Riesco will play a seasoned homicide detective working the turbulent streets of Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods. When one of his street informant’s kids gets murdered, he mistakenly gives him information that leads to a senseless death of yet another kid. The detective has a soft spot for some of his regulars and finds himself torn at times between his colleagues and his neighborhood.

Riesco most recently guest-starred on CBS’ drama Bull.

Riesco, well known for his stage work in New York, has also had recurring roles on Power and The Family.