Rosalynne Montoya Among Transgender Artists to Sign Development Deal with Ozy Studio

Rosalynne Montoya is ready to breakthrough…

The Hispanic bisexual, non-binary transgender woman, who works as a model, actor, makeup artist and content creator, has signed a development deal with Ozy Studios, along with Puerto Rican chef Paxx Caraballo Moll, Alabama-based activist Dan Eggers.

Rosalynne Montoya

Beginning as a digital magazine in 2013, Ozy has moved into podcasts, events and original television series featured on A+E, History, Lifetime, Amazon, Hulu, OWN, PBS and BBC.

Montoya, Chef Pax and Eggers will now be part of those multi-platform storytelling initiatives.

“At Ozy we feel the immense responsibility of pushing culture forward with the content we share and conversations we foster with our audience,” said CEO Carlos Watson. “We feel this is an important moment to highlight the complexity of humanity and the truly diverse life experiences of these incredible talents are one important way in which we can do that.”

“Amplifying voices from within the trans community is not just in-line with Ozy’s philosophy: It’s personal,” said Executive Director of Ozy Studios Chris Rantamaki. “As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I know the impact of seeing ourselves reflected in pop culture. I’m excited about showcasing a wide spectrum of trans talent in our content, alongside some of the biggest celebrities in the world.”

Montoya is well-known on TikTok and Instagram.

“Queer people need accurate representation,” said Montoya. “When I felt like I didn’t have a future or life wasn’t worth living, it was seeing positive representations in the media that proved to me that I have a happy and successful life ahead.”

Chef Pax is a trans man who was named Best New Chef in 2019 by Food and Wine magazine.

“I’m excited to work with Ozy because I felt at home with them immediately,” says Chef Paxx. “I can’t wait to highlight my culinary skills and bring my queer kitchen sensibilities to the entire world.”

The Alabama-born Eggers is the first openly transgender person to enter a top college musical theater program. Of his new deal Eggers said, “I felt that my experience would be properly honored in the Ozy family rather than tokenized…Ozy sincerely brings forward those who have often been left behind. I am ready to help #ResetAmerica!”

Jamie-Lynn Sigler to Star on Season Two of ABC’s Drama Series “Big Sky”

The (big) sky’s the limit for Jamie-Lynn Sigler

The 40-year-old half-Cuban American actress and former The Sopranos star will appear on the second season of ABC’s popular drama series Big Sky.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Sigler, who will appear in a key role, will appear alongside cast newcomers Madelyn Kientz, Troy Johnson, Lola Reid, Jeremy Ray Taylor, TV Carpio and Arturo Del Puerto (Camping).

In Season 2 of the David E. Kelley series based on the books by C.J. Box, when private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) reunite to investigate a car wreck outside of Helena, Montana, they soon discover that the case might not be as straightforward as it seems. As they unravel the mystery of the accident, their worlds will collide with a band of unsuspecting teens, a flirtatious face from Jenny’s past and a vicious outsider hellbent on finding answers.

Cast also includes series regulars Janina Gavankar, Brian Geraghty and Dedee Pfeiffer as well as Omar Metwally and Anja Savcic, who have been promoted from recurring to regulars for Season 2, and Jesse James Keitel, a series regular in season 1 who will recur in Season 2.

Sigler will play Tonya, who works as a waitress at a local diner. She and her boyfriend have big plans, that is until he mysteriously disappears. Tonya hires the services of Dewell & Hoyt to find her boyfriend, but she is withholding some secrets of her own. Like all of the women in this town, it would be unwise to underestimate Tonya.

Del Puerto will play T-Lock, Rachel’s ne’er-do-well boyfriend, oozing with entrepreneurial self-confidence, especially when it comes to his myriad of “get-rich-quick” opportunities. Though he can be a loose cannon, and leeches money off a begrudging Max behind her mother’s back, T-Lock genuinely loves Rachel.

Big Sky, produced by 20th Century Fox Television and A+E Studios, is moving production to Rio Rancho, NM, for Season 2 from Vancouver, where the first season was shot.

Sigler, known for her role as Meadow Soprano in HBO’s The Sopranos, was recently seen in Lifetime movie The Neighbor In The Window, and will next be seen on the big screen in a starring role in Sonia Sebastian’s The Virgin of Highland Park. She also recently voiced Rebeca on Disney Jr.’s Elena of Avalor.

Del Puerto was recently seen in HBO’s limited series Camping opposite Jennifer Garner, Juliette Lewis, and David Tennant, and also was recently seen in Apple’s For All Mankind. His film credits include Independence Day: Resurgence, Universal’s Ride Along 2 and CHIPS.

Judy Reyes to Star in the Lifetime’s Border Separation Film “Torn From Her Arms”

Judy Reyes is a woman Torn

The 53-year-old Dominican American actress and former Scrubs star will lead the cast of Torn From Her ArmsLifetime’s family border separation film.

Judy Reyes,

Hailing from Ozy Media and Motion Picture Corporation of America, the movie will also star Gloria Reuben.

Fátima Molina and Camila Nuñez also star in the timely film, which, amidst the ongoing crisis at the U.S. border, depicts the harrowing true story of a mother and daughter who must find their way back to each other after being separated.

It’s slated to premiere this fall.

Reyes will play Thelma Garcia, a Texas Immigration lawyer who works tirelessly to reunite the pair, while Reuben plays Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist ProPublica reporter, Ginger Thompson, who broke the story.

Originally covered by Ozy’s reporting arm, Torn From Her Arms marks Ozy’s first foray into scripted programming and an expansion of its television catalog.

Based on a true story, Torn From Her Arms follows Cindy Madrid (Molina) and her six-year-old daughter, Ximena (Nuñez), who fled violence in El Salvador for safety in the U.S., only to be separated at the border as a part of the Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy. Detained in detention centers in different states, Cindy and Ximena endured inhumane living conditions and inadequate medical care, but that was nothing compared to the emotional toll of being apart. Their story would gain national attention when a whistleblower leaked a gut-wrenching audiotape of six-year-old Ximena crying for her mother. The onslaught of media attention incited by Ginger’s story alerted the nation to the cruelties being committed against undocumented immigrant families at the border.
Alan Jonsson Gavica directs from a script written by Tawnya Bhattacharya and Ali Laventhol.

Reyes, who plays “Quiet Ann” on Claws, also appeared on Devious Maids.

Gloria Calderón Kellett Developing “With Love” as First Series Under Overall Production Deal with Amazon Studios

Gloria Calderón Kellett is bringing the Love to Amazon…

The 46-year-old Cuban American television writer/creator’s GloNation Studios and Amazon Studios have set With Love as the first series under Calderón Kellett’s overall deal with the streamer.

Gloria Calderón Kellett

The one-hour romantic dramedy, created and written by the One Day At a Time co-creator, had been fast tracked since the pitch stage with the goal to launch it during the 2021 holiday season.

Additionally, Calderón Kellett has set up three other series projects for development at Amazon Studios through GloNation as part of her deal. The wide-ranging slate includes Shakespeare-themed high-school drama Verona, co-created by Calderón Kellett; Glowing Up, a half-hour adult animation musical series based on the graphic novel Mismatched, a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma; and Dating the Lopez Ladies, a half-hour animated comedy created by Calderón Kellett.

Glowing Up and Dating the Lopez Ladies follow Calderón Kellett’s foray into animation with the well-received special episode of One Day At a Time, which was produced during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Meanwhile, With Love and Verona mark a return to the hour-long side for Calderón Kellett, who previously worked on Devious Maids and iZombie.

With Love follows the Diaz siblings, Lily and Jorge, who are on a mission to find love and purpose. The Diaz siblings cross paths with seemingly unrelated residents during some of the most heightened days of the year –the holidays.

“I started writing as a way to create characters and stories that represented myself and the community I love,” Calderón Kellett said. “After such a heavy year, there was nothing I wanted more than to see a happy, warm, loving family that looked like mine, celebrating trauma-free and falling in love. So, to be bringing that family to life as my first project with Amazon Studios feels especially personal and is incredibly exciting. I cannot wait to share With Love this holiday season!”

The holiday series is currently in prep, with production set to begin in June. Its pilot episode will be directed and executive produced by Meera Menon.

With Love is a special project and Gloria at her best, creating a world with a vibrant family at its center, hysterical circumstances, and so much heart and soul. We’re so proud of what’s to come of this series and can’t wait for the world to fall in love with it,” said Marc Resteghini, US and Global Head of Development for Amazon Studios.

Here are details about the three other projects from Calderón Kellett’s GloNation Studios in the works at Amazon:

VERONA
As Shakespeare so famously wrote, all the world’s a stage… and never is that truer than as a teenager, when you are performing for yourself, your peers, your parents, and social media. Verona is an hour-long drama series which takes the classic Shakespearean stories you know and love out of the renaissance and into present-day high school. The highs are still high, the lows are still low, but one thing is certain… high school drama is about to get a lot more poetic. We follow the Del Castillo sisters Nico, Delilah, and Inez as they play out familiar stories interweaved together in fair Verona where we lay our scene.
Created By: Roja Gashtili & Julia Lerman, Kelly Younger and Gloria Calderón Kellett.
Writers / Executive Producers: Roja Gashtili, Julia Lerman

GLOWING UP
Based on the graphic novel Mismatched (a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma), Glowing Up is a half-hour adult animation musical series centered on Evan Horowitz, an out and proud Latino/Jew amateur matchmaker and wannabe makeup influencer. Evan is an old-school romantic who dedicates himself to getting true love to trend at his high school in Queens — through singing, dancing, and contoured cheekbones. A big gay musical comedy that focuses on love and celebrates LGBTQIA+ youth.
Writers / Executive Producers: Debby Wolfe & Marcos Luevanos
EPs: Gloria Calderón Kellett and Will Graham (for Field Trip)

DATING THE LOPEZ LADIES
A half-hour animated comedy series following plus-sized powerhouse Ilana Lopez. She’s a 25-year-old artist who runs a wildly successful comic strip about dating called Sharp Curves following the misadventures of her alter-ego Gabby. Gabby becomes all too real and is the devil on Ilana’s shoulder in life as well as on the page. When Ilana’s mother, the 49-year-old glamorous divorcee, Sofia visits, she points out that fictional Gabby has more fun than real-life Ilana. It makes Ilana and her friends energized to start a date club and take their romantic conquests seriously. Inspired by the young people, Sofia decides to join her daughter and friends in date club! Adventures and hilarity ensue.
Creator/Writer/EP: Gloria Calderón Kellett

Calderón Kellett, a leading voice in Latinx storytelling on television, was executive producer/co-showrunner, director and actress on Netflix/Pop’s One Day At A Time, which was universally praised for its authentic and nuanced portrayal of the the Latinx experience.

She began her TV writing career as a staff writer on the CBS comedy series How I Met Your Mother, rising to co-producer and earning an ALMA Award for one of her scripts in 2008. She then worked as a writer-producer on such series as CBS/Sony Television’s Rules of Engagement, Lifetime’s Devious Maids and the CW’s iZombie before taking on One Day at a Time. 

Mercedes de la Cruz to Star in Hallmark Channel’s Rom-Com “Right In Front of Me”

Mercedes de la Cruz is frontin’

The Latina actress, who hails from Canada, wukk star as a lead opposite Janel Parrish and Marco Grazzini in Right In Front of Me, Hallmark Channel’s upcoming rom-com.

Mercedes de la Cruz

Written by Julie Sherman Wolfe and directed by Linda-Lisa Hayter, Right In Front of Me revolves around Carly (Parrish), the owner of a bridal styling business, gets a second chance at romance with her college crush but isn’t sure how to impress him until her new friend Nick starts giving her advice. Soon she learns who the right man for her really is.

The movie, part of Hallmark Channel’s “Spring Fling” programming event this spring, premieres Saturday, April 17.

De La Cruz plays Carly’s assistant and friend Jennifer, an efficient woman with a keen sense of humor who is well aware of Carly’s previous romantic disasters.

De La Cruz most recently co-starred in Lonestar Christmas for Lifetime. She also appeared in Supernatural, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Get Shorty and opposite Freddie Highmore in Bates Motel.

Ashanti to Star in Build-A-Bear’s Live-Action Film “Honey Girls”

Ashanti is ready to grin and (build-a-)bear it!

The 40-year-old part-Dominican American Grammy-winning singer and actress will star alongside digital star Tessa Brooks in Honey Girls from Build-A-Bear Entertainment.

Ashanti

The live-action project is based on Build-A-Bear’s Honey Girls toy line.

In addition to Ashanti, who appeared in John Tucker Must Die, will star alongside Aliyah Mastin, Ava Grace, and Frankie McNellis, all playing the titular Honey Girls.

Music video director Trey Fanjoy makes her feature film directorial debut based off a screenplay by Mike Mariano and Cindy McCreery.

Honey Girls will include Julia Michels, another Grammy winner, as Music Supervisor. Lady Gaga collaborator Mark Nilan, Jr., who won a Grammy in 2020 for his work on the soundtrack to A Star Is Born, writes original songs.

Ashanti will star as global pop-star Fancy G, the host of a talent competition that seeks to discover the next great solo artist. Three young musicians sign up for it but quickly discover that they are “better together” — a reference to the song “Everything Is Better” written for the Honey Girls toy line. They form a secret band called Honey Girls and, with an immediate viral mega hit on their hands, perform in disguise to avoid elimination by Fancy G. In the end, the competitors must decide what is more important — fame or friendship.

“The Honey Girls story uses the power of music as a catalyst to both encourage the celebration of individuality while recognizing that we can also be ‘better together,’ wrapped in a fun girl-empowerment story of discovery,” Sharon Price John, President and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., said in a statement.

Ashanti was last seen on screen on an episode of the CW‘s Dynasty on season 3, and she also starred in the Lifetime movie A Christmas Winter Song. Aside from her music, which includes her self-titled award-winning, chart-topping album and her most recent single drop “2:35 (I Want You),” Ashanti is also known for roles in Coach CarterResident Evil Extinction, and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.

Honey Girls is produced through Foundation Media Partners with Patrick Hughes serving as producer. John is also acting as executive producer.

The film was acquired by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and is expected to release this fall.

Lifetime Gives Green Light to “Torn From Her Arms” Movie Inspired by Jimena Madrid’s Separation from Mother at U.S. Border

Jimena Madrid’s heartbreaking immigration story is headed to the small screen…

Lifetime has given a green light to Torn From Her Arms, an original movie from Ozy Media, inspired by the separation of the six-year-old Salvadoran child from her mother at the U.S. border due to the Donald Trump administration’s zero-tolerance family separation policy.

Jimena Madrid

The made-for-television movie, which stems from Ozy Media’s development partnership with A+E Networks, is part of Lifetime’s Ripped from the Headlines franchise inspired by news and true events. Originally covered by Ozy’s reporting arm, Torn From Her Arms marks Ozy’s first foray into scripted programming and an expansion of its television catalog.

Per Lifetime, Torn from Her Arms is the timely story of Cindy and Jimena Madrid, a mother and daughter who fled violence in El Salvador, only to be separated at the U.S. border. Detained in different centers, Cindy and Jimena’s story gained national attention when the audiotape of Jimena crying for her mother was leaked, helping to alert the world to what was happening to undocumented immigrant families at the border. The movie shines a spotlight on the harsh child separation policies in place as part of the zero-tolerance policy and the struggle to reunite families.

Torn From Her Arms is written by Tawnya Bhattacharya and Ali Laventhol. Lifetime and Ozy Media are currently searching for a director and casting for the movie.

The 2020 Ripped from the Headlines winter slate was seen by over 25.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Live+7.

Mario Lopez to Star as a Sexy Colonel Sanders in Lifetime Mini-Movie “A Recipe for Seduction”

Mario Lopez is getting a little chicken fried

The 47-year-old Mexican American actor and television personality will star as Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders on a special Lifetime mini-movie.

Mario Lopez, Colonel Sanders, KFC, Lifetime, Recipe for Seduction

The network has shared a poster on Twitter promoting Lopez’s new “original mini-movie,” A Recipe For Seduction, with the Saved by The Bell star appearing as a ripped version of the iconic fast food personality.

“Mark your calendars because Lifetime and @KFC have partnered for a Lifetime Original Mini-Movie you don’t want to miss,” the tweet read.

Set to premiere on Lifetime on Sunday at 12:00 pm ET, A Recipe For Seduction takes the television commercial to a new level. The Lifetime original mini-movie follows a young heiress as she struggles to pick between a rich suitor selected by her mother and the new house chef, Harland Sanders who brings more than his 11 herbs and spices secret recipe to the table. In Lifetime fashion, things take a turn for the dramatic, with the heiress’ mother and the disappointed suitor seeking to take out the KFC mascot himself.

To accompany the head-turning poster, Lifetime also shared a trailer for the mini-movie, presented by KFC.

Arlen Escarpeta to Star in the Second Season of OWN’s Drama Series “David Makes Man”

Arlen Escarpeta is the Manof the hour…

The 39-year-old Belizean actor has been cast as a series regular for the second season of OWN’s acclaimed Peabody-winning drama series David Makes Man.

Arlen Escarpeta

He’ll star alongside Kwame Patterson, who has been tapped to portray the title character, the adult version of David.

Escarpeta will play his brother JG, in the series which hails from Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney and Warner Horizon Scripted Television

They join returning series regulars Akili McDowellAlana ArenasTravis Coles and Cayden K. Williams for season two.

Created by McCraney and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey, the first season ofDavid Makes Mancentered on David Young (McDowell), a 14-year-old prodigy learning to survive the streets that raised him and the higher education that could offer him a way out. Season two finds David in his early 30s, a rising business man 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 finally, truly live.

Escarpeta’s television credits include series regular roles on Crackle’s The Oath and NBC’s American Dreams, and a recurring role in Syfy’s The Magicians,among others. He also starred as Bobby Brown in the Lifetime original film Whitney

His feature film credits include Into the StormFinal Destination 5, BrotherhoodFriday the 13th (2009), and We Are Marshall, among others.