Camila Cabello to Be Honored During Variety’s “2022 Power of Women” Event

Camila Cabello has the power

The 25-year-old Cuban & Mexican singer and former Fifth Harmony member, who released her third solo studio album Familia earlier this month, will be among the honorees at Variety’s 2022 Power of Women: New York event.

Camila CabelloCabello is among a list of honorees that includes Drew BarrymoreKim Cattrall, Queen Latifah, Amanda Seyfried and Venus Williams.

Cabello, a three-time Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum, and chart-topping singer/songwriter, is being honored for her work with the The Healing Justice Project.

In January 2021, Cabello and Movement Voter Fund launched the initiative to provide direct funding to provide culturally relevant mental health and wellness resources to youth activists and grassroots organizations working at the intersection of racial and economic justice, electoral organizing, and other movements that propel this country forward.

The in-person event will take place at The Glasshouse on May 5. Presented in partnership with Lifetime, the event gathers an intimate group of philanthropic women who have been selected as Variety’s honorees, as well as the most powerful women working in media and entertainment.

Each of the six honorees will be featured on the cover of Variety’s Power of Women issue, available May 4.

The issue will include the annual Women’s Impact Report, which highlights the top 50 women working in media and entertainment who made an impact this year on the industry.

William Levy to Star in Pantaya’s Dramatic Thriller “Montecristo”

William Levy is ready to thrill…

The 41-year-old Cuban actor and former telenovela star will be leading the cast of the newly announced dramatic thriller Montecristo, from Pantaya and Secuoya Studios.

William Levy

Levy’s new series is set in Havana, Madrid, and Miami.

Based on Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, the series tells the story of Alejandro Montecristo (Levy), an enigmatic figure who bursts into the public eye and raises concerns amongst the world’s elite because of the mysterious origins of his fortune.

He’s the founder and CEO of a new technology company that has incited the envy and interest of many, among those is Fernando Alvarez Mondego – a businessman connected to the Spanish aristocracy who wants to acquire the Montecristo startup. What Fernando doesn’t know is that Montecristo is someone he knew decades ago and the reason for his emergence is fueled purely by revenge.

“I’ve been drawn to the story of The Count of Montecristo since my youth,” Levy tells Deadline in an exclusive statement. “He’s a mysterious figure driven in his pursuit of justice and vengeance, which are powerful themes that resonate universally. I am so thrilled to be partnering with Secuoya Studios and Pantaya to bring this story to life in a way that has never been seen before.”

“Montecristo is our newest modernized premium classic series,” adds Mario Almeida, Head of Content for Pantaya. “This story of vengeance and passion has unforgettable characters at its core, and the new take on this timeless story is brilliantly conceived. We feel there is no better partnership to serve revenge coldly.”

Levy began his career in the Spanish-language market where he quickly rose to become to one of the most sought out talents where he remains today. He expanded his reach with U.S. audiences in the 2000s with roles in Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms ClubGirls Trip opposite Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; and most notably on the small screen as a regular in Lee Daniels’ Star.

“We are extremely proud in our multiple project slate with Pantaya and William, they both are an integral part of our expansion plan in the Americas and the world,” said David Martinez, head of fiction, and Sergio Pizzolante, head of the U.S. and Latin America from Secuoya Studios, respectively.

The television adaptation is written by Lidia Fraga and Jacobo Díaz and will be directed by Alberto Ruiz-Rojo. The series is produced by David Martinez and executive produced by Secuoya Studios and Sergio Pizzolante. Levy and his producing partner Jeff Goldberg will also serve as executive producers.

The series will premiere on Pantaya in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Melissa Villaseñor to Host This Year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards Ceremony

Melissa Villaseñor has the spirit

The 33-year-old Mexican actress, stand-up comedian and Saturday Night Live cast member is set to host this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards ceremony.

Melissa Villaseñor

The show will not be live from the Santa Monica Beach this year due to COVID-19.

Villaseñor, the first Latina cast member of NBC’s long-running SNL, cut her teeth on the stand-up circuit in Los Angeles, and was further propelled to stardom by being a semifinalist on the 2011 edition of America’s Got Talent before landing on the SNL cast.

She is famous for her impersonations of celebrities like Owen Wilson, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and more.

This year’s show will be airing on Thursday, April 22, on IFC and AMC+ at 10:00 pm ET, breaking tradition as the Spirits typically take place on the Saturday afternoon before Sunday’s Oscars.

Said Blake Callaway, Executive Director, IFC and SundanceTV, “Melissa and the unique circumstances of now will make this year’s ceremony like no other. It will certainly be a departure from the past, but with Melissa, the chances of Dolly, Ariana Grande, Bjork, Gwen Stefani, Julie Andrews and Lady Gaga showing up have skyrocketed.”

“As someone who considers herself a pretty dependent person, I’m truly honored to host the Film Independent Spirit Awards,” said Villaseñor.

Outside of SNL, Villaseñor has provided voiceovers in films like Toy Story 4 and Ralph Breaks the InternetShe also was a guest on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee; and in projects like Hubie Halloween, Barry and Crashing, among others.

She’s currently working on her first book, a creative self-help journal forthcoming from Chronicle Books.

She joins a roster of past Spirit Awards hosts that includes Aubrey Plaza, Nick Kroll, Kristen Bell, Joel McHale, Patton Oswalt, Queen Latifah, John Waters, Samuel L. Jackson and Kumail Nanjiani.

Francisca Valenzuela to Participate in This Year’s SXSW Virtual Event

Francisca Valenzuela is heading south (by southwest)…

SXSW has announced its first slate of artists for the popular Austin festival’s virtual event, with the 33-year-old Chilean American feminist pop powerhouse set to make an appearance during the March 16-20 digital experience.

Francisca Valenzuela

Valenzuela rose to acclaim in Chile and Latin America following the release of her debut album, Muérdete La Lengua in June 2007. Her second album, Buen Soldado, followed in March 2011. Valenzuela has earned both gold and platinum album certification in Chile.

As a virtual event, the roster of SXSW artists is especially international this year, with performances scheduled from Indonesian indie jangle-pop trio Grrrl Gang; Nigerian-born, London-raised U.K. Afrobeats singer Darkoo; rising Spanish-Cuban Latin pop sensation Samantha Sanchez; and Canadian live-electronic/dance experimentalists Holy F–k among the first round of artists.

In addition to Valenzuela and Sanchez, other Latinx artists scheduled to take part in this year’s SXSW virtual event include Alien Tango, BELAKO, Candeleros, Dayramir Gonzalez, El Shirota, Los Blenders, Luisa e os Alquimistas, Petite Amie, Ruido Rosa, Tuyo, Vaya Futuro and Vocal Vidas.

Passholders will have access to these unique artists performing from their home countries with streaming available via web, mobile, and the SXSW Online Connected TV app (Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, Samsung TV Plus, and Android TV). Select content will be viewable in VR via SXSW Online XR. This year’s SXSW Online passes begin at $249 and will go up to $399 in March. Passholders get access to conference keynotes and featured speakers, mentor sessions and workshops, musical showcases and events, comedy showcases and podcast, online exhibitions and more.

Previously announced speakers include Queen LatifahThe ChainsmokersLL Cool J and a keynote from Willie Nelson.

Click here for a full list of artists.

Auli’i Cravalho Delivers Sea-Sational Performance of “Part of Your World” during ABC’s “The Little Mermaid Live!”

Auli’i Cravalho has delivered a memorable under the sea adventures

ABC’s The Little Mermaid Live! premiered on Wednesday with the 18-year-old part-Puerto Rican actress/singer in the title role as Ariel.

Auli'i Cravalho

During the broadcast, the Moana star donned the Disney princess’s famous purple seashells and mermaid tail to deliver a technologically wonderous performance of “Part of Your World.” 

“What would I give if I could live out of these waters?/ What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand?/ Betcha on land, they understand/ Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters/ Bright young women/ Sick of swimmin’/ Ready to stand,” Cravalho sang as she soared across the sea — with the help of an intricate, on-stage fly system. 

For the rest of the number, she swam around the stage to audience cheers below before settling back onto the rock for the song’s hopeful closing moments.

The Little Mermaid Live! also starred Queen Latifah as Ursula, Graham Phillips as Prince Eric, Shaggy as Sebastian and John Stamos as Chef Louis.

Auli’i Cravalho to Star in ABC’s Live “The Little Mermaid” Special

Auli’i Cravalho is heading under the sea

The 18-year-old part-Puerto Rican actress/singer is set to star as Ariel in ABC’s The Little Mermaid live special.

Auli’i Cravalho

In addition to Cravalho, who rose to acclaim as the voice of the title character in Disney’s Moana, the special will also star Queen Latifah as Ursula and Shaggy as Sebastian. 

The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live!, featuring a mix of live action, animation and puppetry, will air on November 5 to mark the classic Disney animated feature’s 30th anniversary.

ABC originally announced in May 2017that it would stage a live production of the beloved underwater tale under the long-dormant Wonderful World of Disneybanner, which was slated for October 3, 2017. In August of that year, the network announced that the live event had been put on hold.

Since joining ABC last December as President of Entertainment, Karey Burke has expressed strong support for live specials. Her commitment was likely reaffirmed in May after the success of Jimmy Kimmel’s live staging of two classic Norman Lear sitcoms on the network, which spawned two more installments.

Burke today said that if The Little Mermaid is a success, it too can lead to do more live musicals based on Disneyfilm titles on ABC. “If it works, I expect we will do more of them and we will work closely with the feature department about timing,” she said.

Billed as a tribute to the original animated classic and its music, The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! will feature live musical performances by its star-studded cast interwoven into the broadcast of the original feature film. 

The hybrid format will combine intricate sets and costumes created for the special with music from the original animated film and the Tony Award-winningBroadway stage version, composed by eight-time Oscar-winner Alan Menken

Howard Ashman’s film lyrics will also be showcased, with Glenn Slater, lyricist for the Broadway adaptation, as a contributor.

Cravalho is already in the extended Disney Princessesfamily having voiced Moana in the hit animated movie. 

Following her breakout role in Moana, Cravalho performed the film’s anthem, How Far I’ll Go, at the Oscarsand starred in the NBCmusical drama series Rise. It was just announced that she is the lead of the Brett Haley Netflixfilm Sorta Like a Rock Star

The announcement of The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! going forward comes as Disney is gearing up for production of a live-action feature adaptation of The Little Mermaid for director Rob MarshallHamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda and Menken. Halle Bailey has been set as Ariel in the movie, Awkwafina as Ariel’s seagull friend Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Ariel’s friendly fish pal Flounder, while Melissa McCarthy has been rumored for the role of UIrsula and Harry Stylesfor Prince Eric.

Burke is not worried about ABC’s live Little Mermaid special and the upcoming movie cannibalizing each other. “Ours is distinctly different from the feature film,” she said.

Benjamin Bratt’s Cancelled Fox Series “Star” May Return with a TV Movie

Benjamin Bratt’s star could shine again soon…

The 55-year-old half-Peruvian American actor’s cancelled Fox musical drama Star could return as a televised movie, according to show’s co-creator Lee Daniels.

Star

“The bad news is that Star is not getting picked up for series,” said Daniels in a video post on Instagram, calling the explanation “too long of a story to cry about.”

“The good news is: we’re doing a movie of the week to wrap things up for you all,” he said, adding, “We’re going to make something real special for you to scream about, with all of our cast members – even the dead ones.”

Star, a drama series about three girls’ rise to fame, was cancelled in May after three seasons on the air. Co-created by Daniels and Tom Donaghy, the show was produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Lee Daniels EntertainmentJude Demorest.

Bratt starred alongside Ryan DestinyBrittany O’GradyQueen LatifahQuincy Brownand Amiyah Scottin the series.

William Levy Lands Series Regular Role on Fox’s Music Drama Series “Star”

William Levy’s star is on the rise…

The 37-year-old Cuban actor is joining the cast of Fox’s music drama series Star as a new series regular for the upcoming third season.

William Levy

Levy will play Mateo Ferrera, a driven media mogul who can charm the devil into church. He is rich, successful, smooth as silk and married to his equal, Nina Ferrera, played by Camila Banus. Mateo makes and breaks his own rules as he sprints toward success. The first generation son of immigrant parents, he is determined to make his mark and build his legacy by any means necessary.

Co-created by Lee Daniels and Tom DonaghyStar follows three talented singers – running from their pasts and desperate for a new start – with ambitions of stardom, as they navigate the cutthroat music business.

The large ensemble cast includes Queen Latifah, Benjamin Bratt, Jude Demorest, Ryan DestinyBrittany O’Grady, Amiyah Scott, Quincy Brown, Miss LawrenceMichael Michele, Stephen Dorff and Luke James.

Telenovela star Levy’s Spanish-language Triunfo Del Amor was the most watched scripted series on American television. On the film side, Levy appeared in Lionsgate’s Addicted, Universal’s Term Life alongside Vince Vaughn, and most recently, Universal’s blockbuster Girls Trip.

Fox Renews Bratt’s Drama Series “Star” for a Second Season

Benjamin Bratt’s star is still shining bright…

Fox has renewed its freshman drama series Star, starring the 53-year-old half-Peruvian American, for a second season.

Benjamin Bratt

The music-centric series was co-created by Lee Daniels, the co-creator of Fox’s hit series Empire, as well as Tom Donaghy.

It follows three talented singers – running from their pasts and desperate for a new start – with ambitions of stardom, as they navigate the cutthroat music business. The Season 1 finale airs March 15 before Empire returns to the Wednesday 9 PM time period. Guest stars set to appear on Star over the next four weeks include Naomi Campbell, Big Boi, Rickey Smiley, Missy Elliott and Paris Jackson.

“Lee Daniels is a true visionary, and he and Tom Donaghy have delivered a series with a unique and meaningful point of view,” Fox Entertainment president David Madden said.

Launching behind the fall finale of Empire, Star hasn’t been a breakout hit like the soapy hip-hop family drama. But it has had a stable audience, averaging a Live+Same Day rating between 1.2 and 1.3 in adults 18-49 for the past five weeks, rising to about 1.9 in Live+7. Its L7 average of 2.1 demo rating is below Lethal Weapon (2.5) and above Lucifer (1.9), both of which were recently renewed, along with Fox flagship Empire.

Star, whose cast includes Bratt, who plays talent manager Jahil Rivera, Queen Latifah, Jude Demorest, Brittany O’Grady, Ryan Destiny, Amiyah Scott and Quincy Brown, averages 7.5 million multi-platform audience, according to Fox.

Star is a production of 20th Century Fox Television in association with Lee Daniels Entertainment.

Lopez to Star in NBC’s Live Television Adaptation of the Hit Broadway Musical “Bye Bye Birdie”

Everything’s coming up Rosie for Jennifer Lopez

NBC has slated Bye Bye Birdie as its next live musical, with the 46-year-old Puerto Rican actress/singer set as the star.

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez will executive produce with Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and her company Nuyorican Productions will produce with Universal Television.

Harvey Fierstein will write the television adaptation, with the special set to air in 2017.

The original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie won the Tony Award in 1961 for best musical. It starred Dick Van Dyke, who also won a Tony for best actor in a musical, as Albert Peterson, the manager of rock star Conrad Birdie, and Chita Rivera as Rosie Alvarez, Albert’s girlfriend and secretary. When Birdie is drafted into the Army, Albert and Rosie concoct a plan to have Birdie give “one last kiss” to a small-town high school girl live on The Ed Sullivan Show before heading off for induction.

The show was adapted into a 1963 feature film starring Van Dyke and Janet Leigh. A short-lived 2010 Broadway revival starred John Stamos and Gina Gershon.

Lopez, who stars in NBC’s Shades of Blue, will play the part of Rosie in the NBC version. No other casting has yet been announced.

Under Greenblatt, NBC has made a tradition of airing live musicals in December, where the network believes the holiday time is a fertile ground for family-friendly co-viewing. The first, Sound of Music Live! starring Carrie Underwood, aired in 2013 and was watched by 18.6 million viewers. That effort was followed by Peter Pan Live! starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken, and The Wiz Live! starring Queen Latifah and Shanice Williams.

Zadan and Meron have served as exec producers on all four NBC live musicals, and Fierstein previously wrote the television adaptation for The Wiz Live! and wrote the adaptation for NBC’s upcoming Hairspray Live!, which will air on December 7.