maya rudolph*Fresh off of its much ballyhoo’d stance on a lack of diversity in showcasing ethnic female talent on the long-running “Saturday Night Live” series, “SNL” chief Lorne Michaels goes back to his safety net, and gives Maya Rudolph the green light for a primetime show on NBC.

Rudolph, you may recall, was the last black female (please let’s not get persnickity because she is biracial) to serve as a regular cast member on SNL; prior to the asinine attempt at justification by current “SNL” female impersonator, Kenan Thompson, that “black women are not ready” to be on the show.

Nevertheless, NBC has ordered a pilot for the proposed variety show, to air as a special after the Winter Olympics, which begins Friday, February 7, 2014 and Rudolph will executive produce with Michaels, Erin David and Dave Becky.

Apparently, the series is a hot property, and was chased by a number of networks, with NBC eventually winning out.

This will mark a return to TV for Rudolph, who, most recently, appeared on the big screen this year, in “Grown Ups 2″ and “The Way Way Back.”

james brown*The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, is coming to a screen near you earlier than previously planned.

Universal has moved up the release date of the biopic, “Get On Up,” from October 17, 2014 to August 1, 2014; taking over the slot previously reserved for its highly anticipated “50 Shades of Grey” film adaptation, which has now got a new lead and been pushed to February 13, 2015.

“Get On Up” stars Chadwick Bozeman (“42″) as James Brown and Jill Scott  as Brown’s wife. The cast is rounded out with Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Lennie James and Keith Robinson in the Tate Taylor-directed film.

Shooting on the project has begun, in Mississippi, with Brian Grazer producing alongside Mick Jagger, for Universal Pictures.

Promising a true tell-all of Brown’s life story, the screenplay was penned by Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth (they wrote the script for ”Fair Game,” the Naomi Watts and Sean Penn film).

“Get On Up” will compete with Disney’s wide release of its adaptation of “Guardians of the Galaxy” on that August 1, 2014 weekend.