*For more than two decades, the name Tracey Edmonds has resonated with power as one of Hollywood’s most talented, savvy, and successful producers, studio executives, and entrepreneurs. Many would even say she has the “Midas Touch,” where everything she touches in television, film, and music turns to gold. These days, Edmonds’ hands are still leaving golden fingerprints on a multiplicity of projects to which she is attached.
Her latest television venture is the Lifetime Original Movie “With This Ring ,“ which makes its world premiere on Saturday, January 24 at 8pm (Eastern and Pacific on Lifetime). Edmonds serves as the movie’s executive director.
According to Tracey, the made for TV film which was shot in Cleveland, Ohio last summer, is an incredible romantic-comedy about three best friends, all of whom are single and vow to get married within a year after serving as bridesmaids at their best friend’s wedding on New Year’s Eve. It follows their lives over the ensuing year to see if and how they will keep their vows.
“The movie focuses on the dynamics of what’s going on in the real world today,” said Edmonds, in an exclusive interview with EUR’s Lee Bailey. “You have all this fabulous and amazing women who have not found the right man for whatever reason. I have a lot of fabulous girlfriends who are beautiful and successful, but are still single.”
The three friends in search of holy matrimony are portrayed by the movie’s starring cast that includes, Regina Hall (“Think Like a Man,” “Think Like a Man Too”) and Grammy® Award winners Jill Scott (“Get On Up, “”Steel Magnolias”) and Eve Jeffers Cooper (“Whip It,” “Barbershop”). Additional stars in the movie are Brooklyn Sudano (“My Wife and Kids”), NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders (“Deion’s Family Playbook”), Stephen Bishop (“Being Mary Jane”), Jason George (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Brian White (“The Night Before”).
The movie is based on the best seller, “The Vow,” authored by Denene Millner, Angela Burt-Murray and Mitzi Miller. Edmonds credits actress Gabrielle Union, who also serves as the movie’s executive director, with bringing her the book in 2009. Edmonds said the movie was initially developed and shopped as a feature film, but after some very close possibilities from a couple of studios, it could not get a green light at a feature level.
“We decided to approach television,” said Edmonds. “So we are very happy that we found a home at Lifetime, and that Tonya Lopez (top executive at Lifetime) allowed us to tell the story the way we wanted to tell it. We wanted to really showcase African American women in a positive light and show America that there are a lot of different dynamics to African American women; much more than the ones that are often seen on reality shows.”
While the movie is primarily about the vows of three female friends to get married, the male actors turned in some outstanding work. Edmonds was asked about Deion Sanders’ role.
Tracey Edmonds (R) & ‘With This Ring’ Director Nzingha Stewart (L)
“You’ll see the character that he plays which has a larger-than-life personality,” she said, with a huge laugh. “There are only a couple of men that I know that could have handled this role. Lifetime actually had the idea of the role for Deion. They called me and asked if I could get it done. I already had the idea in the back of my head, but didn’t want to initiate the idea. I called Deion and described the character that he would play. We ended up working it out.”
Edmonds is no stranger to successful television projects. She is the creator, executive producer and co-stars in the hit series “Deion’s Family Playbook” which follows the life and times of Deion Sanders, who is a single father raising of his own five children, plus an extended family of five other kids. Edmonds is Sanders’ real life girlfriend. Now in its second season, the reality show can be seen on OWN TV. (Oprah Winfrey Network).
Additionally, Edmonds has also produced the award-winning movie “Soul Food” for Showtime, which enjoyed a five-year run She also achieved success in reality television shows as the executive producer for College Hill, BET’s first Black reality show.
While Edmonds has found immense success behind the camera, Monday through Friday she can now be found in front of the camera as co-host of “Extra,” the Emmy Award-winning entertainment news television program. Edmonds joined host Mario Lopez and co-host Charissa Thompson on September 8, 2014.
“This is a new chapter in my career,” Edmonds said. “Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve been an entrepreneur. However, this is a wonderful opportunity that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t anything that I ever expected to do. I always shied away from being on camera because I liked being behind the scenes.”
Tracey Edmonds and Jennifer Lopez on EXTRA set
Edmonds recalled how the opportunity happened.
“I appeared on ‘Extra’ to promote ‘Deion’s Family Playbook’ and Mario Lopez interviewed me” she said. “After the interview, Extra’s executive producer called and wanted to meet. They were looking to make some changes and give the show a new look. This season of Extra is entirely different from what was done before. There are three of us, Mario, myself, and Charissa Thompson. I’m able to suggest talent to come on the show and stories to cover. I’ve been able to connect and reconnect with actors and actresses and filmmakers and say, ‘Hey, I would love for you to come on the show. ’ ” I’m also excited to bring diversity to the show.”
Edmonds admits that probably the biggest challenge that she will face as a co-host on Extra is also how to continue to produce television and film projects.
“I want to be able to do both,” said Edmonds. “So far, I have been able to do both, although it has been a juggling act. While I’ve been shooting Extra, I’ve been producing and co-starring in Deion’s show, as well as doing the Lifetime movie. I don’t have all the answers yet, but it will be interesting to see how I go about doing things, because I don’t want to give up the production side of things. But, I do love challenges, and co-hosting Extra has been fun learning this side of the industry.”
Deion & Tracey
And of course Tracey was asked about the big day (marriage) with Deion.
“To be honest with you, our biggest challenge is geographically.” Edmonds said. “Right now, I’m locked into L.A., with my kids and my new job with Extra. We talk about things, but right now we just don’t have everything figured out. We don’t have a date yet.”
Watch the trailer for “With This Ring”:
Tracey Edmonds Talks ‘With This Ring’ – ‘Extra’ Gig and Deion Sanders