*TV One has decided not to pick up “Belle’s” as part of its future line up, a shock for some. Arguably the network’s best scripted series to date, will not be back, for now. “Belle’s” is/was a comedy centered on a widower who owns and operates his family’s upscale Soul Food restaurant. The family-friendly series premiered on Feb. 1 for a modest 6-episode run.
According to online reports, when BET’s rebooted “Comic View” comes back, funny gal Sommore will be the host. If you remember the original showings from 20 years ago, that would be 1994, Sommore was the host. Like they say, some things come around … again and again. By the way, other past hosts include Cedric the Entertainer, Don D.C. Curry, Ricky Smiley and D.L. Hughley.
*Porsha Stewart was “totally blindsided” by her husband’s divorce filing, the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star told Andy Cohen after the reality show’s reunion aired. “When I found out about the divorce, it was absolutely a surprise,” she said on Sunday night’s “Watch What Happens Live,” explaining that she took to Twitter after her sister called to ask whether she’d “heard the news.” “The first thing I see (on Twitter) is ‘Kordell divorcing Porsha,’” she revealed. “I thought this is some kind of crazy joke.” At the time, her husband hadn’t even moved out. And by the way, they still dwell in the same home. And while their mansion measures approximately 12,000 square feet, Porsha calls their cohabitation a “difficult, difficult situation.” “We’re in the same house, but I didn’t say we speak,” she clarified, adding, “And I didn’t say I’m cooking, and it ain’t no eggs and bacon and ham hocks no mo’!”
EURweb associate Tene Croom and actor Miguel Núñez, who’s also creator and executive producer of ‘Belle’s’
*A new show has opened for business on Friday nights on TV One. The show is “Belle’s” and Elise Neal portrays Jill Cooper on the sitcom.
“Belle’s is all about family, soul food cooking and basically my family, the Coopers. My father ran this restaurant with my now deceased mom and now he and I have taken over this restaurant and we want it to succeed. We have the crazy Tami Roman as my glamorous sister. We have Ella Joyce as the cook. Miguel Núñez as one of the people who work in the restaurant. It’s just a great cast. And I had such a good time doing it.” Neal said.
She has been on the big screen in a number of films, including the Academy Award winning (for song) movie Hustle and Flow.
The remainder of the cast is also stellar. Neal’s father on the show is played by Keith David, the veteran actor with the mellifluous voice featured in numerous movies, such as the blockbuster The Princess and the Frog where he won rave reviews for the voice of Dr. Facilier. Nadja Alaya makes her TV debut as Pam, the sassy 12-year-old daughter of Jill, who provides narration exhibiting wisdom beyond her tween years. Alaya had previously worked in several theatrical productions.
Juwanna Man is perhaps the movie people first think of when Núñez name is mentioned. On Belle’s he’s more than just a cast member. He’s the creator and Executive Producer of the show too. “I was just looking at all the stuff that was out there already and it wasn’t anything I was proud of. It isn’t anything I thought was really good true family entertainment. It’s a lot of Black shows that are over the top. So big and broad. I wanted something that was more toward like the Cosby Show. Just about family.”
Ed Weinberger, the creator of the Cosby Show, and Núñez share creator and Executive Producer credits. Weinberger gave the show a vintage look. The set is reminiscent of shows with predominantly African American casts from the 1980’s like 227.
Núñez bemoaned the fact that there are an abundance of poor quality sitcoms with predominantly African American casts on television. The reason for that Núñez said with a laugh is because of Tyler Perry.
But he wasn’t joking when he took aim at the acclaimed actor/filmmaker. While Núñez recognized that Perry has a “stellar, impeccable, incredible career,” he was also critical of Perry, saying he has learned something about making TV shows from him. “I learned how not to do one.”
So, what is it about the TV shows, produced by Perry that he doesn’t like? Núñez explained, “I think they’re too big, too loud. Too many people dancing every four or five minutes in the shows. There’s a lot of good actors in his shows. Some of his stories are really good. But I think to me, I’ve seen that before. I’ve seen it over and over again.”
A soon to be released motion picture entitled School Dance, starring Nick Cannon, is something Núñez is proud of. He’s the Executive Producer of the film and gave a preview of what to expect when it’s released this Summer.
“Nick Cannon wrote it and he directed it. It’s got Kevin Hart. It’s got Mike Epps. It’s got everybody you name in this movie and they are incredibly good. It’s about a freshman in school who wants to hang out with the most popular dance crew, but he ain’t really got it. It’s got some incredible dance teams in it. Nick did an incredible job.” Núñez said with a big smile.
Besides making School Dance, Cannon, married to songbird Mariah Carey, will be busy in the Summer hosting Season 8 of America’s Got Talent. The showis NBC’s popular reality competition series that has people in various categories, including singing and dancing, vying for the top prize of one million dollars.
Belle’s is on TV One on Friday nights at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
Tene’ Croom conducted exclusive interviews with Elise Neal and Miguel Núñez. Reach Tene’ at firstname.lastname@example.org
*TV One might have a winner with its new comedy series “Belle’s,” set to premiere with two back-to-back episodes this Friday at 10pm (Eastern).
Starring Keith David as “William ‘Big Bill’ Cooper,” the show focuses on the life and times of a widower who owns and operates an upscale family soul food restaurant his wife Belle left for him.
But life is a bit complicated because he’s got two demanding, headstrong daughters. Dealing with the girls is almost as controversial as balancing between his sensible business path and his prima donna ambitions.
While things at times get a little hectic and out of control, his tween daughter, Pam, manages to keep a cool head and balance in the family.
10:00 PM ET – “One Big Family” – In the series premiere of Belle’s, Jill (Elise Neal) rents out the entire restaurant to the Crawford family for their annual family reunion. Just as the Coopers get ready to celebrate their sudden windfall, Big Bill (Keith David) is tormented when he discovers the Crawfords’ once owned his wife’s family during slavery. Cameron Mathison (“All My Children”) and Steven Williams (“21 Jumpstreet”) guest star.
10:30 PM ET – “Birthday Party” – Pam’s (Nadja Alaya) 12th birthday party could be a complete bust unless her grandfather agrees to a romantic weekend with a woman from his past. Will Big Bill give in? Vivica A. Fox guest stars in the sultry role of Ms. Newbie.
Keith David & Vivica A. Fox (photo: Michael Elins)
Keith David, Tami Roman & Cameron Mathison (Photo: Michael Elins)
*Tami Roman is building up her own empire in reality television. The “Basketball Wives’ star visited with PIX 11 to chat about her upcoming series, “Belle’s.”
“I am so excited about this role. I play a character named Loretta, [whose] primary focus is to be hot and sexy. She’s a primadonna,” she said.
Describing the plot, she explained her role, “We run this family restaurant, so she’s responsible for keeping the restaurant popping and making sure we have the upper echelon clientele.”
Tami is certainly busy, but she also knows how to have a little fun. The reality show star also promised a much better season as well.
“I think it was important to show me as a mother, to show me as an actress, to show me as a spokesperson, to show me really living my real life,” Tami shared. “My life doesn’t revolve around Evelyn [Lozada], Shaunie [O'Neal], and whoever else may be on the show-just like vice versa for them-we wanted to have a little more balance.”
Hmm, looks like Tami is trying say there’s gonna be some changes. We’ll see. Apparently she’s got the ear of the show’s creator?
“I don’t want to give too much away, but I have always been a person that’s gonna speak my mind and say exactly how I feel,” Tami said. “For the first time I actually have a little to say to Miss Shaunie O’Neal, so that’s going to be quite interesting for people to see.”
*TV One is going through a few changes to make everyone’s experience a little better.
Season two of “Find Our Missing” will debut on January 9 at 9 p.m., but will be moved to Monday nights beginning January 14.
Also added to the line-up is new scripted comedy series, “Belle’s” and the return of docu-series “Unsung.”
“TV One strives to provide our audience with diverse content and we are confident that these changes will allow us to best spotlight our new and returning series,” said Maureen Guthman, TV One Senior VP, Program Strategy & Acquisitions. “As we seek to grow our content base, we will continue to identify and present the most compelling viewing options providing a robust slate of programming for our viewers each night of the week ”
“Unsung” will return on January 23 at 10 p.m. and “Belle’s” will start rolling in the laughter on February 1.
The show is about a family that runs an upscale soul food joint called Belle’s.
Elise Neal (pictured below), Keith David and of course Tami will all star in the show. Surprisingly, Tami may actually have some descent acting skills, according to Neal.
“Everyone wants to have his or her opinions about her but, she’s a great actress,” Neal told Essence, admitting she actually appreciates reality television, but wants to see both good sitcoms and reality TV “coexist.”
An air date for “Belle’s” has yet to be confirmed.