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Play To Win: Tia Mowry On The Game's CW Cancellation

The unlikely return of the once canceled The Game so far stands as 2011’s most noteworthy television triumph. But the BET hit comedy’s much talked about comeback was an exercise in network politics, disappointments, and daunting resolve. Star Tia Mowry gives the inside story on the show’s devastating cancellation and stunning resurrection.—As Told To Ronke Idowu Reeves

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When we were in The Game’s third season, I noticed there were things with the production that were changing. That’s usually the first sign of a show being in trouble whether it’s premature on not. Even on Sister, Sister there were production costs within our sixth year. That’s the first sign that you see when you’re discussing cancellation. We were never told anything. Ordinarily you would have a nice spread for food for the actors [from craft services] and show staff while you’re working. But slowly and surely it became just peanut butter and jelly. Usually they give wardrobe more money to spend to do shopping for clothes, but then we found ourselves wearing the same clothes and just finessing different ways of wearing them. Or usually we would do more outside shots, which costs more money, but we weren’t doing any of  that anymore.

The main thing that was loss was promotion. We didn’t have a lot of promotion to begin with, but [suddenly] there was no promotion. And that’s usually what happens to all shows on the verge of cancellation. It’s good business that you want to save your money for the new shows you’re about to launch. You wouldn’t put money into a show that’s going off the air. So the whole Game cast would talk to me and start asking questions. Mainly it was the cast members like Pooch [Hall] and Hosea [Chanchez], who hadn’t had shows prior to this one. ‘Tia, what do you think? What’s going on? What’s your opinion?’ I would tell the guys, ‘This doesn’t look good.’ 

But the main thing that I would like to share with The Game fans is that we never gave up. We fought all the way to the end. I remember when we had our last run through, which was extremely emotional. All of us got together—the writers, the producers, lighting people, wardrobe, the whole cast and crew—and made speeches because we all knew it was the end. But Salim and Mara Brock [Akil], the creators they were and captains of the ship, wanted to make sure that we put in our best work and best foot forward until the show was canceled. We knew there was some uncertainty, but Mara and Salim still tried to be extremely positive about the situation. 

We finished the show, but didn’t hear about the cancellation until a few months later in May during upfronts (a yearly event when networks announce new shows to advertisers). And that was the most difficult part because we were literally hanging on a string until that moment. At first it makes you feel confused because in this business they tell you if you have an audience your show is going to get picked up. The CW didn’t know what direction they were going in initially, but once Gossip Girl hit, and was a hit for them, they found out what their target audience was, and unfortunately, we were not that target audience. 

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Maroon 5 Scrambling To Find Guest Performers For Super Bowl Halftime Show

Between the NFL’s stance on the National Anthem and the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, performing at the Super Bowl halftime show clearly isn’t as alluring as it used to be.

Maroon 5 has reportedly been scrambling to finding someone to share the stage with them at the Super Bowl LIII halftime show in Atlanta next month, but it’s not for lack of trying. The band is having trouble pinning down special guests because, “No one wants to associate themselves with the NFL,” US Weekly reports.

Cardi B,  who collaborated with the Maroon 5 on the hit single “Girls Like You,”  mulled it over, but ultimately turned down the Super Bowl invitation.

“It’s a no right now,” a source told the outlet of Cardi’s decision.

Andre 3000 and Mary J. Blige were approached to perform as well, per a Variety report. Blige was unable to commit due to scheduling issues. Other alleged names being tossed around include Usher, Lauryn Hill, Nicki Minaj, and Madonna.

Since Atlanta is a virtual hotbed of Black artists who were seemingly overlooked to headline the show, focusing on local talent might be Maroon 5’s safest bet. According to Variety, Migos and Lil Yachty could be in the running to fill the empty spot.

The NFL has yet to officially announce Maroon 5 as the halftime act. Meanwhile, a Change.org petition calling for the band to drop out of the show has received nearly 75,000 signatures.

Super Bowl LIII goes down Feb. 3, 2019, at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

READ MORE: Amy Schumer Joins In Protest Spirit, Turns Down Super Bowl Ads

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Jazmine Headley To Take Legal Action Against NYC Officials Over Police Assault

Police officers might not face repercussions for aggressively handling Jazmine Headley and her 1-year-old daughter, but the 23-year-old is putting justice into her own hands by taking legal action.

In an interview with The New York Times Monday (Dec. 17), the mother confirmed her plans to take her case to court to make sure others don't face the same trauma. Headley is referring to the Dec. 14 incident in which she was arrested at a public assisting office in Brooklyn. Bystander footage showed officers vigorously grabbing Headley and prying her child from her arms.

“It’s the story of many other people, it’s not just my story,” Headley said of her incident. “My story is the only one that made it to the surface.” Charges were dropped against Headley and Mayor Bill de Blasio faced scrutiny for his delayed reaction to the incident.

An NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau review also stood by the officers, citing they did nothing wrong. Instead, blame is being placed on the security officers who first approached Headley about sitting on the floor of the office.

“The NYPD has conducted a strenuous review of what happened because the public deserves answers, and we must take every opportunity to continuously strengthen how the NYPD serves the people of New York City,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said in a statement. “This review shows that prior to the incident depicted on public video, NYPD officers are working with the client to de-escalate the situation.”

The Civilian Complaint Review Board is investigating the arrest along with the actions of the security guards.

The incident has opened up a conversation regarding the treatment of those in public assistance offices and the handling of young children.

READ MORE: NYPD Officers Caught Strenuously Pulling One-Year-Old Out Of Mother's Arms

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Former ABC President Channing Dungey Joins Netflix As VP Of Original Content

Former ABC president, Channing Dungey, is heading to Neflix. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dungey will officially join the company early next year in a "newly created leadership role" as a vice president of original titles.

Dungey will work directly with fellow vp, Cindy Holland, and Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Saranados. Her position involves overseeing the streaming network's current deals, which include the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions company.

The move also re-teams Dungey with Shonda Rhimes’ and Black-Ish creator, Kenya Barriss, both of whom left ABC and signed with Netflix.

In addition, Dungey will oversee a group of executives who have worked on Narcos, House of Cards, and other big shows on the streaming network.

"I'm drawn to the forward-thinking, risk-taking and creative culture at Netflix, and the deeply talented people there, especially Ted and Cindy, with whom I’m excited to partner on setting the strategy for original content," Dungey said in a statement. "Given that ABC, the place I’ve called home for nearly 15 years, represents the gold standard of traditional broadcast, it feels like the perfect next step for me to join Netflix, the unparalleled leader in streaming. I'm invigorated by the challenges ahead and the opportunity to forge new relationships, and excited for the very welcome reunion with incredible talent."

In 2016, Dungey was named president of ABC, making her the first Black woman to lead any of the four major networks. She began her career with the company in 2004, and worked her way up to executive vice president of the network’s drama division developing hit shows such as Scandal, Quantico, Hot To Get Away with Murder and American Crime, before being promoted to network lead. Her exit from ABC came in November, shortly after firing Roseanne Barr for making racist comments.

READ MORE: The Obamas Sign A Multi-Year Production Deal With Netflix

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