Posted by | Cyrena Rose

Sheryl Lee Ralph has been cast to play Jennifer Hudson‘s mom on the second season of Smash!  Ralph played the mother of Lauryn Hill’s character in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, the movie Hudson has publicly declared her all-time favorite film.  Hudson will be playing new Smash gal Veronica Moore, a Tony-winning star “who reached [her] Broadway dream but paid a price for it.”  No word yet on what kind of mom Ralph’s character Cynthia will be.

Blair Underwood has signed a major development/talent holding deal with Universal Television. Under the pact, the studio will develop a starring vehicle for the actor, with him and Tagline Television attached to produce. The deal also includes a talent component, allowing Uni TV to cast Underwood in another project if the one developed for him, which is a priority, doesn’t go.

English actor and playwright, Lennie James, is set to co-star opposite Mark Strong in the AMC drama pilot Low Winter Sun.  The project, based on the 2006 British miniseries, is described as a contemporary story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption that starts with the murder of a cop by fellow Detroit detective Frank Agnew (Strong).  James, who co-starred in the ABC pilot Gotham last season, will play Joe, who is described as part cop, part perp.