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Issa Rae + LaKeith Stanfield star in ‘The Photogragh’ (VIDEO)

Issa Rae is teaming up with LaKeith Stanfield for the new romantic drama titled The Photograph. The film is written and directed by Stella Meghie and produced by Will Packer.

When famed photographer Christina Eames unexpectedly dies, she leaves her estranged daughter Mae Morton (Rae) hurt, angry and full of questions. When a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box is found, Mae finds herself on a journey delving into her mother’s early life and ignites a powerful, unexpected romance with a rising-star journalist, Michael Block (Stanfield).

The Photograph is executive produced by Meghie, Erika Hampson (co-producer Late Night, Life Itself) and Rae.

The film also stars Chanté Adams (Roxanne Roxanne) as Mae’s young mother Christina, Y’lan Noel (HBO’s Insecure) as Christina’s secret love, and Rob Morgan (Mudbound) as Isaac Jefferson, a New Orleans fisherman with a mysterious connection to Mae’s mother. Rounding out the cast is Lil Rel Howrey, Teyonah Parris, and Courtney B. Vance.

Watch the trailer below:

The Photograph opens in theaters on Valentine’s Day 2020.

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Watch a Sneak Peek of OWN’s ‘Ready to Love’ Season 2 (VIDEO)

OWN’S hugely popular relationship series Ready to Love is back for a second season and we have a sneak peek of all the action. Check it out below:

The one-hour series explores the real-life dating interactions of sexy, successful and grown black men and women in their 30s and 40s who are each looking for lasting love and an authentic relationship. A unique twist on a typical dating show, Ready to Love highlights the men’s observations and experiences in the search for true love in Atlanta. The show comes from Will Packer Production and Lighthearted Media.

Tune in Saturday, October 5 at 10 p.m. EST.

PHOTO CREDIT: YouTube

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OWN’s ‘Ready To Love’ returns on 10/5 (VIDEO)

OWN’s hit series Ready to Love is back for a new season beginning on Saturday, October 5.

The show, from Will Packer Media and Lighthearted Entertainment, explores the real-life dating interactions of sexy, successful and grown black men and women in their 30s and 40s who are each looking for lasting love and an authentic relationship. A unique twist on a typical dating show, Ready to Love highlights the men’s observations and experiences in the search for true love in Atlanta.

Watch a sneak peek below:

PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE.COM

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Meet the Cast of Will Packer’s New BET+ Series ‘Bigger’

Super producer and filmmaker Will Packer is teaming up with BET for a brand new series titled Bigger. The 30-minute scripted comedy featuring Angell Conwell, Tanisha Long and Chase Anthony will appear on the network’s new streaming service BET+ this fall.

Bigger takes place in the East Atlanta neighborhood of “Little Five Points” ( I love that place) and follows a single-black-woman who is dealing with the threat of marriage to a boring-in-bed boyfriend and the sudden, random death of a college acquaintance. The tragedy drives her ambitious group of friends to take a deeper look at their stagnant lives, asking themselves— is there something bigger and better in life. 

Joining the above mentioned cast members are Rasheda Crockett and Tristen Winger with Warren Burke and Terrence T. Terrell in recurring roles. The show, which was once titled as Peachtree Place, recently wrapped production this summer in Atlanta.

“I’m excited about bringing this cast of some of the most talented new voices in television to this great new medium,” said Packer.

BET+ Bigger Cast

Check out the character breakdown:

Tanisha Long plays Layne Roberts, a quirky, simple beauty who has been holding herself back, both in love and in life, and has found herself at a major crossroads. Her straight-laced boyfriend Greg (played by Warren Burke)has just proposed, but she’s not sure if playing it safe is her style, especially when the handsome and adventurous Reggie (played by Terrence T. Terrell) is now very interested in her. Meanwhile, her vintage store needs a serious boost. Layne is upbeat, fun, and positive, but constantly second-guessing herself has started to become a problem. She is about to start taking some risks, for better or for worse.

Angell Conwell plays Veronica Yates, who carries herself with genuine confidence and knows how to make heads turn. Her real-estate business has been doing well, leaving her in an excellent position to be the advice-giver in her group of friends. Veronica encourages Layne to have a little fun while she’s still young.

Rasheda Crockett plays Tracey Davis, a fun-loving, social media influencer who wants to be Hollywood -level famous. She is always up for a good time as long as she can snap an Instagram photo in the process. She’s built up quite a following online but is secretly worried that her time in the spotlight might be slipping away.

Chase Anthony plays Deon Lewis, a well-groomed and fit, full of swagger guy, who may act comically frugal but is actually a very successful businessman. At work, however, his swagger is gone. He’s trying to play the game and move up in the world even as his co-workers seem to get the opportunities he deserves.

Tristen Winger plays Vince Carpenter, a cutie with an odd 90s throwback fashion sense. He is a talented, old school DJ who can’t help but get frustrated with the younger generation as they encroach on his game. He’s got the chops to make it as a DJ, but his style is outdated, and he’s having trouble letting it go.

RECURRING GUEST CAST

Warren Burke plays Greg Washington, a conservatively dressed, and the ultimate play-it-safe kind of guy. He is a successful doctor who loves Layne and treats her well, but doesn’t exactly make sparks fly in the bedroom. After a surprise proposal, Greg offers Layne some time to think about it but hopes she’ll say yes.

Terrence T. Terrell plays Reggie Langford, a strong, tall, sexy and bearded guy, who might not be the most romantic man in the world, but he’s charming and sultry, and has a sense of humor about the fact that he’s great in bed. After a few nights with him, Layne sees Reggie as the perfect low-stakes, adventurous counter to her boring but safe relationship with Greg.

Bigger was created by Felisha Marye and executive produced by  Packer and Devon Shepard who also served as the showrunner.

Will you be tuning in?

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‘The Wendy Williams Story’ is coming to Lifetime

Wendy Williams is having one helluva year! In addition to the announcement about her receiving a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the “queen of all media” is now the subject of an upcoming biopic for Lifetime. Super producer Will Packer is bringing her story to the small screen and will begin production this fall.

According to S&A, the film will showcase the highs and lows Williams has experienced throughout the years.  It will also follow her journey from urban radio to the success of her talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. 

As if the biopic wasn’t enough, Lifetime will also be airing a documentary about Williams that is being produced by Entertainment (eOne) and Creature films.

My pick for the lead role is…TAMI ROMAN. I believe she has the heart and grit that it would take to play Wendy in a movie. I also think Tami can relate to Williams’ ambitious pursuit of fortune and fame as a Black woman in entertainment and channel that through her performance.

Who do you think should play Wendy Williams?

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What Men Want’s Taraji P. Henson talks to #UPFRONT (VIDEO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Check out my UPFRONT red carpet coverage of What Men Want starring Taraji P. Henson. The movie is opens in theaters this weekend and is a remake of the Mel Gibson classic What Women Want

Ali Davis (Henson) is a successful sports agent who’s constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. When Ali is passed up for a well-deserved promotion, she questions what else she needs to do to succeed in a man’s world… until she gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts! With her newfound power, Ali looks to outsmart her colleagues as she races to sign the next basketball superstar, but the lengths she has to go to will put her relationship with her best friends and a potential new love interest (Aldis Hodge) to the test.

What Men Want also stars Richard Roundtree, Tracy Morgan, Erykah Badu, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Josh Brener, Tamala Jones, Phoebe Robinson, Max Greenfield, Jason Jones, Brian Bosworth and Chris Witaske.

It is directed by Adam Shankman and produced by Will Packer and James Lopez.

Shout Out to CAU-TV 23 for producing the video.

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Watch Taraji P. Henson receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

January 28 is officially “Taraji P. Henson Day” in Hollywood, CA.

The Oscar-nominated actress, singer and activist received her long overdue star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Empire diva was surrounded by her family including her grandmother, mother and beloved son.

Others in attendance included Hollywood Walk of Famers Mary J. Blige and John Singleton as well as Will Packer and James Lopez, producers of her upcoming film, What Men Want.

“If any babies are out there, I just want you to know that everything I do I think about you. I’m a mom. I have a son. When I set out on this journey, I said ‘I’ll never give up’ because If I give up what am I teaching my son. If I give up, what am I teaching those who look up to me? So, everything I do is for a generation coming behind me because if it were not for the generation before, I would be standing before you,” said an emotional Henson.

Watch the full ceremony below:

Photo Credits: Instagram/Will Packer + YouTube

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Watch OWN’s Teaser Trailer for ‘Ambitions’ featuring Robin Givens (VIDEO)

Check out the new teaser trailer for OWN’s new soap drama AMBITIONS. It features the new “Queen Bee” Robin Givens and airs some time in March.

AMBITIONS is produced by Will Packer and is a multigenerational family saga centered around one woman who, having recently relocated and intent on revitalizing her marriage, finds herself going head to head with some of the most powerful and deceitful players in the city.

In addition to Givens, AMBITIONS also stars Essence AtkinsBrian WhiteKendrick Cross, Brely Evans, Erica Page, Steven Williams, Christina Kirkman and most recently added Brian Bosworth, Deena Dill, Anthony Pesi and Kayla Smith.

Photo Credit: Ambitions/OWN/YouTube

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Watch the Trailer for ‘Little’ starring Marsai Martin, Issa Rae and Regina Hall (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Check out the trailer for the hilariously new comedy Little. It opens in theaters on April 12, 2019.

Girls Trip‘s Regina Hall and Black-ish’s Marsai Martin both star as Jordan Sanders – Hall as the take-no-prisoners tech mogul adult version of Jordan and Martin as the 13-year-old version of her who wakes up in her adult self’s penthouse just before a do-or-die presentation.

Insecure’s Issa Rae plays Jordan’s long-suffering assistant April, the only one in on the secret that her daily tormentor is now trapped in an awkward tween body just as everything is on the line. Little is an irreverent new comedy about the price of success, the power of sisterhood and having a second chance to grow up – and glow up – right.  

Will Packer, blockbuster producer of Girls Trip, the Ride Along franchise, and ten movies that have opened No. 1 at the U.S. box office, including Night School, No Good Deed and Think Like a Man, brings an all-new perspective to the body-swap comedy.

Little is directed by Tina Gordon with a story by Tracy Oliver. It is based on an idea by teen actress Martin. The film is also produced by Packer and his producing partner James Lopez and by Kenya Barris. 

Tell us what you think…

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UPDATE: Steven Williams & Christina Kirkman added to ‘Ambitions’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Will Packer has added more star power to his upcoming OWN drama Ambitions.

One of my favorite veteran actors Steven Williams will now have a recurring role on the series as ‘Stephen Carlisle,’ a powerful attorney and Stephanie’s (Robin Givens) father. You may remember him from the iconic 80s TV series 21 Jump Street. He also appears on Lena Waithe‘s groundbreaking Showtime series The Chi.

Also appearing on the show is Christina Kirkman. She will be starring as ‘Lori,’ a smart, challenging, force to be reckoned with, who works as PR exec at Purifoy Pharmaceuticals, owned by her father, Hunter Purifoy.

As previously mentionedAmbitions is a multigenerational family saga centered around one woman who, having recently relocated and intent on revitalizing her marriage, finds herself going head to head with some of the most powerful and deceitful players in the city.

Ambitions stars Robin Givens, Essence Atkins, Brian White, Kendrick Cross, Brely Evans and Erica Page.

Production is currently underway in Atlanta and will debut on OWN in 2019. It is produced for OWN by Will Packer Media in association with Lionsgate and its producer-distributor Debmar-Mercury.

Photo Credits: Showtime and OWN

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Robin Givens, Essence Atkins, Brian White and more to star in OWN’s ‘Ambitions’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Production is currently underway in Atlanta for Will Packer’s new OWN series Ambitions.  The one-hour drama stars Robin Givens, Brian White, Essence Atkins, Kendrick Cross, Brely Evans and Erica Page. The pilot episode will be directed by Benny Boom.

Ambitions is being described as a multigenerational family saga centered around one woman who, having recently relocated and intent on revitalizing her marriage, finds herself going head to head with some of the most powerful and deceitful players in the city.

Check out the character breakdowns below:

Robin Givens stars as ‘Stephanie Carlisle,’ the wife of Atlanta Mayor Evan Lancaster (Brian White), whose true loyalty is to her own family’s prestigious law firm, where she is the latest in a long line of distinguished lawyers.  Stephanie desperately wants to be in charge of the Carlisle family law firm and quietly fumes about her father Stephen’s condescending assertion that she’s simply not ready yet. 

Essence Atkins plays the role of ‘Amara,’ a lawyer in U.S. Attorney’s Office who has newly arrived in Atlanta with her husband, Titus (Kendrick Cross).  Originally from Texas, she is quickly gaining attention from the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a diligent prosecutor but disappoints her supervisor by turning down the offer to run point on a major local case.  

Brian White has been cast as ‘Evan Lancaster,’ the Mayor of Atlanta, who is married to attorney Stephanie Carlisle (Robin Givens).  Evan’s political ambitions seem to cloud his judgement as he is willing to do anything to get to the next level in his career. 

Kendrick Cross stars as ‘Titus,’ an attorney who recently moved with his wife Amara (Essence Atkins) to Atlanta.  Titus has been hired as in-house counsel for a big pharma company run by Hunter Purifoy, who is fighting a class action suit brought by the powerful Carlisle family. 

Brely Evans plays the role of ‘Rondell,’ Atlanta Mayor Evan Lancaster’s (Brian White) sister, who runs a not-quite-profitable restaurant called Thelma’s Place. 

Erica Page plays the role of ‘Bella,’ a fashion designer in Atlanta who designs all of Stephanie Carlisle’s (Robin Givens) dresses for her.  

Ambitions was created by Packer along with Kevin Arkadie. Staff writers include James Giddens, Susan Dansby, Michele Val Jean, Trey Anthony and Jazmen Darnell Brown.

Ambitions will debut in 2019 on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. 

Photo Credit: Instagram/Will Packer

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Watch ‘UPFRONT with Ray Cornelius’ featuring Tichina Arnold, Kevin Hart and Will Packer (VIDEO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

I am super excited to share the first official UPFRONT with Ray Cornelius show.

It premiered last night on CAU TV (Comcast 23) at 8:30 p.m. and featured my one-on-one interview with iconic actress and The Neighborhood star Tichina Arnold plus my red carpet interviews with Night School’s Kevin Hart and producer Will Packer.

Much like my UPFRONT radio show, this program will feature the biggest and brightest names in television, film, music and the performing arts. I am so excited about my new partnership with CAU TV23 and can’t wait to share more shows.

UPFRONT with Ray Cornelius will also air TONIGHT at 8 p.m. and tomorrow night at 6 p.m. EST.

Let me know your thoughts…

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OWN presents Will Packer’s ‘Ready to Love’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

OWN is teaming up with prolific producer Will “Power” Packer for a new unscripted series on love and relationships titled Ready to Love. It premieres on two nights – Tuesday, October 23 and Saturday, October 27 at 10 p.m. EST.

Ready to Love is a dating series hosted by Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles (The Steve Harvey Morning Show) and explores the real-life dating interactions of sexy, successful and grown Black men and women in their 30s and 40s who are each looking for lasting love and an authentic relationship. It also highlights the men’s observations and experiences in the search for true love in Atlanta.

Ready to Love is the first of two projects Packer is doing with OWN. The other one, Ambitions is described as a multigenerational family saga centered around one woman who has relocated and finds herself going head to head with some of the most powerful and deceitful players in the city. It will premiere in 2019.

Take a look at Ready to Love below and tell us what you think…

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‘UPFRONT’ featuring Kevin Hart, Will Packer, Jonathan Nelson and more (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Check out last weekend’s edition of UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. It featured my red carpet interviews with Night School star Kevin Hart and producer Will Packer. The film opens in theaters this Friday, September 28.

I also talked to Gospel music sensation Jonathan Nelson about his new album, Declaration and film critics Edward Adams and Ronda Racha Penrice talk about AAFCA’s The Black Experience on Film with Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

UPFRONT is a 30-minute arts and entertainment program featuring the biggest names in TV, film, music, fashion and the performing arts. It also features the behind-the-scenes superstars that make Atlanta the “entertainment capital of the south.” It airs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and is hosted by yours truly, Ray Cornelius.

Click here to check out more of our past shows!