Saturday, March 12, 2011

Constance Marie Returns to TV on new ABC Family Sitcom

Premieres June 6, on ABC Family Channel

Constance Marie, the actress audience have come to love for her portrayals of loving mothers beginning in the film Selena to her latest gig on television as George Lopez’s wife on George Lopez, is back as mom Regina Vazquez in the ABC Family sitcomSwitched at Birth.

The sitcom revolves around the story of two teen girls who discover that they were accidentally switched at birth. Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and two brothers, while Daphne Vasquez (Katie Leclerc), who lost her hearing as a child due to a case of meningitis, grew up with a single mother in a poor neighborhood. Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls.Lea Thompson plays the character Bay Kennish’s mom.

“We’re thrilled to have such acclaimed actresses as Lea Thompson and Constance Marie join the cast in two of our leading roles,” said Elizabeth Boykewich, Vice President, Casting, ABC Family. “For the critical role of Daphne, we set out to meet actors with all ranges of hearing loss to play the part. When we auditioned Katie, we knew she was perfect for the role. Not only is she a talented actress, but like her character, Katie is comfortable in both the hearing and deaf worlds.”

Switched at Birth is written and executive produced by Lizzy Weiss ("Blue Crush"). The sitcom is set to launch June 6, 2011 at 9pm.

Diego Luna Shoots Contraband and Develops Cesar Chavez

Hollywood, CA -- Mexican actor Diego Luna recently wrapped the, as yet to be titled, “Spanish comedy” (nee Casa de mi Padre) which stars Will Farrell and shot entirely in Spanish with English subtitles. Beginning in March he stars filming Contraband along side Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster and Kate Beckinsale.

Contraband is a small budget film about a security guard with financial troubles considers a return to his smuggling ways when an associate offers a potentially lucrative opportunity. Luna's character has not yet been announce. The film is being shot on location in New Orleans, Louisana with a scheduled release date of March 16, 2012 slated.

In addition to his in front of the camera gigs, Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal’s production company, Canana Films, is in development of the UFW’s leader, Cesar Chavez life story which they optioned last year in March. The rights were granted by the Cesar Chavez Foundation with Chavez’s son, Paul negotiating the deal. Oscar nominated screenwriter Keir Peason (Hotel Rwanda) is writing the script. 

Luna's directorial debut Abel was recently picked up for distribution by Pantalion Films. Luna is repped by Willim Morris Endeavor

Grammy® Winner Marc Anthony joins cast of HawthoRNe

Third Season Set to Launch in June

Grammy®-winning recording artist and actor Marc Anthony has joined the cast of TNT’s Hawthorne, the TNT drama series starring and executive-produced by Jada Pinkett Smith (The Women, The Matrix trilogy). Anthony will reprise the newly expanded role of Police Detective Nick Renata, the character he introduced as a guest star in two episodes last season. Hawthorne is scheduled to return for its third season this June.

Anthony joins Hawthorne as a series regular just as Pinkett Smith’s Christina Hawthorne, Chief Nursing Officer of James River Hospital, struggles with news that she is pregnant. The two developed a strong bond last season while Renata investigated a pair of criminal cases involving the hospital. But Christina, whose on-again, off-again romance with Dr. Tom Wakefield (Michael Vartan – Alias) has been a mess of mixed signals and bad timing, told Nick she was not ready to jump into a new relationship.

As a recording artist, Anthony has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide, making him the top-selling salsa artist of all time. He has been awarded numerous gold and platinum record certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His Grammy accolades began with a 1998 Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Performance for “Contra La Corriente,” followed with a 1999 Latin Grammy for Song of the Year for “Dimelo.” In 2004, he earned a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album for Amar Sin Mentiras and a Latin Grammy for Best Salsa Album for Valió la Pena. He won his third Latin Grammy for the 2008 album El Cantante. Last summer, the Miami Dolphins minority owner released his latest album, Iconos, an all-Spanish ballad collection produced with Julio Reyes. The platinum album held the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for six consecutive weeks and earned him his 12th Latin Grammy 

Anthony’s acting career includes roles in Martin Scorsese’sBringing Out the Dead and Tony Scott’s >I>Man on Fire. Starring opposite wife Jennifer Lopez, Anthony played Puerto Rican salsa pioneer Héctor Lavoe in Leon Ichaso’s biopic El Cantante. He also starred opposite Salma Hayak in the television film In the Time of the Butterflies. In 1997, Anthony made his Broadway debut in Paul Simon’s musical The Capeman.

Hawthorne is produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and Jamie Tarses’ FanFare Productions. Hawthorneis executive-produced by Pinkett Smith; Jamie Tarses (Franklin & Bash); John Tinker (Judging Amy, St. Elsewhere); and Miguel Melendez (The Human Contract).

Telemundo’s La Reina Del Sur Audience and Ratings Winner

Miami, FL -- After having premiered to an audience of 2.4 million viewers last Monday, Telemundo's latest telenovela, La Reina Del Sur (Queen of the South), again outperformed Univision across key demographics last Wednesday, according to Nielsen Media Research. La Reina Del Sur which is now the network’s most-watched premiere for a telenovela, grew two consecutive days in a row with 3.1 million total viewers (persons 2+) and delivered over 2 million (2,009,000) adults 18-49, up 29% and 31%, respectively, from Monday’s premiere.

Kate del Castillo is Teresa Mendoza in La Reina Del Sur a story based on Arturo Perez Reverte’s novel by the same name. The story revolves around Mendoza, who transforms from a young innocent girl to a tough woman surviving the world of drug trafficking.

This story, which is said to be based on a real live character, has had quite a buzz for a while now and has long been anticipated. A couple of years back Eva Mendez, was cast in an English language film about this same story which was being directed byJonathan Jakubowicz (Sequestro Express) and was being produced by Elizabeth Avellan (Machete, Spy Kids) and Sandra Condito (Sequestro Express) when production unexpectedly shut down. 

With all the press and the high profile telenovela talent,including del Castillo, Humberto Zurita, and Rafael Amaya, tts no wonder the La Reina Del Sur had additionally ranked #1 at 10pm among all broadcast networks in men 18-34, regardless of language.

Locally, La Reina Del Sur was #1 across all stations in the time period in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Houston among key adult demos, regardless of language. Among Spanish-language stations, the telenovela was #1 in Los Angeles, 
New York, Miami, Houston and Chicago among key demos.

Source: NTI, Live +Same Day, 3/2/11; NSI 3/2/11 Adults= A 18-34 and A18-49.

New Cast for "Dancing With the Stars" Season 12 Announced

Hollywood, CA -- Dancing with the Stars hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke announced the 11 celebrities heading to the dance floor this season during a live press conference tonight. A star-studded cast filled with celebrities across a variety of genres are set to compete each week on the dance floor in the spectacular two-hour season premiere of Dancing with the Stars,Monday, March 21 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

The new Dancing with the Stars, pictured here are: 
Top (L-R) - Hines Ward, Ralph Macchio, Romeo, Sugar Ray Leonard 

Pictured Bottom (L-R) Kirtsie Alley, Chris Jericho, Wendy Williams, "Psycho" Mike Catherwood, Kendra Wilkinson, Chelsea Kane

Salma Hayek Gets Busy in 2011

First up "Here Comes the Boom"

Hollywood, CA -- 2011 is shaping up to be quite busy year for Salma Hayek. Things had been relatively quiet for the actress/producer since the cancellation of Ugly Betty with the exception of playing Adam Sandler’s wife in Grown up. This year things will be different.

In March Hayek is set to begin shooting Sony’s action comedy,Here Comes the Boom about a physics teacher named Scott (Kevin James) who participates in UFC mixed martial artscompetitions to save his school's music program. Kevin James, Jeff Sussman and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions are producing.

It was also announced yesterday that Hayek will star in directorAlex de la Iglesia’s La Chispa de la Vida (The Spark of Life) along side Willy Toledo, Javier Gutierrez, Jose Mota, Juan Luis Galiardo and Santiago Segura to be filmed in Madrid. 

The film tells the story of Roberto, an out-of-work advertising man, creator of the slogan ‘la chispa de la vida’ for the soft-drink brand Coca-Cola, who is rebuffed by every agency where he applies for a job. But everything changes when he suffers an accident that has him hanging between life and death. The project is said to be in pre-production

She has several other films she is slated to act in Wild Roses, Tender Roses (2012) alongside Johnny Depp who will play the role of Pancho Villa; and Screen Gems The Driver oppositeGulshan Grover and set to begin shooting in April 2011. 

As a producer, her production company Ventanazul is producing the film Diego Asending written by Ligiah Villalobos and to be directed by Rodrigo Garcia. Ventanazul is also developing has the comedy Bones Family and The Prophet written by Kahlil Gibran.

And not to leave television untouched, Hayek continues the development of the 8 hour mini-series Wicked for ABC. All this an the most important job of all...being a mother to Valentina her three year old daughter.

"Without Men" Stars Eva Longoria Parker & Christian Slater

Maya Entertainment picks worldwide distribution rights

Los Angeles, CA -- Maya Entertainment, the multi-platform content/distribution company focused on content for and about Latinos, has acquired worldwide rights to Gabriela Tagliaviniscomedy Without Men

The film based on James Canons book Tales From the Town of Widows: A Novel was adapted for the screen by Tagliavini, and stars Eva Longoria Parker, Christian Slater, Oscar Nunez, Kate Del Castillo, Maria Conchita Alonso, Paul Rodriguez, Yvette Yates, Douglas Spain and Judy Reyes.

Without Men is set in a mountain village somewhere in Latin America. The women of a of the town are forced to pick up the pieces and remake their world when all the towns men are forcibly recruited by communist guerrillas. When the men return, lead by an American reporter, to reclaim their place and power, the real battle begins, the battle of the sexes.

“Through humor and fantasy, the story not only immerses us in a world of magic realism but also deals with important issues of identity and the role of women in society in a very comedic way,” Longoria has said of the film.

Maya has acquired both domestic and international distribution ofWithout Men and it will also be release thourough Mayas Indie Film Series.

Maya Entertainment is headed by Moctesuma Esparza (Selena, Gettysburg) and Jeff Valdez (Si TV,, has established a library of over 100 titles, mostly produced, written by and starring Latino talent, which are carried in retail, rental, and VOD. 

The film was produced by Anthony Moody, Lucas Jarach andJason Price for Indalo Production. The acquisition was initiated by Tonantzin Esparza, Maya Entertainments director of acquisitions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bob Schneider: Living with Mexican Americans

New CBS Pilot Greenlit

Hollywood, CA -- CBS has announced the production of the untitled sitcom pilot starring comedian Rob Schneider. The story is said to be based on Schneider relationship with fiancee Patricia. In the pilot, Schneider’s character (a “landscape architect”) marries his sweetheart and into her large Mexican-American family.

A prominent character in the pilot is the father, very much a departure from the usual network roles written for Mexican Americans, to begin with, he is a right wing conservative Republican. A virtual Archie Bunker, the racist character from Norman Lear’s All in The Family, in reverse. The father believes that there should be an electrified wall on the border and patrolled with cannons. He is a contradiction in terms every time he opens his mouth.

The untitled project will also star Jeff and Jackie Filgo from That ’70s Show and is written by Schneider and Lew Morton, who met both Saturday Night Live alums. Morton, Eric and Kim Tannenbaum (Two and a Half Men) are executive producing, with Schneider and his brother John Schneider producing under their From Out of Nowhere Prods. shingle.

The project will mark Schneider's return to the small screen since the the NBC comedy Men Behaving Badly. Schneider most most recently co-starred with Adam Sandler in the film Grown Ups.

Pilot Casting: Rita Moreno, Valente Rodriguez, and Camily Guaty Among Cast

Rita Moreno lands a role in the new TV Land sitcom Happily Divorced

Academy/Emmy/Tony/Alma Award winner Rita Moreno (Cane, will be gracing the small screen once again in the TV pilot Happily Divorced for TV Land (Hot in Cleveland). The comedy is based on Drescher's real-life previous marriage and divorce about a woman (Drescher) who begins dating again after learning her husband is gay. Moreno will play her mother with Robert Walden playing her husband.

Since her role in the one season CBS drama Cane, Rita Moreno has appeared as a guest star in In Plain Sight. Happily Divorced will hopefully mark her return to sitcom televison since doing guest stars in some of televisions most successful sticoms which included, George Lopez, Ugly Betty, Murphy Brown, and The Cosby Show. In 1994 she also appeared on the The Nanny, which is where she worked with Drescher last. Happily Divorced is expected to premiere early next year.

Valente Rodriguez, who was last seen playing the best friend in George Lopez has also landed a role in Happily Divorced.

Camille Guaty Plays a Single mom in Eden

Camille Guaty (Chicago Code, Las Vegas, Cupid, Gotta Kick It Up) has landed the role strong-willed, hard-working single mother who's carved out a career in real estate support her five-year-old son in the USA Network one-hour pilot Eden. THe pilot centers around a young hotel staffer (Nick D'Agosto), and his con artist cousin (Enver Gjokaj), who manage the hotel as well as anything their guest wants at the elite New York City hotel.

Guaty is currenly recurring in the FOX midseason cop drama The Chicago Code
alongside Jennifer Beals, Jason Clarke and Matt Lauria. She plays Janson Clarke’s fiancee.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wisin & Yandels Unprecedented Nationwide Listening Party on mun2

Wisin & Yandels Unprecedented Nationwide Listening Party on mun2
Live on Sunday, January 23rd

Miami - mun2 has announced that it will team up with mega stars Wisin & Yandel this Sunday, January 23rd , for an exclusive, one of a kind, never been done before listening event of the duos latest album. Wisin & Yandel will be joined by 50 of their biggest fans in Miami - chosen from local Miami radio station 94.9 Mega - and millions of viewers nationwide to have an exclusive and intimate one-on-one listening session with the Puerto Rican duo as they prepare to release their eighth studio album Los Vaqueros: El Regreso which will be released on Tuesday, January 25th.

This will be the first time fans around the world will listen to the album in its entirety and they will be able to watch it on television and streamed via, brought to you only by mun2. Fans will also be able to interact with the duo on by sending in their questions and comments, which Wisin & Yandel will answer live.

"Music has always been an integral part of mun2 and Wisin & Yandel embody the eclectic music interests of our bicultural audience," said Diana Mogollon, General Manager for mun2.

In the past five years, Wisin & Yandel have accumulated an impressive record-breaking 11 Platinum Album Awards in the United States as well as 10 Platinum Album Awards and 8 Gold Album Awards across Latin America. They have also become the Latin leaders of the digital age, having surpassed 10 million digital music downloads world-wide, acquired more than 160 million "hits" on YouTube and becoming the #1 Latin Artist on MySpace and the #1 Latin Artist on Facebook (with more than five million fans).

Los Vaqueros: El Regreso is a sequel to the highly successful 2005 release Los Vaqueros. This time

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Love Jenni debuts on mun2 in March

Julio Martinez at the Television Critics Association Press Tour
Los Angeles, CA – Telemundo’s mun2, the second most watched Hispanic cable network among Persons 18-34, announced its new reality series I Love Jenni today at NBC Universal’s 2011 TCA Press Tour. Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson joined as moderator during the press conference, where she interviewed executive Producer and star of the reality series, Jenni Rivera and unveiled a sneak peek of I Love Jenni, which is slated to premiere March, 2011. The presentation was held at The Langham Hotel in Pasadena, California. Visit I LOVE JENNI for a sneak peek of I Love Jenni.

“As mun2 continues to celebrate our uniquely American stories, we couldn’t be prouder to showcase Jenni Rivera’s life,” said Flavio Morales, SVP of Programming and Production for mun2. “Thousands of people around the world have fallen in love with Jenni Rivera and we know you will too.”

“As Producer of our last show on mun2, it was gratifying to see that viewers tuned in,” said Jenni Rivera. “In season two, I Love Jenni

I Love Jenni is a uniquely American reality series that welcomes viewers to the world of the Rivera family, with Jenni Rivera as our guide. The 13-episode show will offer an inside look at the life of Jenni the superstar, the proud mother of five, the grandmother, the entrepreneur, the media-maven, and now the newlywed, having recently married MLB LA Dodger pitcher and two-time All-Star player Esteban Loaiza. turns the focus on my complicated career and family, and how we live in both worlds. Fans will get a behind the scenes look at mi vida loca, and all the different personalities in the Rivera family. This is going to be one fun ride.” 

Telemundo to Launch "La Reina del Sur" at NATPE

Kate del Castillo is La Reina de Sur

Miami – Telemundo Communications Group, will present its highly-anticipated, epic original novela, La Reina del Sur (The Queen of the South), at this year’s NATPE conference to be held at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami from January 24-26. Telemundo’s production is based on the world-wide best seller, La Reina del Sur (The Queen of the South), by award-winning author, Arturo Perez-Reverte.

"We welcome NATPE to Miami, the headquarters of Telemundo Studios. Our mission is perfectly aligned with NATPE’s theme of Content First," said Don Browne, President of Telemundo. "Seven years ago we evolved our business from a program-acquisition model to an original-productions model, strategically positioning ourselves to deliver relevant content to our audiences across a wide range of platforms, and to develop a fast-growing international business. Today, Telemundo has become a powerful global brand and we have positioned ourselves as the second largest provider of Spanish language content in the world.”

To kick-off this year’s annual conference, the network’s international division, Telemundo International, will host a star-studded industry celebration at Miami’s Vizcaya Gardens. Featured talent will include Emmy-nominated talk show host Ana Maria Polo and the star of La Reina del Sur Kate del Castillo.

La Reina Del Sur is Telemundo’s most ambitious production to date with locations shot in Spain, Mexico and Colombia. The story spans 12 years across three continents and weaves the story of the legendary character Teresa Mendoza. Teresa is forced to transform herself from a young innocent girl to a woman tough enough to survive in the ugly and dangerous world of drug trafficking. The woman who emerges surprises those who even know her legend, that of the Queen of the South.

Telemundo’s compelling content is in more than 200 time slots worldwide, airing in over 104 countries and dubbed into more than 35 languages across all continents.

New ABC series Off the Map Stars Jonathan Castellanos and Valerie Cruz

Premieres Wednesday, January 12th at 10/9 c on ABC

From executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers (Greys Anatomy, Private Practice) and creator Jenna Bans (Greys Anatomy) comes a new uplifting medical drama that explores how far one has to go in order to truly heal. And it all takes place in a tiny town in the South American jungle and as such, the way we see it, there must be plenty roles for Latino talent. We are not disappointed. In addition to series regulars Jonathan Castellanos and Valerie Cruz, there are over five other recurring roles and an opportunity for many guest starring roles, should the show become a hit.

The tiny South American town in the jungle is known as "la ciudad de las estrellas" (the city of stars). There is only one understaffed, under-stocked medical clinic around. In addition to the “imported” young idealistic doctors played by Caroline Dhavernas, Jason George, Zach Tilford, Mami Gummer, Martin Henderson and Rachelle Lefevre there is also the local doctor Zita Alvarez, played by Valerie Cruz, known simply as Zee. She is a critical part of La Clinica Cruz del Sur, having worked there for many years. Her blunt attitude and short temper sometimes makes her curt with the new, American doctors. Zee’s also the resident expert on herbal medicine and responsible for cultivating the clinic’s garden of life-saving plants.

Cruz first captured audience’s attention when she appeared in the 2003 season of Nip Tuck as Grace Santiago and she has not looked back since. She has amassed a long list of television credits including Showtime’s Dexter.

Charlie is played by Jonathan Castellanos. Charlie is thirteen going on 30, and he is the clinic’s translator who loves giving the new doctors a hard time. However, after leaving home when he was only nine, he’s as interested in learning from the doctors as he is in teaching them a lesson.

Castellanos has an impressive list of television credits but it was his three episode arc in NBC’s Southland that has gotten him noticed and TV Q’ed.

In this ensemble drama, six doctors who have lost their way will go to the ends of the earth to try to remember the reasons why they wanted to become doctors in the first place.

In additon to Castellanos and Cruz the other recurring Latino actors are Aimee Garcia, Nicholas Gonzalez, Mark Adair Rios, and Alex Fernandez. Without a Trace’s Enrique Murciano as well as Elizabeth :Pena are also slated to make appearances in the series.

Off the Map is executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, Gretchen Berg, Aaron Harberts, and created/executive-produced by Jenna Bans. The series, which is filmed entirely on location in Hawaii, is from ABC Studios and premieres Wednesday, January 12th at 10/9 c.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Melina Lizette Guest Stars on CSI: NY

In a short span of five years Melina Lizette has accumulated an impressive list of TV and film credits. This Friday, January 14, she adds an enviable credit to her resume when she co-stars in the Emmy nominated CSI: NY.

Lizette guest stars as Natalia Sanchez in the CSI: NY episode entitled Holding Cell. She plays the girlfriend of a Spanish club promoter who is found dead, and the whole Barcelona crime lab is under investigation, including Sanchez. The show airs on Friday, Jan. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Lizette's film credits include a starring role in Fast Lane, as well as Franc.Reyes’ The Ministers and the soon to be released drama Dispatch.

Lizette is repped by Cunningham Escott Slevin & Doherty.

Salma Hayek Gets Wicked for ABC

Pasadena, CA -- The Hollywood buzz today is that actress/producer Salma Hayek along with her producing partner Jose Tamez, the same production team that brought you Ugly Betty, will team up once again with ABC to bring you an 8 hour miniseries based on Gregory Maguire’s best selling novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

When asked, ABC president, Paul Lee was sure to clarify that they are only in the development stage and that only the pilot script has been greenlit.

Maguire’s book, which also served as the inspiration for the film Wizard of Oz and the Broadway musical, Wicked revolves around two very powerful witches, Glinda, the good witch and Elphaba, the wicked witch of the West. However, unlike the stage production or the Wizard of Oz, this miniseries will not feature any music or dance numbers. (The adaptation of the stage production Wicked: The Musical into a feature film is being developed by Universal Pictures..)

Erik Jendresen (Band of Brothers) is writing the TV miniseries adaptation and will also serve as one of the producers.

Shows about witches in the past have either been comedies (Bewitched, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch) or lighter fared dramas Charmed, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer) , and they have all enjoyed a great following and fairly long runs (avarage run of 8 years each).

The mini-series, which will more closely follow the book, will be a very different take from any of the other adaptations and the buzz is increasingly positive.

If the project makes it past the pilot script and all goes well, we could expect to see the 8-hour miniseies, Wicked on ABC in the fall 2011/Spring 2012 according to

Saturday, January 8, 2011

George Lopez is Back as Papi in Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2

Available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & DVD – February 1, 2011

 Burbank, CA -- Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment proudly announces the return of the greatest Chihuahuas to walk on all fours in Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2! Chloe & Papi are back in an all new, fun-filled adventure—and their family just got bigger. You will meet their rambunctious, mischievous and hilarious litter on February 1, 2011 when Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 comes out on a Blu-ray™ combo pack (include Blu-ray and DVD of the movie), 1-disc DVD.

From the creators of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, everybody’s favorite talking Chihuahuas are back in a comedy that’s a pack of outrageous fun for the whole family. Puppy mayhem turns the lives of newlywed Chihuahua parents, Papi and Chloe, upside down when their playful puppies present one challenge after another. But, when their human owners find themselves in trouble, the tiny pups will stop at nothing to save them—because in good times and hard times, the family always sticks together. Papi, Chloe and the puppies embark on a heroic adventure, proving once again that big heroes come in small packages.

George Lopez is back as the voice of Papi. Up and coming actress Odette Yustman (Kindergarden Cop, Cloverfield voices Chloe; Jon Huertas (Castle) is Alberto; and B>Miguel Ferrer is the voice of Delgado. The on-camera Latino talent include Lupe Ontiveros (As Good as it Gets, Selena) is Mrs. Cortez and Marcus Coloma is Sam Cortez/.

This heartwarming tale of the meaning of family, friendship and loyalty is a special breed of fun—times five comes with a complete a litter of bonus features in the blu-ray and DVD.

The Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 Blu-ray™ Combo Pack has a U.S. suggested retail price of $39.99 and the 1-Disc DVD set has a U.S. suggested retail price of $29.99. Additionally, the Digital Download/Electronic –Sell

John Leguizamos “Ghetto Klown” is Broadway Bound

John Leguizamo Warms Up in Chicago

John Leguizamo fans will be delighted to hear that, once again, he has begun his journey towards Broadway. Leguizamo is prepping for a 12-week engagement on Broadway by performing his latest solo show Ghetto Klown at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago from February 1-12. Then its on to Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street), opening on February 21 and running through March 22.

Ghetto Klown is the next chapter in Leguizamo’s hugely popular personal and professional story. It follows in the unabashed, uncensored, and uninhibited tradition of his Mambo Mouth, Spic-O-Rama, Freak, and Sexaholix…a Love Story. In Leguizamo’s trademark style, the piece explodes with energy, leading audiences on a fever-pitch adventure and heating up the stage with vivid accounts of where he’s been and the colorful characters who have populated his life. Leguizamo takes audiences from his adolescent memories in Queens to the early days of his acting career during the outrageous 80s avant-garde theatre scene, and on to the sets of major motion pictures and his roles opposite some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Leguizamo explains, “Ghetto Klown is all the things I say to my therapist and my manager, but would NEVER want the general public to know. It’s cheaper than a lawsuit and I get to take a bow at the end. It’s like Wikileaks but with no international manhunt. Yet.”

Lequizamo has a habit of trying out all his shows in Chicago. The run there will be under the title John Leguizamo Warms Up in Chicago "We didn't want people to think that the full set and all the production values will be present in Chicago," said producer Arnold Engelman. "This is a chance for John to warm up.  He loves Chicago. And thats why we are keeping the ticket prices to $40 and $45."

Tickets for the show in Chicago are on sale through Ticketmaster or the /ROYAL GEORGE THEATER Royal George Theatre box office. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Dirty Girls Social Media Wars

Author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez Upset at TV Adaptation of her Book

Holiday drama, titillating enough for a television series.

Right about the time Hollywood was closing down for the holidays, author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez was firing off a slew of Facebook posts and twittering about her dissatisfaction with the TV script adaptation of her award-winning book The Dirty Girls Social Club. The Dirty Girls Social Media Wars had begun.

Valdes-Rodriguez fired the first salvo December 23rd in her blog at producer Ann Lopez (George Lopez: Tall Dark and Chicano, Mr. Troop Mom), whose Encanto Productions optioned the book; Encanto development exec Lynnette Ramirez; and television writer Luisa Leschin (Everybody Hates Chris, George Lopez) for ruining her “brand”. Valdes-Rodriguez went as far as to compare Leschin to the White supremacist David Duke for her take on the Dirty Girls characters in her TV script adaptation. She claims the adaptation for the NBC series is “racist and sexist.” She made these allegations after having read a script she was given her by a “lowly no one” at her agency, CAA.

A succession of entries on Valdes Rodriguez’s blog claimed that Ann Lopez and Luisa Leschin "took a story about six college-educated, professional Latinas in Boston and turned it into a story about four Latina whores in San Francisco.” Further allegations claim Lopez had promised Valdes-Rodriguez that she would “run all major changes past me and [give her] final approval of each and every script.” Saying that in the end, “Ann failed to do any of the things she’d promised.”

Within a matter of hours the social media machine went into action, spreading Alisa’s allegations to sites like, The Boston Globes (TV Adaptation Has Novelist Steaming),,, with several Latino blogs making it their centerpiece issue.

However, with the exception of a few websites, the coverage was a little one sided with headlines like: “How Hollywood is F---ing up The Dirty Girls Social Club,” ”Author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez Alleges Racist TV Adaptation of Her Book,” “George Lopez’s ex-wife racist? She removes black characters from NBC project!” Valdes Rodriguez’s own blog headlines read “Every Latina A Slut And Other Hollywood Secrets Revealed” and “CAA quits representing Kindred (another of her books) because I spoke out against Ann Lopez” were enough to get readers to forget the merriment of the season and the “good will towards men” and for the most part join in on condemning Lopez, Ramirez and Leschin for their alleged transgressions.

Why this rush to judgment of three Latina women who have a proven track record of decades of dedication to seeing Latinos represented proudly and well on TV? It seems that in the viral world of social media, objectivity, if facts are not readily available; just seem to stand in the way of being the first to get the “news” out.

Granted with Lopez, Ramirez and Leschin wishing to stay above the fray in the midst of what they consider cyber bullying, they were not giving interviews. But where was at least a modicum of objectivity? Some bloggers just reprinted Valdes-Rodriguez’s allegations with an encouragement to fight on to the end.

In an effort to obtain some facts from the other side, we contacted Encanto to address Valdes-Rodriguez’s allegations and they were ready to comment, albeit on general terms. The production claims that Valdes-Rodriguez’ allegations about the changes are not true but that they are unable to go into detail because its NBC’s property and are not able to talk specifics.


However, Encanto did confirm that the script Valdes-Rodriguez got a hold off was a draft. The script has not yet been ordered to pilot and stated that Valdes-Rodriguez is fully aware of this fact. As to Valdes-Rodriguez’s allegation that Lopez had “promised” to give her final approval of the scripts, well that is a rarity in Hollywood. In this particular case, Encanto stated no deal was ever established and Valdes-Rodriguez willingly signed off to no creative consultation.

The names Ann Lopez, Lusia Leschin and upcoming producer Lynnette Ramirez are well known and respected in Hollywood. Lopez (MORE ON ANN LOPEZ), having worked as a casting director, producer and ultimately executive producer (Mr. Troop Mom), has consistently fought for inclusion of more Latinos in her projects. Leschin has been writing roles for Latinos since the late 80s when she began transitioning from actor to writer, writing for the comedy troupe Latins Anonymous, which she co-founded. She has worked her way from playing gang girls, hookers, maids and pregnant women, to writing the roles for television that elevate the image of Latinos (Find out more on Leschins career at LUISA LESCHIN).

Both Lopez and Leschin have worked their way up the Hollywood ranks to the point where they are able to walk into a network and pitch a show like The Dirty Girls Social Club and get picked up for a pilot script. That is a tremendous accomplishment in Hollywood and not just for Latinos but for anyone no matter what color.

Likewise, Valdes-Rodriguez’s work is impressive. She has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. In 2005, Time dubbed Valdes-Rodriguez "The Godmother of Chica Lit" 

and named her one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States. The Dirty Girls Social Club is a New York Times bestseller selling over 600,000 copies. Valdes-Rodriguez has also written six other novels.

So where did the communication fail? Why did Valdes-Rodriguez feel she had no other option but to go viral with her allegations? Why did she feel she needed to personally attack the three women who were working to bring her book to the small screen?

Some industry insiders consider what Valdes-Rodriguez has done to be professional suicide. On December 24, Christmas day, Valdes-Rodriguez was sent a cease and desist letter by NBC to refrain from posting anything more about the project. The following day Valdes-Rodriguez’s CAA book agent, Shari Smiley (who she met through an introduction by Lynnette Ramirez), had an assistant call to let her know they would no longer be representing her.

When asked on the Being Latino blog (Social Media Saga of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez) if she was worried about the Hollywood backlash, she replied: “If by ‘backlash’ you mean Hollywood never trying to make any of my books into films or TV shows again, the answer is a big, fat ‘Hell no!’ It is my dream at this point that the sociopaths and liars of mainstream Hollywood stay as far away from me as possible. I will never relinquish control of my hard-earned works to anyone again. If and when any of my material becomes a film or TV show, it will be the Tyler Perry route—by us, for us, no clueless, greedy middleman who thinks they know what they’re doing.”

One might suspect that Valdes-Rodriguez is just naïve about the business. 
However, she has had three other options for this property and should be familiar with the development process by now. The Dirty Girl Social Club was first optioned in 2003, before the book’s publication. Columbia Pictures along with Jennifer Lopez and Laura Ziskin optioned the film rights and were set to produce but the option expired without going into production. Lifetime Television network was developing the book as a television series, but the project did not go forward. Valdes-Rodriguez then partnered with Nely Galáns Cienfuegos Films company, for an independent film, with Valdes-Rodriguez, Galan and Debra Martin Chase as executive producers and Valdes-Rodriguez as creator and screenwriter, but that deal never came to pass either.

The Dirty Girls Social Club television series was on its way to possibly being a ground breaking series by being the first show produced, created, written by and starring Latinas. Ann Lopez optioned the book for a year, but will NBC, who is said to be happy with the script in its current stage, see this fracas as a liability or an asset? If anything, it has proven to them that enough people care about this book enough to follow the online drama, comment on it and e-mail NBC about it.

And just as quickly as this all began, Valdes-Rodriguez changed her tone, blogging on January 1, 2011 , “I have chosen to respect NBC’s wishes that I remove my posts about the issue for now.” She claims that her fight was never with NBC, though “I understand that legally it is the network who will for now represent the parties I have issue with.” Where she once encouraged her fans to call NBC and e-mail Lynnette Ramirez (giving out her e-mail address) she
now asks her readers to “Please refrain from bashing NBC on this issue, on my behalf, for now. We don’t know what the future holds.”

Unlike print media, social media blogs can be easily erased, but it might linger in the minds of everyone who read it, and it especially does not erase the damage it has caused the entities and persons who feel maligned.

In the end, it’s not the fact that Valdes-Rodriquez stood up for her characters and is fighting for her “brand”, that’s admirable. It’s the way she went about it that gives one pause to think.

Valdes-Rodriguez commented on why she chose social media to make her statement about her dissatisfaction with Hollywood, “Social media equalizes the playing field in a way even money cannot. If this had happened 15 years ago, I would have had to call the New York Times and pray they cared enough to write about it. Thanks to social media, the world can know what’s going on instantly.”

Social media is most certainly instant, but in most cases not as objective as say the New York Times might have been. In a matter of 10 days the Dirty Girls Social Media wars were “instantly” waged by Alisa-Rodriguez and just as “instantly” came to an end. What the collateral damage is, is yet to be seen, but one thing is sure, you will read about it in the social media outlets -- instantly.