Nine-Time Grammy® Winner Kirk Franklin Joins the American Bible Challenge On GSN

Santa Monica, CA — GSN announced today that GRAMMY winner and multi-platinum-selling musician and producer Kirk Franklin—known for his unique style of Gospel music that blends contemporary sounds, flawless harmonies and inspiring lyrics—will join THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE as musical co-host for the second season of the network’s highly rated original one-hour game show. Franklin, along with musical director Kris Pooley, will lead the show’s choir with additional new members joining to support GSN’s hit series. Season 2 of THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy and produced by Relativity REAL, will premiere on Thursday, March 21st at 8 pm ET/PT on GSN. 

“We are excited that Kirk will bring his exuberant sound to THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE,” said Amy Introcaso-Davis, Executive Vice President of Programming for GSN.  “Kirk Franklin, the consummate musician, joins host Jeff Foxworthy, the consummate comedian – a combination of incredible talent that will prove to be entertaining, fun and inspirational in this truly unique game format.” “I’m very excited to create the musical environment for THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE,” says Franklin. “The show is a fresh and fun approach to celebrating the Word of God, and being able to provide an element of praise, worship and honor is both exciting and humbling.” 

For nearly two decades, Franklin has been a multi-platinum-selling artist with a unique style of gospel music that incorporates soulful contemporary sounds—a pioneer in gap-bridging musicianship, uniting audiences across gospel, hip hop, pop, and R&B. His irresistible rhythms and rhapsodies have resulted in albums that consistently top both Billboard’s Gospel and Christian charts and ascend into the Top 10 of the R&B/Hip Hop chart. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms (Gotham/Penguin). Franklin is also the host and executive producer of the gospel talent show “Sunday Best,” the highest-rated gospel program in BET network history, now heading into its fourth season. To date, the musical trendsetter has garnered nine GRAMMY® Awards, an American Music Award, 39 Stellar Awards (gospel), 16 Dove Awards (CCM), eight NAACP Image Awards, two BET Music Awards, a Soul Train Award and numerous others.

Comedian and author Jeff Foxworthy hosts THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE, a studio-based game in which contestants compete based on their knowledge of the Bible.  Utilizing current as well as historical references, questions are drawn from the rich, dense narrative found in the world’s best-selling book.  The contestants share their compelling back-stories and each team plays for a charitable organization. 

The first season of THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE garnered the network’s highest delivery in its 18-year history with 1.7 million total viewers for its series premiere and over 13 million total viewers during its run. The success of the show has extended to digital and social platforms with the launch of The American Bible Challenge Game for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle and Facebook, which currently has over 8 million game plays, and over 500,000 users. 

THE AMERICAN BIBLE CHALLENGE is produced by RelativityREAL for GSN, with RelativityREAL’s Tom Forman (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) serving as Executive Producer on the project along with Janelle Fiorito (“Extra Virgin”).  Nick Stuart and Maura Dunbar of Odyssey Networks are Consulting Producers. Odyssey Networks is the country’s largest multi-faith coalition dedicated to producing and distributing media that creates understanding among people of different beliefs and perspectives. Jeff Foxworthy also serves as Producer. Embassy Row’s Michael Davies as well as Parallel Entertainment’s J.P.  Williams and Jennifer Novak serve as Executive Producers.

About GSN

GSN is a multimedia entertainment company that offers original and classic game programming and competitive entertainment via its 75-million subscriber television network and online game sites. GSN’s cross-platform content gives game lovers the opportunity to win cash and prizes, whether through GSN’s popular TV game shows or through GSN Digital’s free casual games, mobile and social games, and cash competitions. GSN is distributed throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Canada by all major cable operators, satellite providers and telcos.  GSN and its subsidiary, WorldWinner.com, Inc., are owned by DIRECTV and Sony Pictures Entertainment.  For further information, please visit GSNTV.com.  

About RelativityREAL

Under the leadership of award-winning producer Tom Forman (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Kid Nation,”) Relativity’s television arm launched in June 2008. The division has quickly become one of the country’s largest suppliers of unscripted television. RelativityREAL currently has 70 projects in active production, including 17 original series. In addition, the division is developing a slate of scripted sitcoms, dramas, and sketch comedy series to be released in the upcoming year. Most recently, RelativityREAL partnered with YouTube and will be launching a channel in the fall.  RelativityREAL’s executive ranks are bolstered by overall production deals with TV veterans Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh, Ashley Tisdale’s Blondie Girl Productions, executive producer Ellen Rakieten (“The Oprah Winfrey Show”) and Ray Ricord

Advertisements

First lady Michelle Obama’s Second Vogue cover sparks backlash over April 2013 image

First lady Michelle Obama is making her second Vogue cover appearance for the publication’s April 2013 issue — and also sparking another backlash. On the heels of the minor controversy caused when the first lady spoke at the 2013 Oscars via video, Mrs. Obama’s latest media foray has attracted a large number of irate commenter’s to major sites. In messages that mix the personal and the political, anonymous users are taking the occasion of the first lady speaking with Vogue in a high profile story to go on the attack.

No, they are not discussing her blue Reed Krakoff dress (while some do ding her signature bangs). Fashion, itself a contentious topic, has largely been forgotten in the stream of online chatter focusing on Michelle Obama’s fitness as a model for children, her alleged overexposure — and even her relationship with her husband. Plus, the frequent accusations of classism the first lady receives when doing something perceived by many as “too glamorous” were also in effect.

“Our own version of Eva Peron takes another step forward with Juan Barack to play the populist game whilst living high on the hog (on the people’s dime) with the Hollywood and New York glitterati,” complained one user on The Washington Post.Many of the over 500 comments on The Huffington Post about the cover are similarly critical. “Her role as a Presidents wife should be doing good for the country [sic],” wrote one user on the site. “She must want to be a model.” Others used the occasion to voice fears about pressing social issues that the first lady has no direct power to influence.

“Can media stop doing this crap? Who cares [that the] first lady is on whatever magazines,” one such person stated. “My family is worrying to dead with sequestration. We won’t be able to pay our bills and my children will be suffering with my 20% pay cut. First Lady should do something more meaningful for her country instead of wearing nice clothes and smiling on the cover of any magazine. [sic]“

It was clear that several comments on stories about the April cover were deleted, suggesting that the ranting about Mrs. Obama was so bad that a substantial number of enraged site visitors violated these online outlets’ decency policies.But, there were a fair number of people who loved seeing Michelle Obama pose for her second Vogue cover — and a strong throng defending her against ideological assailants.

“Michelle Obama is one POWERFUL woman. She can’t even pose for a magazine without heads exploding. To all haters, it’s perfectly okay if you don’t find her attractive,” said one of the first lady’s fans. For Michelle Obama, these reactions — good and bad — are likely a part of public life that she has accepted by now. She stated that it was “absolutely not surprising” when her appearance at the Academy Awards set off a right wing response of intense, critical scrutiny.

“Shoot, my bangs set off a national conversation. My shoes can set off a national conversation. That’s just sort of where we are. We’ve got a lot of talking going on,” she said about reactions to her media presence. “It’s like everybody’s kitchen-table conversation is now accessible to everybody else so there’s a national conversation about anything.” Also, Mrs. Obama’s love of luxurious clothing is not as selfish as some make it seem. Ironically, dressing well helps the first lady to better serve others. “If you’re comfortable in your clothes it’s easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well,” Michelle said.

Making people feel comfortable is something the first lady does continuously, whether she is working with the public on her Let’s Move! initiative to reduce childhood obesity, or contributing in person to the betterment of military families through her Joining Forces campaign. Yet, love her or hate her, people will have to get used to seeing Michelle Obama on magazine covers and television. Not only is she the most televised first lady of all time, Mrs. Obama is also extremely popular – more so than the president. Given both of these factors, we can expect a lot more coverage of the first lady in the years to come.

Everybody should get situated for what promises to be a bumpy ride full of passionate debates over Michelle Obama’s image

Lance Gross & Halston Sage Cast In NBC’s Rand Ravich Drama Pilot

GROSS-542x250Lance Gross (House Of Payne) and Halston Sage (How To Rock) have been cast in NBC’s drama pilot from writer-executive producer Rand Ravich. Described as an emotionally charged action thriller set in and around the world of Washington DC, the pilot follows Marcus Finley (Gross), an idealistic Secret Service agent who finds himself at the epicenter of an international crisis on his first day on the job as the President’s son’s protection when the son, along with several of his schoolmates, are kidnapped. Sage, repped by CAA and Roar, will play Amber, the daughter of Meg (Gillian Anderson), who is among the abducted. Rachael Taylor also co-stars. Gross is with WME and the Schiff Co.

‘Bloody Sunday’ bridge recognized as new national historic landmark

obamabridgeDemocratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (R) marches with a crowd across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 1965 Bloody Sunday Voting Rights March on March 4, 2007 in Selma, Alabama. During the 1965 march, which was to go from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, police used tear gas and beat back the marchers when they reached the Pettus Bridge.

The legendary Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, where the seminal ‘Bloody Sunday’ civil rights march took place this month in 1965, has been named a historical landmark by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, according to an Interior Department statement released today.

The location is one of 13 new sites to receive federal recognition, including the home of Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harrier Beecher Stowe and Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson N.J., which once served as a home-field to Negro League baseball teams.

The special designation of the Edmund Pettis Bridge, however, is especially significant since there is an ongoing debate within the Supreme Court and by extension the U.S. Congress about whether or not to uphold key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, legislation that was an indirect result of the protesters’ efforts on the bridge back in 1965.

Vice President Joe Biden recently participated in a recreation of that civil-rights-era march and he was accompanied by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was also present during the 1965 sojourn.

“We will never give up or give in,” Lewis told marchers this month.

Lewis, alongside his fellow activists, were infamously beaten by state troopers who violently disrupted their peaceful demonstration.

“President Johnson signed that act, but it was written by the people of Selma,” Lewis once said.

“These national historic landmark designations span more than two centuries of our country’s history, from 17th century architecture to a Civil War battlefield to a 19th century-Kentucky whiskey distillery that continued to operate through the Prohibition era,” Secretary Salazar said. “Today’s designations include significant sites that help tell the story of America and the contributions that all people from all walks of life have made as we strive for a more perfect union.”

“From the Civil War to civil rights, to the struggles and accomplishments of women, African-Americans and Latinos, these sites highlight the mosaic of our nation’s historic past,” said Director Jarvis. “We are proud to administer the National Historic Landmarks Program to educate and inspire Americans through their country’s rich and complex history.”

Third Annual Faith Based Prayer Breakfast Set for Friday, March 15, 2013

harveyBET is set to host its third Annual Faith based Prayer Breakfast, this Friday, March 15, as a kick off to this year’s “Celebration of Gospel.”  The special annual breakfast was created to unite various religions, cultures, and denominations together the day before the taping of the show.

This year’s invited guests include Dorinda Clark Cole, RCA Gospel recording artist Deon Kipping, comedian Nikita B. Columbia, Devon Franklin and many others.

The evening will be hosted by entertainment personality Fonzworth Bentley.

On Saturday March 16, 2013 taping gets underway for “Celebration of Gospel” and will be hosted by Steve Harvey. The “Celebration of Gospel” is set to air Sunday, April 7, at 8:00 p.m Pacific 7:00 p.m Central ! 

Celebrating Women’s History Month with Sheryl Lee Ralph

Sheryl

This month is Women’s History Month. and in honor of it, Davis Broadcasting Inc out of Columbus Georgia, hosts an annual Women’s Empowerment Luncheon. There have been many great speakers in the past including  Tina Knowles, Jasmine Guy, Kim Fields and many more ! The 11th Annual Women’s Empowerment Luncheon will take place March 15, 2013 at the Columbus GA Convention and Trade Center.

Mrs. Sheryl Lee Ralph will be keynote speaker at luncheon to share her words on Living a Legacy: Living to Inspire Others.

George Zimmerman won’t seek ‘Stand Your Ground’ hearing in April

George Zimmerman won’t seek criminal immunity next month under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin and instead will likely let a jury decide his fate. Meanwhile, his defense team has revealed the ordeal has led Zimmerman to pack on more than 100 pounds.

In court on Tuesday, defense attorney Mark O’Mara waived his right to use court time set aside for an immunity hearing, NBC station WESH reported. In that hearing a judge could have quickly cleared Zimmerman of any criminal liability under Florida law that allows lethal force for personal protection. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer of white and Hispanic descent, has maintained he shot Martin on Feb. 26, 2012 in self-defense after Martin attacked him. He has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge.

O’Mara said outside Seminole County Courthouse on Tuesday that Zimmerman believes it would be a better outcome to be found not guilty of murdering Martin, rather than being granted immunity, WESH reported. “George wants a jury of his peers to decide the case,” O’Mara said. “It’s going to be, I think, a more accepted result for everyone who has to result that he gets an acquittal at trial even more so than immunity hearing by a judge.”

Zimmerman has not been seen in public since he was released on bail last July. “George is doing as well as can be expected,” Sean Vincent, spokesman for Zimmerman’s defense team, told NBC News. “He is in hiding and has gained 105 pounds,” putting him in the “ballpark” of 300 pounds. “Everyone deals with stress differently,” Vincent said