Posts tagged with "tv show"

Michelin chef article illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

“Top Chef” Season 18

Bravo’s “Top Chef”, produced by Magical Elves, calls Portland, Oregon home for season 18, kicking off with two weeks of supersized premieres starting on Thursday, April 1 from 8:00 – 9:15 pm ET/PT.  This season, a new batch of 15 extremely talented Executive Chefs and restaurant owners, representing a cross-section of kitchens and food around the country, vie for the coveted title bringing their unique skillsets, diversity of cuisines and gamut of flavors.  With Portland as a picturesque backdrop and culinary inspiration, the chefs compete in a variety of challenges including celebrating PDX’s Pan-African cuisine to feeding hundreds of frontline workers and crabbing on the Oregon Coast in a tribute to the culinary icon and Oregonian James Beard.  For a sneak peek, visit Bravo’s website.

The Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series returns with host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.  For the first time ever, a collection of “Top Chef” all-star winners, finalists and favorites are joining an elite rotating judging and dining panel including Richard Blais, Carrie Baird, Nina Compton, Tiffany Derry, Gregory Gourdet, Melissa King, Kristen Kish, Edward Lee, Kwame Onwuachi, Amar Santana, Dale Talde and Brooke Williamson.   This season also includes appearances by José Andrés, Massimo Bottura, Gabriel Rucker and Alice Waters, as well as “Portlandia” stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein who stop by “Top Chef” Kitchen for a Quickfire Challenge.

Beginning Thursday, April 8, Bravo’s Emmy-Winning digital companion series “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen,” hosted by Tom Colicchio, returns for season ten as the eliminated chefs go head-to-head to try to cook their way back into the competition. Presented byBMW of North America,each week’s episode will be availableon Bravotv.com, On Demand or wherever you stream Bravo’s “Top Chef” at the conclusion of each week’s episode.

Meet the New Cheftestants:

*For more information on the cheftestants, please visit  Bravo’s website.

During a time of extreme hardship in the restaurant industry, these chefs have more on the line than ever before.  From working with foraged mushrooms and picking produce at the famous Hood River Fruit Loop to visiting the Tillamook Creamery, the chefs are tasked with cooking with Oregon’s natural bounty of ingredients.  With Padma, Tom and Gail and a table full of alums to impress, the expectations have never been higher, especially in this year’s unique Restaurant Wars where the teams must perfectly execute on a micro-restaurant concept with a cohesive seven-course tasting menu that rivals the best in the world. To stay in the game, the chefs must cook at their best while contending with a Quickfire using ingredients used on the Oregon Trail and a surf and turf elimination challenge honoring the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. While in the “City of Roses,” the judges definitely don’t hold back their thorns as they narrow it down to find this season’s “Top Chef.”

The winning chef will earn the coveted title of “Top Chef,” $250,000 furnished by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, a feature in FOOD & WINE magazine and an appearance at the annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen.

Last season, “Top Chef” ranked as 2020’s #1 food show across all of cable, averaging nearly 1 million P18-49 and 1.1 million P25-54.  Additionally, the season was up 42% on Video On Demand/Streaming, all told, it was viewed over 10 million times.  (Food Show: Nielsen, L7, P18-49/P25-54, FY 2020, including food programs across cable, excluding repeats. VOD/Streaming: Rentrak and Adobe Analytics, S17 vs. S16, includes STB, TVE (on+off), dMVPD, and OVD.)

“Top Chef” is produced by the Emmy Award-winning production company Magical Elves with Casey Kriley, Jo Sharon, Doneen Arquines and Hillary Olsen serving as executive producers.

About Magical Elves 

Magical Elves is a leading producer of award-winning, non-fiction content for domestic and international television markets. Known for hits like “Top Chef” (Bravo), “Nailed It!” (Netflix), “Sugar Rush” (Netflix), “Cold Justice” (Oxygen) and “Brain Games” reboot (Nat Geo), Magical Elves is a veteran production company with a long track record of consistently delivering the highest quality programming. Magical Elves is a part of The Tinopolis Group’s portfolio of production companies. For more information, visit www.magicalelves.com.

About Bravo Media

Bravo is the premier lifestyle and entertainment brand that drives cultural conversation around its high-quality, interactive original content across all platforms. The network features a diverse slate of original programming, including Emmy Award-winning “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” fan-favorites “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck,” “Southern Charm,” and the highly popular “Million Dollar Listing” and “The Real Housewives” franchises. Bravo also boasts the only live late-night talk show on television with the critically acclaimed “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” which has become a nightly destination for A-list celebrities. Bravo is part of the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming portfolio, which includes NBCU’s broadcast, cable and streaming platforms: NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids, USA Network and Peacock. For more information, visit BravoTV.com.

QxA Davis Mallory

By Vaughn Lowery and Hannah DiPilato

Davis Mallory from MTV’s The Real World, discusses his struggle with alcoholism as well as how far he has come in his career. 

360 Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with Davis Mallory, a contestant from The Real World on MTV. He is now pursuing a music career while educating others about alcoholism. As an openly gay Christian, he hoped to share his story with others as a television personality as well as a musician. 

What was it like being on MTV’s The Real World Season 18? Any regrets? Do you still stay in contact with other cast members?

I was a senior in college, 21-years-old, when I auditioned for and was cast on MTV’s 18th season of the Real World, located in Denver Colorado. I was a fan of the show and had just come out of the closet to my classmates that summer. I felt that I had an interesting story to tell – being a Christian and openly gay was not something I had not seen on TV before – and I wanted to prove you could be both, while also showcasing a more masculine image of homosexuality than was often shown on TV.

Immediately after the show ended I flew around to colleges in the USA discussing and often debating Biblical professors in front of a student body; dissecting Bible verses and their interpretations on homosexuality. My grandfather James Davis Mallory JR (whom I’m named after) is a Christian author and psychiatrist – and so I was raised very orthodox – Southern Baptist. I found this time to be very rewarding and something I’m proud of – to date I still receive messages from viewers of the show expressing their gratitude for my story on The Real World.

I of course have regrets during my time on the show – I think most people who have done that show in their 20s will tell you they regret things they did or said. We were all heavily fed alcohol which created chaos, confusion, fights and hookups. I’m still close with several cast members, two of them live in Nashville so I see them most often. Tori Hall, who was on Road Rules and married Brad Fiorenza (I attended their wedding) and Brooke Labarbera, who was on my season of the Real World are two people I remain close with and I spent much of this summer 2020 with both of them!

What led up to you having an issue with drugs and alcohol? How’s life after sobriety? Are there any triggers that make it difficult to remain sober?

When I was younger (before trying alcohol) my mother told me to NEVER drink, instead of teaching me how to drink. This was because my parent’s divorce was caused in part by my father’s alcoholism. When I went off to college, I got drunk for the first time and I quickly progressed into blacking out when I drank. I would sometimes wake up the next morning and hearing stories from my friends about stupid things I said or did the night before. I tried to get that under control by lowering the amount of alcohol I drank and by not drinking hard alcohol.

I went through many chapters of my life taking breaks from drinking and reducing my alcohol intake. My father has now been completely sober for over a decade and his example is a big inspiration in my own decision to completely quit drinking. I’ve now been sober for 4 years. After reaching my 1-year mark of sobriety I had a big regret – that I hadn’t quit earlier. I felt so much better – I looked so much better and I just wished I had fully quit earlier in my life.

Thankfully, perhaps due to God or just growing up, I have ZERO temptation to drink anymore. I’m constantly reminded why I quit when I see other people’s struggles with alcohol. I have seen people wheeled off in an ambulance with alcohol poisoning, I’ve had close friends die from alcohol poisoning, a friend’s mother recently did; another close friend died from an overdose of drugs mixed with fentanyl recently. These everyday reminders keep me sober.

I really wish our society didn’t glorify drinking in movies/commercials/music, because the downfall from alcohol is not being taught to children: accidentally death, liver disease, the fighting it causes, relationships ruined, horrible, absent or addicted parents, job losses, physical damage it does to our bodies and faces are never shown in these alcohol commercials.

What was it like growing up with an uncle who had access to major recording artists like Wynonna Judd? Did that experience help shape you into the artist you are today? If so, how?

My uncle Chaz managed pop artist Amy Grant for many years and still manages Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith. My uncle John Mallory wrote songs for artists Wynonna Judd, Sixpence None the Richer, Ty Herndon and more. I  grew up in the music industry, attending a lot of these artist’s concerts and meeting them – I spent summers on Amy Grant’s farm in Nashville – I was a huge fan of her and Michael W. Smith.

As a kid I dreamt of being a singer and wanted to have careers like theirs – my positive message songs “Faith,” “Not That Far Away” “Lost” and “Somebody’s Watching” are examples of songs influenced by Amy & Michael’s music. I did not expect to become a songwriter. How songs were written was a mystery as a kid – I knew singers sang them but didn’t know how they were created. When I started out on this journey to becoming a recording artist I had to watch and learn from others in numerous songwriting sessions until I really got the hang of doing it myself.

During your first year in Nashville, one of your former cast members (Diem Brown) passed away from cancer. How did their loss impact your life at the time?

Diem Brown passed away in 2014 – I moved to Nashville at the end end of 2013 – so I had just started my journey into songwriting. My first original released song is titled “Beautiful Girl’s (Diem’s Song)”, a song I wrote about Diem with award-winning songwriters Ben Goldsmith and Tori Tullier. The song debuted in People Magazine, where Diem was a news reporter and received press in E! News, US Weekly and more outlets.

Diem and I grew up in nearby parts of Georgia (I’m from Marietta, she’s from Roswell – just 15 min away) although we did not meet until we did the show. Diem was a sorority sister with my mother’s best friend’s daughter, Carly Hartwick, who first introduced us over email prior to our meeting in person for the first time when Diem and I did an MTV Challenge together: The Duel II in New Zealand.

Diem and I gave a school speech together where she shared wisdom on pursuing one’s career goals by interviewing those with the same job, Diem becoming a News Anchor where she met her idol Katie Couric to ask questions on how to get to Katie’s place in life. Diem’s speech really inspired me as I chased after my own career dreams in music, so when she lost her battle to cancer I was deeply saddened and wrote the song to memorialize her through music. Her sisters’ often use the song on the anniversary of her death, which I’m always touched to see.

You grew up in Atlanta but now reside in Nashville. Do you prefer one city over the other? If so why?

I was born in Atlanta and raised in a suburb of Atlanta called Marietta. After attending college in Florida at Stetson University, I returned to Atlanta for 2 years before moving to NYC. I have not lived in Atlanta since 2009; however, I return every year to see my family who still live there. It’s changed a lot, the movie industry was not there when I left, and in my song titled “Atlanta,” the first song on my upcoming album Little Victory, I talk about my journey from Atlanta to New York and now Nashville with a longing for my hometown and noticing how much the city has changed.

I moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music, hearing it was a land full of songwriters. The things I really like about Nashville are the people and culture here. There are really great moralistic people here and I am thankful for that as it’s a safe great place to live. Nashville is like going to college in the music industry – people in all stages of their careers are here and many are willing to collaborate. I would not be where I am today if not for Nashville.

What are some of your musical inspirations? Can you name a few people that have inspired you or who continue to inspire you?

Aside from mainstream pop artists like Britney Spears, George Michael, NSYNC, Michael Jackson, Robyn, Prince, Mariah Carey, the real-life connections that have influenced my career include Parson James (vocalist on Kygo’s “Stole the Show”) who is one of the first people I wrote music with. We met in NYC in 2013, I followed him to Los Angeles to write with him and moved to Nashville prompted by advice from his then-manager who thought I sounded like a Country artist.

Roger Murrah (BMI Songwriter of the Decade and writer of several Country music #1s) is one of the first people I met when I moved to Nashville. At the time I was still learning how to write songs, so I watched him work in several sessions and I began to understand how to write the way he did.

Scot Sax (Grammy-winning songwriter for Tim McGraw/Faith Hill’s “Like We Never Loved At All”) is another person who was very influential on my songwriting journey – he taught me how the B52s recorded “Love Shack” in a go-as-you-flow style recording their ideas on the spot to build the song.

Aside from these few names, I have been in over 300 songwriting sessions, and I’ve traveled writing music in Europe (Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Malmo, London, Amsterdam), New York and Los Angeles. Everyone along the way has taught me something, a new trick or technique to writing music or producing music and I’m thankful for everyone who has worked with me.

As a songwriter, how do you come up with themes? Is your music based on an isolated experience or a chapter of your life?

I keep an ongoing note on my phone called Songwriting Ideas so that whenever I get an idea for a song I write it down there. I then bring these ideas into songwriting sessions to get something started. Sometimes I get a melody (occasionally during a dream) and record these on my phone, using it as another tool to get songs started.

In 2018 music publicist, Lyndie Wenner asked me what my most popular social media posts were – to which I replied: shirtless photos of myself. So she told me I needed to write a song called “Shirtless” and I did, releasing that song in 2019. This conversation with Lyndie changed the way I wrote songs. Before I was writing broader subjects, and after I began to write more about the things I saw my audience interested in. I still observe that the things I write about center around one of 4 themes: 1. God and my faith; 2. Love lost of found; 3. Partying and dancing, of 4. Overcoming addictions.

Another influential person in my songwriting career is PollyAnna (Dutch pop/EDM vocalist, songwriter of Paris Hilton’s new song “I Blame You”). I spent a summer writing with her in Nashville, Los Angeles and Berlin and  I observed her taking random phrases we said in conversations and writing them down for future songwriting materials. I now do the same, whenever something unusual is said in a conversation. PollyAnna and I wrote a song together in Berlin called “Without You, I Feel Good”, which has now been signed to Soave Records, produced by a DJ named Nexeri, and coming out on February 26, 2021.

What words of wisdom would you offer an emerging artist who is trying to break into the business?

The words “If you build it they will come” from the great baseball movie Field of Dreams, is a motto that holds a strong place in my mind regarding my strategy to release music and gradually having people discover your work. I have a business model of writing songs and selling them to DJ/producers and I think this is a great move for up-and-coming singers to build a name for themselves.

My first job after college (post-Real World) was a sales job that required reaching out to 100 potential customers every day with the expectation that between 1-10 would buy something – I now use this strategy in my music career in so many facets and find the same results.

Is there anything you would like to speak about that we didn’t already touch on? What can your fans look forward to?

2020 was set to have me perform in Germany, Boston, Chicago, Palm Springs, North Carolina but the shows were of course canceled due to the pandemic. I look forward to getting back to touring though and to meet more people who have been asking when I will be in their city. I have been spending the last year working on new music with DJs, finally releasing the sophomore album that I have been alluding to and even developing an idea for a third project of which some of the songs are ready 🙂

Little Victory is an upcoming single/video that you’re pushing. It’s an extremely inspirational piece of work about someone feeling like a fish out of water. What prompted such a piece?

I wrote “Little Victory” after returning from Israel where I had met and was at the time long-distance dating Israeli singer-songwriter Elhay Cohen, the song idea came from my co-writer: female Canadian producer and songwriter Robyn Dell’Unto. December 2020 French DJ RetroVision released a version of this song on Don Diablo’s record label Hexagon and the original version is going on my forthcoming album of the same name.

Retrovision, Davis Mallory – Little Victory 

Little Victory Music Video 

Little Victory single 

Pre-Save for the album Little Victory

Here is a private SoundCloud tracklisting for the “Little Victory” album:

  1. Atlanta –a song I wrote about my hometown, my journey to NYC and Nashville to pursue music – with nostalgia for Atlanta – the city where I had my first heartbreak and how much the city has changed since I left (it’s now a film industry).
  2. Ain’t Afraid – features a big name in the EDM industry Luma (Seven Lions, Nurko, Zack Martino) – who I co-wrote the song with – it’s about not being afraid to fall in love
  3. Little Victory– co-written with and produced by female Canadian artist Robyn Dell’Unto – a remix of this song made by French artist RetroVision released on Don Diablo’s label Hexagon. “Little Victory” is about a summer romance with my Israeli ex who I met after I opened for Eurovision winner Netta who told me I had to visit Israel.
  4. Fire Signs – features Miss Audrey the Katy Perry-inspired Best Pop Artist at the Nashville Industry Music Awards, I wrote this song in Sweden about zodiac chemistry compatibility – I’m a Leo and Miss Audrey an Aries, we’re both Fire Signs.
  5. Shirtless– this is a new Countrified mix of the song that aired on MTV’s War of the Worlds and became the theme song for men’s swimwear line: Poolboy
  6. Heavy – features an all LGBTQ identifying cast – with vocalist Blake Leider and rapper Daisha McBride – discusses why relationships have to be so heavy, produced by Danish Aren Anderson and Ukrainian Depdramez.
  7. Can You Tell Me?– produced by Canadian artist BLEM and written in Berlin with Vincent Stefansson and Valentin Glage – “Can You Tell Me?” is about being ghosted. Where does all the love go in this modern era when two people separate and the romance suddenly dies.
  8. Say You Hate Me– written in Sweden the same week as “Fire Signs” “Shirtless” and previously released single “Jane Fonda” – “Say You Hate Me” is a very Britney Spears/NSYNC-style Swedish pop song co-written with and produced by Magnus Funemyr about a relationship that has grown stale.
  9. Sink or Swim – with references to Madonna, Beyonce’s “hot sauce,” and Whitney Houston’s “receipts” – “Sink or Swim” is about a cheating partner and the end of a relationship, produced by Option A. Music video coming by Russian filmmaker Dmitry Zhitov.
  10. Forget You– co-written with Nashville female EDM vocalists Notelle & Luma, produced by artist Swiss DJ FENOX – “Forget You” is about the end of a relationship and having a hard time letting go of the memories.
  11. Broken Dreams– this unreleased version by Ukrainian producer Depdramez – was co-written with pop artist Drew Schueler – tells the story of all the hard work artists put into chasing their dreams of stardom.
  12. Faith – written in 2020 at the start of this pandemic with American Idol contestant Madeline Finn, “Faith” is an uplifting anthem giving hope for all to not lose their faith in these trying times, produced by Austrian producer Jakob Koller.

The music video for Can You Tell Me?” is scheduled to release on 2/19/2021

Serpant Image

The Serpent Soundtrack

Dubois Records releases a soundtrack album for the BBC and Netflix limited series The Serpent.

The album features selections of the show’s original music composed by Dominik Scherrer who has worked on The Missing, Primeval, Ripper Street, The Widow, and Requiem.

The Serpent is developed by Tom Shankland & Richard Warlow and stars Tahar Ramin, Jenna Coleman, Billy Howle, Mathilde Warnier, Ellie Bamber, Alice Englert, Gregoire Isvarine, Sahajak Boonthanakit and Fabien Frankel. The 8-part drama tells the true story of Charles Sobhraj, a murderer, thief and seductive master of disguise, who was the the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travelers on Asia’s hippie trail in the mid-70s.

The Mammoth Screen production currently airs in the UK every Sunday night on BBC One and will premiere worldwide on Netflix later this year.

“This is a real story: a very fascinating one, but also an extremely disturbing and frightening one. The victims were real, and some of the characters are still alive. The material needed to be treated with respect and sensationalism avoided,” said composer Dominik Scherrer on his inspiration for scoring the serial killer drama.

Lead director Tom Shankland and I already discussed this project five years ago. It had been in preparation for a long time. In terms of the music, Tom wanted the story to be told through a haze of psychedelic 1970s upheaval: drugs, ruthless politics, the old world order changed,” continued Scherrer.

For a story set in the 70s, it would have been all too easy to resort to cliches such as funky Wah-wah guitars. We wanted the music to live in this tumultuous, cultural restlessness, and to create an environment, where Sobhraj’s brutality could breed, and go undetected for so long.

Charles Sobhraj was an admirer of Nietzsche, dominating and subjugating his victims, as if he saw himself perhaps as the superior ‘Ubermensch’. I was keen to infuse the musical strands with a kind of Zarathustran drive to banish otherworldly values. The young hippies were in search of these otherworldly values, they wanted to explore the teachings of Eastern spirituality, and Sobhraj put a brutal end to their journeys.

In the 1970s, composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass started to draw influence from Asian music. Their study of southeast Asian music, such as gamelan, on its subsequent influence on Western minimalism was an inspiration for the score of The Serpent. Their music felt forward-thinking, which was important as we wanted to avoid the notion of ‘retro’ throughout the score. ‘Retro’ would have resulted in cosy nostalgia, the opposite of what we wanted.

“Score recording took part in London  and Bangkok, where most of the filming took place as well. At Karma Sound Studios, some of the country’s finest singers and instrumentalists played gongs, ranat ek (Thai marimba), phin (Thai mandolin), khaen (Thai harmonica), together with a Western line-up, and myself on piano in the same room. Other solos were simply recorded in Bangkok hotel rooms. The idea was not to pursue ethnic authenticity, but to evoke the aforementioned cultural tumult clashing with the kind of eastern spirituality as explored by George Harrison and John Lennon.”

“Another influence were the new developments in advanced synthesis, which in the mid 1970s was seen a major new avenue in music creation and performance. In the early 70s, a huge, room-filling modular synthesiser called “Tonto” was built and musicians created extraordinary sounds with what is still now the largest polyphonic analogue synth ever built. It was subsequently used by Steve Wonder and Michael Jackson. It still exists, and our synth programmer Stephan Baer, who happened to use the same technician who also serviced ‘Tonto’, managed to recreate patches of that synth, which contribute to the sound of “The Serpent” with unexpected and brutal elements.”

Sight & Sound said, “Dominik Scherrer’s marvellous score, a riot of analogue synths and percussion drawing on exploitation movie soundtracks of yore to intoxicating effect, and adding just a hint of illicit viewing pleasure to spice up the schedules.”

About Dominik Scherrer:

Dominik Scherrer has created award-winning music for some of the finest film and television dramas in recent years. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the critically-acclaimed series The Missing, and recently won his second Ivor Novello Award for his score on Netflix’s Requiem, which he co-composed with Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes.

Dominik first won the prestigious British Ivor Novello Award and received a Royal Television Society (RTS) nomination for his riveting score on Ripper Street. He earned two additional Ivor Novello nominations for Amazon’s The Collection and the British crime series Agatha Christie’s Marple.

Dominik recently reunited with the Williams brothers to score Amazon’s thriller series The Widow, starring Kate Beckinsale. He also scored the landmark dramas An Inspector Calls and Monroe.

Equally accomplished in film scoring, Dominik’s credits include The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz for which Dominik won the Best Music Award at Spain’s Estapona Film Festival; Alice Through The Looking Glass starring Kate Beckinsale; Alina Marazzi’s Tutto Parla Di Te (All About You); and Scenes of a Sexual Naturestarring Ewan McGregor and Hugh Bonneville. He scored Appetitestarring Ute Lemper, and wrote the film’s title song which reached No. 2 on the UK classical charts.

Dominik also created, directed and composed the kinetic operaHell for Leather, which premiered at Sundance and won 10 awards on the festival circuit.

In addition to scoring film and TV, he produces sound design and composes for fine art installations – most notably for artist Suki Chan – and creates performance music for theatre.

Dominik is a British-Swiss composer and works from his studio in London.

Tracklist

1. He likes to Escape (1:50)
2. State of Flux (2:46)
3. Herman in the Rain (1:14)
4. Drive to Kanit House (1:08)
5. Discotheque Darkness (0:29)
6. Teresa Knowlton (3:47)
7. Afghanistan Driving (2:24)
8. Embassy Phone Calls (1:04)
9. Malevolent Beach Game (0:54)
10. Searching Apartment 504 (1:47)
11. Homocidal Übermensch (1:31)
12. Colonel Somphol of Interpol (1:59)
13. Dominique’s Passport (2:51)
14. Gem Dealers (2:42)
15. Front Page News (1:50)
16. Copy Shop (1:08)
17. Cashing Cheques (1:08)
18. Tihar Jail, Delhi (3:02)
19. Epic Journey (2:11)

Top TV Social Conversation for 2020

In a year of superlatives – unprecedented, unbelievable, unexpected, one thing that could be counted on was how much more screen time we’d all be adding to our day. Lockdowns and quarantines meant that, film and television viewing saw quite a boost; by the second half of 2020, TV streaming had increased 25%.

Talkwalker Social Content Ratings measured the social conversation around this increase to understand what people were saying about their favorite shows, actors and networks this year according to online engagement numbers through its Top Social TV report.

While 2020 was a year of many challenges, the results from this report will not disappoint TV fans. Top programs saw millions of engagements, with many new series getting just as much buzz as returning hits. From “The Last Dance” to “Dancing With The Stars,” the results show that TV and film provided a welcome respite to audiences (and a nice way to escape the 24-hour news cycle) during a pretty heavy year.

The analysis shows not only which programs people were talking about most in social media, but what they were saying, too. Combined with social listening data, we can see how cultural moments, emotional drivers, and product tie-ins impacted conversations around top series, films, and talent in 2020, according to Talkwalker Social Content Ratings.

“Talkwalker Social Content Ratings’ Top of 2020 lists showcase programming that captures consumer attention and buzz generated across social platforms,” says Sean Casey, Head of Media, Talkwalker. “As consumer behavior evolves and television expands, SCR is able to keep pace with the growing volume of programming, network promotional strategies and dynamic consumer conversation to provide comprehensive social ratings across the television marketplace.”

The full report is available here.  Some highlights include:

Top Primetime & Late Fringe Series

1. The Last Dance                    4.1 million interactions /episode

2. WWE Monday Night Raw   2.15 million

3. American Idol                     1.92 million

Top New Series

1. The Last Dance                    4.1 million interactions/episode

2. The Undoing                       210.3 thousand

3. Celebrity Game Face           203.2 thousand

Top Scripted Series

1. Grey’s Anatomy                  1.12 million interactions/episode

2. Riverdale                             885.6 thousand

3. This is Us                             602.7 thousand

Top Premium Cable Series

1. Insecure (HBO)                                410.4 thousand interactions/episode

2. The Undoing (HBO)                         210.3 thousand

3. Lovecraft Country (HBO)                162.1 thousand

Top Ad-Supported Cable Series

1. The Last Dance                                4.1 million interactions/episode

2. WWE Monday Night Raw               2.15 million

3. WWE NXT                                       790.7 thousand

Top Spanish-Language Prime & Late Fringe Series

1. Tu cara me suena                            172.1 thousand interactions/episode

2. La Voz                                              135.4 thousand

3. Quien es la mascara?                      35.9 thousand

Top Prime Series Talent Overall

1. Katy Perry (American Idol)                          16.3 million owned engagements

2. Sean Hannity (Fox News)                            13.9 million

3. Terry Crews (America’s Got Talent)           7.44 million

Top Spanish-Language Prime Series Talent

1. Ana Brenda Contreras (Tu cara me suena)             573.4 thousand owned engagements

2. Luis Fonsi (La Voz)                                                   536.5 thousand

3. WISIN (La Voz)                                                        472.6 thousand

Top TV Specials

1. 2020 MTV Video Music Awards                              40 million engagements

2. 2020 American Music Awards (ABC)                      33.4 million

3. The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards (CBC)                24.9 million

Top Sports Events

1. Super Bowl (FOX)                           43.9 million interactions

2. NBA Finals (ABC) Oct. 11                27.5 million

3. NBA Basketball (ESPN) Jan. 31       21.9 million

*Total Interactions = Original social media posts across Facebook, Instagram Business/Creator  Accounts, and Twitter related to a linear TV episode and the engagement with that content.

**Owned Engagements = Social media activity generated off of the original posts sent by accounts owned or affiliated with TV programming. Owned engagement for Facebook includes comments, shares, and likes. Owned engagement for Instagram includes comments and likes. Owned engagement for Twitter includes retweets, quotes, replies, and likes.

About Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a social listening and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication effohttp://bit.ly/2KnRvjbrts. We provide companies with an easy-to-use platform to protect, measure, and promote their brands worldwide, across all communication channels.

Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages. Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.

Griffin Matthews Photography By Carson Davis Brown

Q×A With Griffin Matthews

By Justin Lyons

360 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with actor, Griffin Matthews, to discuss his successful career. Matthews has been able to work on shows such as Dear White People, Ballers and The Flight Attendantas well as co-writing a successful musical. We were able to discuss his future career plans as well as his activism in the community.

Among acting, writing, directing and other creative positions, which one do you like the best, and which one allows you to best express your own creativity?

I love acting. I love writing. But I ultimately think I’m a director through and through. The responsibility of guiding the entire vision is so exciting to me. It’s such an honor when I get to direct because every story is a little baby that needs to be nurtured properly and guided along her way. And guess what? I’m such a dad. 

How has working with streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max changed the way you address your audience?

When you work on Netflix or HBO you get to really find your unedited voice. You get to be risky, controversial, imperfect, fabulous, complicated, political…I’ve been so lucky to get to work on Dear White People, Ballers and The Flight Attendant because I always felt like I could fire from all cylinders on day one. I did not need to ask for permission. I got to bring my entire self to each role. I got to curse. And kiss boys. And wear g-strings. And travel the world.

How do you use your experience acting in productions like The Flight Attendant to inform and influence your ideas on the stage?

I will always go back to the theater. I’m a theater kid. It’s where I honed my talent. So every experience that I have, I think about how I will translate that to the stage. I was lucky enough to travel the world and meet incredible people and see exotic places while we were shooting The Flight Attendant. I spent afternoons alone rummaging through the Bangkok market and got lost in the streets of Rome. I made friends with strangers and made peace with being a grown man and also homesick. As a writer, I’m a sponge. I soak up life and then look for an opportunity to let the water run out all over the stage.

How do you approach the assembly of a theatre show differently from how you approach the direction of a concert?

I approach concerts the exact same way that I approach theater. When I directed Shoshana Bean and Cynthia Erivo’s holiday concert at The Apollo, we had endless conversations about story and themes and vulnerability. All of those things make for an exciting night in the theater! I think a lot of concert directors only think about pyrotechnics, but I like to think about the heart of the performers. The message. The mission. And let all of those things spill out…and of course, we add some pyrotechnics, too!

How does your activism influence the projects you choose to be involved in or choose to create yourself?

Activism is such a sexy word these days. It seems like everyone claims to be. For me, my personal pledge is to be an activist when everyone’s looking, but more importantly when no one’s looking. That pledge always checks my motives and my ego as I navigate projects and stories that I want to be a part of it. Every time I sign on to a project, I bring my whole self, my whole truth, the parts that are great and the parts that are ugly. That’s what I’ve learned running a nonprofit for over 15 years. So much of the work is tough. It’s messy. But it’s real.

What are you most excited about with your career in the near future?

I’m currently developing a musical series with Ester Dean that will center black queer voices. It’s really exciting because I’m a fan of Ester and her work (Pitch Perfect, songwriter of Katy Perry’s “Firework” and Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”). She’s broken many ceilings in this industry as a songwriter, actor, musician, and host. We both want to create a show where young people (who look like Ester and I) will see their truths accurately and joyfully reflected on screen. I’m also directing a film called The Amish Project by a playwright named Jessica Dickey. When I tell people that I’m working on it, it can raise eyebrows because people don’t often hear about black directors working on pieces that don’t center black narratives. But here’s the thing: black directors want to direct EVERYTHING. And we can. And we will. And I’m excited to finally get my shot!

What is a creative role you haven’t taken up that you’d like to at some point in your career?

I really want to direct for TV. For some reason, the thought scares the hell out of me! There’s so much to manage: logistics, people, locations, safety, technology, performances, but I’m fascinated by it. It’s time for me to tackle that fear and get behind the camera ASAP. 

Rita Azar Illustrates an Entertainment Article for 360 MAGAZINE

ABC’S LOCALISH ANNOUNCES ‘OUTstanding’

Localish introduces a limited digital series OUTstanding” executive produced and hosted by award-winning “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Localish.com on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

The limited series consists of five episodes focusing on LGBTQ individuals throughout the country making major contributions to their communities. Grounded in its mission to bring out the good in cities across America, each episode will highlight resilient and inspiring LGBTQ individuals ranging from a gay couple adopting a teenager during the COVID-19 pandemic and a bisexual country singer/songwriter to a business owner/winemaker and local activists who are unapologetically “OUTstanding.”

“These people have been inspirations in their own communities for years and I can’t wait for more people to get to know them,” said Michael Koenigs, executive producer of the Localish Network. “Their remarkable lives and uplifting stories are just the thing we need right now!”

“Jesse has been such a tireless advocate for LGBTQ issues over the years and brought so much personal energy to this project,” continued Koenigs. “By featuring extraordinary LGBTQ families in all different corners of this country, we’re excited to inspire audiences with real examples of leaders trailblazing more inclusive paths in their communities.”

With producers based in major cities across the U.S., Localish worked with Ferguson to identify and remotely film LGBTQ individuals who faced major challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives.

“The pandemic forced us to rethink our approach to production, but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for telling amazing stories that make us proud of our neighbors,” added Koenigs.

In addition to streaming on Localish’s digital-owned platform Localish.com, the series will post one episode a week on Localish’s social platforms with cross-promotion on Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s social media platforms @jessetyler on both Instagram and Twitter, and on ABC Owned Television Stations’ 32 connected TV apps across Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

Episodes include the following:

  • Episode 1 – Record-Breaking Zoom Adoption:  The Beanblossoms fostered their now-son Michael for a year before adopting him, during the pandemic, in what became the biggest Zoom adoption ever. During this time, the  Beanblossoms lost their home in a fire and now look to the future to build a new house that meets the needs of their growing family.
  • Episode 2 Queer Country Star:  Sarah Shook grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family rural in North Carolina where she was only allowed to listen to classical and worship music. Shook identifies as bisexual and is politically active in supporting LGBT and civil rights causes. Sarah Shook formed a country band, the Disarmers, with an outspoken message for all.
  • Episode 3 Formerly Homeless Activist: Young, Black, gay and homeless, TyRon Jackson used to think he didn’t matter. Now his work speaks for itself.  His nonprofit Operation Warm Wishes (OWW) has been giving back to those in need for 13 years. Unbeknownst to him, his community has come together to surprise him with a life-changing gift.
  • Episode 4 Trailblazing Winemaker: Winemaker Krista Scruggs has a history of defying expectations. She’s a young, queer Black woman who has chosen to make wine in Vermont that is uniquely made from biodynamically farmed grapes, sometimes co-fermented with foraged apples to create a singular hybrid style. After founding her own label, Zafa Wines, one of her first bottlings, a provocatively named sparkler called Jungle Fever, sold out quickly in its 2017 debut. She was quickly recognized in the industry as a wine wunderkind.
  • Episode 5 – Meet the Chicken Lady:  Ken Thomason was born in rural Indiana where there was a church on every street corner. Feeling displaced in a small city, Ken moved to California where he met his first best friend who later sadly passed away of AIDS. Before his death, Ken’s best friend gifted him a chicken plush toy. In his honor Ken rode in a week-long fundraiser bike ride, the AIDS LifeCycle, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Thus Ken’s alter ego The Chicken Lady was hatched.

Joining the team behind “OUTstanding” include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Justin Mikita, Amy Rice, Craig Gartner, and Michael Koenigs as executive producers, Chris Casey as production manager, Georgia Krause as producer, and Elie Sokoloff as editorial producer.

Follow Localish (#Localish) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. View additional Localish series at abc.com/shows/localish.

Localish is a multiplatform lifestyle brand from the ABC Owned Television Stations aimed at bringing out the good in cities across America through positive, feel-good storytelling. A digital native brand launched in September 2018, Localish expanded on Feb. 17, 2020, and debuted its broadcast home in eight top markets across the country.

Localish has produced over 3,000 pieces of digital video, totaling more than 400 million video views, with 60% of its audience under the age of 44. Most recently honored with the 2019 Innovator Award – the highest distinction among TVNewsCheck’s annual Social Media Excellence Awards – Localish was credited for its forward-minded ideas, sleek execution and all-around positive impact.

As a broadcast network, Localish expanded its short-form series of local storytelling into long-form programming to reach approximately 14 million households across America. The brand also continues to debut stories on localish.com, ABC digital platforms and social media platforms, as it transcends city limits and inspires its audience to live like a local wherever they are.

Keep up with Localish on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Vaughn Lowery illustration by Allison Christensen for his book Move Like Water x Be Fluid produced by 360 MAGAZINE

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Move Like Water × Be Fluid

By Katrina Tiktinsky

Vaughn Lowery, founder and publisher of 360 MAGAZINE, is set to release his first book this month. Move Like Water × Be Fluid is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit projects to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.

This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward. The self-empowerment so emblematic in Lowery’s character and story promotes readers to adopt the author’s tactics in their own lives.

The influence of prominent civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the writer’s grandfather, is prevalent in this work. A beacon for both hope and progress during the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Joseph Lowery weighs heavily on the narrator. This, along with his upbringing and existence as a black man in America, make Lowery both introspective and contextually aware when it comes to race. Moreover, draws parallels between the movement his grandfather championed and led, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today, exposing the failures of our system and calling for meaningful, systemic change. Both Joseph and Vaughn Lowery are members of the first intercollegiate historically African American organization Alpha Phi Alpha. Lowery simultaneously considers the work he can do, as a singular human being, to forward social justice causes in his day-to-day life and interactions with others. 

In 1920, his grandmother, Agnes Christine Moore Lowery (the little girl in the blue dress, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), came with her grandmother to become the first black to vote in Tennessee. The kids’ book, The Big Day, depicts their journey the day she voted, now available on Amazon here.

Photo of LaJUNE by Armon Hayes for 360 Magazine

Photo: Armon Hayes, Talent: LaJUNE

360 Magazine is also now selling one of a kind home goods via Chairish, a curated marketplace for the best in vintage and contemporary furniture, decor and art. Check out this piece designed by 360’s founder Vaughn Lowery.

In the year 2020, which has been afflicted with an overwhelming amount of change, there has never been a timelier moment for insight from a man like Lowery. As mentioned, Lowery’s deep ties and connections to racial justice in America feels incredibly relevant, as do his thoughts on digital media, something Lowery pioneered years before COVID-19 forced the world hurriedly online. Constantly at the forefront of social change, Move Like Water × Be Fluid offers an understanding of the current moment, yet looks forward to the possibility of an evolved, cosmopolitan world. One that Lowery aspires to through all his works, including this installation and 360 MAGAZINE.

As we follow the author through grade school, high school and on through Cornell University, we collect advice from a myriad of powerful secondary characters. From all walks of life, these secondary support systems offer Lowery the push he needs to continue on striving towards something better. We watch Lowery model the work ethic of his admired older sister, gain confidence from an encouraging teacher, change the trajectory of his life due to a neighborhood mentor, and learn from the critique of a Residential Advisor. This self-help-book stands apart for never failing to appreciate the importance of an individual’s support system. Fittingly, while the book catalogues Lowery’s journey to success, it inspires and encourages readers in the same way Lowery’s community uplifted him – to take action towards a meaningful life.

Comparable titles to Move Like Water × Be Fluid include other stories of individuals who later turned to publishing their experiences in self-help books. Numerous celebrity examples include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. These titles, as well as Lowery’s first book, all feature introspection and explanations regarding the course of the authors’ lives. 

The following descriptions outlines the chapter-by-chapter journey within Move Like Water × Be Fluid.

Chapter 1: The beginning of Lowery’s journey is marked by his complicated childhood in Detroit, distinctly connected to his sense of place and community. Financial struggles and surroundings reminiscent of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as well as the author’s early experience with assault contextualize the course of Lowery’s life.

Chapter 2: A childhood mood, coupled with the realization of his intelligence, swiftly changed the direction of Lowery’s life. Following a move to New Jersey to live with his older sister, Lowery’s early experiences of racism shine a light on his passion for racial justice today. The opportunity to participate in an honored education program again changes the trajectory Lowery follows.

Chapter 3: This chapter offers insight into the ups and downs of high school, a narrative many are familiar with. Yet, Lowery’s poised observations throughout the chapter reflect his early understanding of the world.

Chapter 4: After a remarkable yet complex journey through high school, Lowery achieves the first of many dreams by gaining the chance to attend Cornell University in New York. At Cornell, he is able to expand his understanding of self and what he hopes to accomplish.

Chapter 5: Saks Fifth Avenue recruits Lowery to work in their corporate office, marking Lowery’s first foray into the world of economics and fashion. The advice he gains from mentors in the field prompts him to shift towards a career in acting and modeling, supplemented by working in the Medicare Department of U.S. Healthcare.

Chapter 6: New York, in all its hectic nature, pointed Lowery west towards California where he could further capitalize on his talents in the entertainment industry.

Chapter 7: This chapter details one of the events in Lowery’s life for which he is best known: his commercials as “Joe Boxer Guy” that overwhelmed the nation. Following ups and downs in Los Angeles, this success cemented Lowery’s understanding of his own talents as well as his ties to L.A.

Chapter 8: Following an offensive home invasion, Lowery pivots to continue embracing what life throws at him with appearances on NBC’s “Scrubs” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

Chapter 9: With plenty of capital and the space to complement his next steps, Lowery founded 360 MAGAZINE in 2008, powering through the tidal wave that was the recession all due to his own brains and the belief in his product and brand.

Chapter 10: After another painful reminder of the inadequacies of the justice system in America due to an unjust prison stay, Lowery’s comprehension of what is truly important is once again realigned. Despite his negative experiences, his magazine is able to be on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles scene.

Chapter 11: The number 360 is ubiquitous to Lowery – one embodies the other. His appreciation for both his own capabilities and expertise, as well as the ones of others, assures his magazine and brand are constantly evolving. 

Chapter 12: Thinking on the future following the tragic death of a friend, Lowery is nowhere near finished and is more than ready to continue is many metamorphoses. He now exists in a space where he strives to empower others, all around the world. 360.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid, by Vaughn Lowery, is available this month exclusively on the 360 MAGAZINE’s website. 360 MAGAZINE has received numerous accolades, and has recently been featured on Dancing with the Stars. Stay in touch by following both Lowery (@vaughnlowery) and 360 (@360magazine)

Additionally Vaughn has an audio book titled, “Say Uncle: The Story of Vaughn Lowery” which loosely based on his childhood. It is available for here on Amazon Music. For additional info on Vaughn Lowery visit Wikipedia and IMDb.

THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF DALLAS RETURNS FOR SEASON FIVE – JANUARY 5TH

Grab your ‘quarantinis’ and saddle up! “The Real Housewives of Dallas” premieres Tuesday, January 5 at 9pm ET/PT on Bravo. Returning for season five are Housewives: Brandi Redmond, D’Andra Simmons, Kameron Westcott, Kary Brittingham and Stephanie Hollman. There will also be a new housewife and physician Tiffany Moon, wasting no time inserting herself into the drama with the ladies. In addition, Jennifer Davis Long, a friend of the ladies, will also appear throughout the season.

Watch the Season Trailer: HERE

Coming up this season:

  • This season, after years of being a doting mother and wife, Stephanie is eager to return to work and launches her own foundation. When her husband Travis questions her ability to follow through, she sets on a course to prove him wrong.
  • Still reeling from her past mistakes, Brandi struggles to forgive herself and things get complicated for her when D’Andra’s friend Tiffany joins their circle of friends.
  • D’Andra struggles to get in touch with her sensitive side and reconcile with a side of her family she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years. In an effort to become a more forgiving person, she enlists the help of a Shaman, but when conflict arises with Kary her new skills are quickly put to the test.
  • With her house on the market, Kameron is desperately looking for a buyer before her dream house slips away, but her husband Court is keeping her in the dark on the logistics. As she struggles with her husband treating her as an equal partner, she also has trouble connecting with new housewife Tiffany.
  • In an attempt to heal the wounds left behind by her chaotic childhood, Kary is working on rebuilding her relationship with her mother. Afraid of making the same mistake with her own children, the pandemic has prompted Kary to take a hard look at what is most important to her.
  • Born in a small town just outside of Beijing, China, Tiffany Moon moved to the United States when she was just six years old.  The product of extreme “Tiger Parents,” she graduated college at 19-years-old and medical school at 23, where she finished in the top ten percent of her class. Introduced to the ladies by D’Andra, Tiffany struggles to find the balance between her demanding job as a frontline worker during the pandemic and being a wife and a mother to her five-year-old twin girls.

The Real Housewives of Dallas” is produced by Goodbye Pictures with Rich Bye, Darren Ward, Adam Karpel and Samantha Hartzband serving as Executive Producers. Andy Cohen also serves as an Executive Producer.

About Bravo Media:

Bravo is the premier lifestyle and entertainment brand that drives cultural conversation around its high-quality, interactive original content across all platforms. The network has a diverse slate of original programming that includes unscripted favorites such as Emmy Award-winning “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck,” “Southern Charm,” and the popular “Million Dollar Listing” and “The Real Housewives” franchises. Bravo also boasts the only live late-night talk show on television with the critically acclaimed “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” which has become a nightly destination for A-list celebrities. Available in 87 million homes, Bravo is a network of NBCUniversal Entertainment & Lifestyle Group, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. Watch Bravo anywhere: on demand, online, or across mobile and connected TVs. Bravo has been an NBCUniversal cable network since December 2002 and first launched in December 1980.

Rita Azar Illustrates an Entertainment Article for 360 MAGAZINE

The Cosby Show And Me

One woman’s journey after she learned The Cosby Show was based on her family in the 1980s.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D. | @annmarieadams

What if I told you that The Cosby Show was partly based on me and my family during the 1980s? You would probably not believe it. But it is true.

That’s the conclusion after a seven-year investigation by private investigators and government officials. Providence guided us during this lengthy investigation when I lived in Avon, and political operatives prepared me in 2014 to run for Congress against former Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty–an academic exercise worth noting. It was during this “prep” time that I learned about this connection with The Cosby Show.

This fortuitous story of the connection began when former President Ronald Reagan visited Jamaica on April 7, 1982. During that one-day visit, Reagan’s security detail reportedly made contact with me and my family. My father was an electrical engineer while working at the Government Printing Office. He owned a home in a suburb of Kingston. And my mother worked with a transportation company. If former President Barack Obama did not visit Jamaica on April 9, 2015, while I was covering the White House, I wouldn’t have believed this story. That’s because it was Obama’s first visit as president, and he was only the second sitting president to visit the Caribbean nation since its independence in 1962, according to MSNBC.

Also at play were these facts: In Jamaica, we were a middle-class family Reagan’s cabinet allegedly felt they should watch. After Reagan’s visit, several individuals made plans to put a family sitcom together. And it was called The Cosby Show, according to sources close to the U.S. federal, state, and local governments. The show aired on NBC from April 30, 1984, to September 20, 1992.

The Cosby Show’s character, Denise Huxtable, was based on me, I’m told. The character’s persona and likeness were exploited without our consent.

And the revelation about the origins of the show can also be found in Bill Cosby’s interview about how he came up with this idea.

Cosby first pitched the show about a working-class Honduran family. My father’s ancestors are from Honduras and Nicaragua. We had a wonderful life that included Sunday dinners and picnics in the park, but we weren’t exempt from obstacles. Although The Cosby Show was mainly focused on Cosby’s observations of family life, some of those observations were of my family. Moreover, the basic concept of the middle-class family depicted on the show is evident in my family: My older sibling wanted to be a doctor. Also, I wanted to be a lawyer. Those plans of ours were interrupted by government officials, according to sources close to the investigation.

In previous interviews, Cosby also stated the original conceptualization of the show: a working-class family that raised a successful child. (side note: Cosby’s wife suggested the show be based on a well-to-do family). The original premise and casting choices for the sitcom, however, reaffirmed the initial concept in the pitch that was identical to my family and me.

So I’m telling my story.

Several scenes were points of recognition of my family’s life in Jamaica and the U.S., especially my time at Brooklyn College. I also learned during the investigation that the casting directors and writers had our family in mind when they selected the actors. There are frighteningly similar personas in my family and the characters on the show. And a picture of The Cosby Show family and my family bears a striking resemblance. For example, Denise Huxtable is my doppelganger–and the investigators discovered the character’s traits are similar to mine. Theo is my brother’s doppelganger and a few scenes reflect the relationship with him and my father. Vanessa is my sister Andrea’s doppelganger and several scenes reflect her relationship between us. Rudy’s character is based on my brother. Articles about the casting claimed that the casting directors tried to find a boy at first but they couldn’t; so they used a girl for the role. Rudy is my niece Janel’s doppelganger. And the character Olivia is my other niece Franchista’s doppelganger. The optics resonate well to claim theft of services and copyright infringement.

Other similarities include Sondra, who shares traits with my cousin Carleen. Elvin is based on my brother Lloyd. Also, Aunt Vi is based on my cousin, Doreen, Lt. Martin Kindall, Denise’s husband is based on my cousin, Raymond. And of course, Claire Huxtable was based on my mother and older sister, Marcia. The patriarch of the television family, Cliff Huxtable portrays similar traits as my handsome father. Huxtable is my father’s doppelganger–not twin. Cosby’s conviction as a sex offender was not echoed in my family. In fact, my father has never been arrested for any crimes. This information, I believe, will allow people to differentiate between the actor and the individual the show was based on when talking about the circumstances around this NBC hit comedy in the 1980s and 1990s.

In addition to those facts, several scenes were premised on the interpersonal dynamics of the relationships between me and my sisters, brothers, and cousins. This was too much of a coincidence to those who were investigating us during the recent investigation and prep for Congress. The public must know that The Cosby Show itself is a creation by several actors, comedians, writers, and producers who may be unfamiliar with our family. However, a few undisclosed individuals close to the recent investigation of Bill Cosby and the creation of the show gave me this information. So the very idea that it was based on our family was plausible to investigate further, officials said. I also learned that the 1990s spin-off, A Different World, was based on me and my years at college. And the show, That’s So Raven, was based on my niece, Franchista.

Why we were picked for this social experiment will perhaps remain a secret to Reagan, his staff, and others close to the show. The Caribbean’s strategic location to the Panama Canal gave us a clue as to why our family was at the center of a Cold War project. We requested other documents to uncover this mystery and are still waiting. Also, the United States Secret Service has disallowed open documentation of Reagan’s visit to Jamaica in 1982. But one thing was clear. After this revelation to me, while I was covering the Obama White House, my family and I were the victims of a hate crime and cover-up–because of the revelation of our connection to The Cosby Show.

Cosby and his associates are suspects in this crime, using unorthodox methods by Lansana Koroma of Philadelphia. So I reached out to Andrew Wyatt, his publicist. According to Wyatt, Cosby doesn’t want to talk about this affair right now.

Looking through old photographs, it was clear that the casting director used our family’s faces and likeness as a guide to casting those on the show. They were, indeed, our doppelgangers. The old pictures confirmed that much. After discovering we looked like the actors, who were selected for the pilot season that debut on September 20, 1984, we all were the victims of a hate crime to assault our faces and distort our images on television, print, and with online photos.

This insidious plot to strip us of our individual identities and image as a middle-class and Christian family the show was based on also included an incredible effort to secretly strip us of our financial resources, including houses, cars, and jobs. All this orchestrated crime during the long investigation was to hide our true identities and our impact on the show. Therefore, this sinister approach to the secret investigation must be addressed with force.

Perhaps the Bill Cosby trial in Philadelphia was divine justice when he was indicted on a day close to my father’s birthday. Also, Cosby failed to acknowledge our contributions to the show and as a result, his new family comedy slated for 2015 was canceled. But the United States State Department, state, city officials, and other individuals used to invade our privacy owe us more than an apology.

We are asking for the perpetrators of this crime to be held accountable with prison time–just like Bill Cosby–for the evil and covert attacks on our family to cover up this truth in the country. More importantly, we ask for reparation for our family because of years of disruptions and adverse experiences to discredit our claim to The Cosby Show.

Enough is enough. We want restorative justice–reparations.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is an award-winning journalist and U.S. History Professor. She is also the founder of The Hartford Guardian, the first nonprofit, hyper-local publication in Connecticut. Previously, she was a journalist at The Hartford Courant, People Magazine, NBC 4 New York, the Washington Post, other regional publications, and television newscasts.

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

10 Times Teen Movies and TV Shows Portrayed Mental Illness in a Helpful Light

By Shay Siegel

The importance of learning about mental health and debunking the stigmas that come along with it has been expressed more and more in recent years. Mental illness is a valid struggle in the everyday lives of people from all different backgrounds and circumstances—it does not discriminate. Representation of mental health is especially important for teenagers who already deal with issues of identity and belonging simply as part of growing up and all the external pressures they are exposed to. Art and entertainment forms that explore mental health and real societal issues are contributing to these discussions. 

These ten shows and movies (some of which are based on wonderful books) have explored mental illness in one way or another and shed some much-needed light, helping teens realize they are not alone.

1. Degrassi 

This was my favorite show when I was in high school, and it has done a great job not only shifting to keep up with current times, but it has always confronted a variety of important issues that teens face. I usually think of Degrassi: The Next Generation, because that’s the segment of the show I grew up with, but the new version Degrassi: The Next Class with a different cast for a new generation is exactly what the show has always been about, while keeping up with the current atmosphere. Degrassi consists of a big cast, which is one of the things to love about it and shows a multitude of characters that struggle with different issues, both external and internal. Mental health has always been portrayed in Degrassi and manifested in many ways, from eating disorders, to self-harm and suicide, to anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, to identity issues, peer pressure, sexual assault, substance abuse, and so much more. The show is confronting, and it raises awareness and leads to deeper thinking and conversation-starting in a helpful and positive way. Degrassi is my number one pick for a series that shows all the raw and relatable issues teens face, especially mental illness.

2. 13 Reasons Why

I loved the book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, so naturally I was excited when it was made into a series. I know it has received a ton of backlash and been accused of glorifying suicide, and yes, the show may definitely be triggering and problematic in areas. There are many positives to be gleaned as well, though. The story confronts the very ugly side of suicide and the lasting effects of trauma like sexual assault and bullying on the psyche. It’s not meant to be comfortable because these issues are uncomfortable, and the show can help in processing tough topics. The story provides encouragement to think about how our actions affect others and how we can’t know what others are going through. And regardless of whether the show is hated or loved, it has absolutely started important conversations and raised suicide awareness.

3. All the Bright Places

I actually have not yet read the book by Jennifer Niven, but I watched the movie recently and thought it was a really realistic, while also heart-wrenching, take on depression. It’s helpful for teens to see two characters with different past traumas coping in different ways, and the idea expressed that some are able to heal while others still struggle. There is no one set of symptoms when an individual has depression and that was clearly portrayed in this film. The message of hope to find the bright places everywhere even when we might not feel like one of those places within ourselves is beautiful.

4. Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska is an adapted series based on John Green’s popular novel from 2005, which I also loved, but the series expands upon the book and incorporates updated ideas and messages that fit our current times and conversations, especially those that address mental health. The story unfolds as a mystery, and at times it’s lighter and a fun coming-of-age tale, but it’s so much deeper as it progresses, especially as the later episodes take on a more ominous tone and Alaska’s inner struggles become clearer. This is another instance of not truly knowing what another person is going through, especially when they don’t reach out for help in a direct way. This is unfortunately a reality of mental illness and one of the reasons is that those struggling don’t fully understand it themselves. The open-endedness of the story is realistic because that’s exactly how life is—nothing gets wrapped up neatly, but we learn about others and ourselves along the way.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is also one of my favorite books by Stephen Chbosky, and the movie is every bit as emotional. Charlie is an incredibly realistic character. His feelings of loneliness while continuing on day to day with hope are so accurate and relatable for any teen who has ever felt like an outcast. The deeper past issues that we find out he has repressed are heartbreaking, but I think the story does a great job in portraying that past trauma, while contributing to his current situation, might also not have necessarily created it because there are many layers to mental illness and there is no off button once a “reason” is realized.

6. It’s Kind of a Funny Story

This movie is based on the YA novel by Ned Vizzini. We get a look into many of the patients’ lives over the course of a few days in a psychiatric hospital, while Craig, the male lead, learns about himself and his circumstances, ultimately taking steps to heal. One of the most positive messages of the story is that Craig takes it upon himself to seek help, which many (or most) don’t feel acceptable doing. This is so important for teens to see. The idea that others can’t save us, and we have to build our own lives and not look to others to make it all better for us is also done well. The author of the book, Ned Vizzini, committed suicide, but he left a message of hope in allowing Craig to work through his struggles and show readers and viewers what goes on in the mind of someone struggling so deeply in hopes that those who need it may seek help.

7. Eighth Grade

This movie was cringe-worthy at times, which was effective because that’s exactly what this time of life is like. If you feel awkward watching someone, just imagine how elevated those feelings are for them on the inside. Kayla, the thirteen-year-old protagonist, is riddled with worry and anxiety about her every decision and encounter, and many of the times her fears are realized, which I think we all can agree escalates anxiety. It was an accurate and upsetting portrayal of what goes on both inside and outside during this impactful transition in life, maybe not for every single teen but certainly for the ones who feel that specific emotional turmoil.

8. To the Bone

This was an interesting take on how mental illness manifests in eating disorders. The idea of knowing how damaging your behavior is but also not knowing how to stop it or do anything different, or even just not wanting to, is relatable to anyone who struggles with mental illness whether it be an eating disorder or otherwise. This film has also been criticized for misrepresenting sensitive subject matter, but again, it has helped start conversations and it has definitely expressed an important message that recovery is not a straight line.

9. The Edge of Seventeen 

I loved this movie, and one of the best things about it is how “normal” Nadine’s mental health issues are treated. Her mental illness is not necessarily what the movie is about, but a driving force behind her as a character, and an accurate portrayal of depression for one unique person, since everyone experiences it differently. Although her struggles may be heightened by exterior circumstances and “being a teen” the way she views herself and the world are real and heartbreaking, and although she might not be in imminent danger she is suffering, nonetheless. The movie is also quite funny in parts! The balance of humor and despair work to provide light to all the darkness that exists.

10. Euphoria

This new series is extremely uncensored, raw, and even shocking, but it definitely captures the issues and pressures of being a teen in this current climate. A realistic and well-done takeaway from the series is how mental illness can completely take over and suffocate a person, even bringing on a terrible feeling of boredom and monotony. Rue, the main character, struggles with addiction, which first became an issue when she was looking for a way to combat her host of mental illnesses, and of course gives her yet another issue to struggle with when she is already in severe pain, if from nothing else then from being born into this world. The uncomfortable honesty in Euphoria is executed with precision and is a look at mental illness, while it has always existed, now in the new generation. 


Shay Siegel is a freelance writer, poet, and editor. Her debut YA novel, Fractured, is available now. For more information, visit shaysiegel.com, or connect with Siegel on Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads.