Producer and former president of Motown Records Suzanne de Passe and partner Madison Jones have signed a three-year deal with Universal Pictures.  The first-look deal with de Passe Jones Entertainment will concentrate on movies, though the multimedia company has TV, graphic novels, new media, and music projects as well.

Most famous for bringing the Jackson Five to the attention of Berry Gordy (in the miniseries, The Jacksons: An American Dream, she was played by Vanessa Williams), de Passe is an accomplished producer.  Her credits include Sister, Sister and miniseries and TV movies such as Lonesome Dove, The Temptations, and Small Sacrifices, as well as variety programs such as Motown Returns to the Apollo and Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, for which she received Emmys.  She was nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing Lady Sings the Blues and was named AFI TV Producer of the Year in 1995.

Phillip “Madison” Jones is a painter, songwriter, and Emmy-nominated producer. Jones is a high-powered negotiator, orchestrating many of the licensing rights to Martin Luther King’s words and images.  (Steven Spielberg has a movie about King being in development with de Passe Jones Entertainment.)  Jones’s work with King’s intellectual property has been a source of controversy; Jones’s benefiting from the MLK legacy was at issue in a 2009 court case involving the King offspring over control of the MLK estate.  Martin Luther King Jr III said he found out about the Speilberg movie via CNN.  The lawsuit was settled out of court.

Jones and de Passe also produced President Obama’s 2009 Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Ball.
Wayans Bros. Return to TV?

Actor-producer Marlon Wayans is set to return to TV with a comedy.  The co-creator and star of The Wayan Bros. has a show in development with ABC about two odd-couple cops.  Wayans will also serve as co-creator and star with Wayans Bros Entertainment’s Rick Alvarez, with brothers Keenan Ivory and Shawn Wayans executive producing.


Ken Choy

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