Originally posted Wednesday, June 19, 2019 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Nickelodeon went all in with Atlanta this past week. Besides opening Slime City next to Disco Kroger in Buckhead, the kids’ network brought Kel Mitchell into town last week to promote the revival of the network’s kids’ sketch comedy show “All That.”
Mitchell was one of the breaking stars from the original version, leading to his own sitcom “Kel and Kenan” and the film “Good Burger,” based on one of his most iconic “All That” sketches.
The new version, which debuted this past Saturday on Nickeledeon, brings in a fresh generation of rising 12-to-15-year-old comedians. The first episode featured a take-off on “The Masked Singer” with a hilarious rendition of host Nick Cannon by Lex Lumpkin. Marie Kondo, the Japanese Netflix star of decluttering, was also an easy target. Plus, Mitchell and two other original cast members Lori Beth Denberg, and Josh Server showed up to pass the torch. Mitchell, of course, brought back legendary “Good Burger” and had the Jonas Brothers order some food, much to the joy of the studio audience.
“Fans still love it,” Mitchell said at a screening last Friday at Atlantic Station Regal Cinema. “They still talk about orange soda, ‘Good Burger.’ The fans really brought it back with me with me being on ‘Game Shakers,’ a Nickelodeon show. A lot of parents introduced their kids to ‘All That.’ It’s everywhere, on demand, YouTube.”
After Brian Robbins - creator of “All That” in the 1990s - took over as Nickelodeon president, he quickly went about reviving the show and bringing both Mitchell and Kenan Thompson as executive producers.
“What’s cool is kids are still laughing at the same stuff as they did in the 1980 and 1990s,” he said. People getting hit with stuff, spit takes and getting really loud remain universal for the pre-teens and teens alike.
He also said while casting for the show, these kids are so tech and social media savvy. They had characters and impressions already honed by years of YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat videos. “All That” sketches still work for them.
Forty-year-old Mitchell - who has three children of his own - had fun taking part in some of the sketches and mentoring the kids. “I’ve been through it before,” he said. “These kids all have their heads on right with great amazing parents.” (No raging mom-agers in sight, he added.)
Channel 2 Action News won best newscast while 11Alive ran away with the most awards again at the 45th annual Southeast Emmy’s at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead Saturday.
11Alive pocketed a record 36 Emmy awards, up from 28 last year and 31 the previous year.
Among the NBC affiliate’s wins: best morning newscast for Morning Rush, team coverage for the 2018 election, best anchor (Cheryl Preheim) and overall excellence.
The station’s investigative reporter Brendan Keefe is the kingmaker of the Southeast Emmy’s. He collected nine Saturday night. Keefe has brought home a whopping 98 Emmys in his lifetime and 47 since joining 11Alive five years ago.
There was a bizarre moment when an inebriated employee of a Birmingham production company Red Clay Media began yelling obscenities at Darryl Cohen, an attorney and long-time advisor to the Emmy’s while Cohen was speaking at the dais. The heckler was quickly removed and booted from the event - and the hotel where he had been staying.
Later, Keefe, at the dais for his ninth and final win, jokingly said, “Where my heckler?”
Of the three WSB-TV wins, one featured my AJC colleague Ryon Horne for a piece that started as an AJC video-only story but ended up becoming a 30-minute special on WSB-TV. Called “Bronco Goes to Camp,” it features an 11-year-old heart transplant recipient. He won best science/health features segment along with Dorthey Daniels, Jovita Moore and Renee Bottie-Wheeler.
CBS46 pocketed 11 Emmy’s same as last year. Adam Harding and Adam Murphy both took home multiple awards but the station’s Molly McCollum was the most emotional, truly surprised she had actually won for best meteorologist and tearing up as she thanked her news station.
Fox 5 came up empty handed for the second year in a row with seven nominations, no wins. (An investigative piece by Randy Travis that lost the Emmy did win a prestigious Peabody earlier this year.)
Fox Sports South won three, including best sports anchor Jerome Jurenovich. Georgia Public Broadcasting also won three. Atlanta Eats won one as well.
Univision won 12; Telemundo pocketed eight; MundoHispanic took home six.
Channel 2 Action News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of Cox Media Group.
Drea Kelly, R. Kelly’s ex wife, had her moment in the spotlight earlier this year as part of Lifetime’s haunting documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” exposing the R&B singer’s rapacious and controlling activities that may land him in prison for a long time.
She also had a daughter with the “Ignition” singer who has embarked on her own singing career and chooses to go by Buku Abi.
Both decided, in the light of “Surviving R. Kelly,” to join the cast of WE-TV’s “Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta.”
This meant Buku Abi would have to discuss her father in less-than-flattering terms and his negative impact on her in a very public setting. But, she also hopes this would jump-start her music career, exorcise some demons from her past and move forward as her own woman. (Her Instagram, with 57,100 followers, she noted, is bu.k.u.)
“I’m really working to create my own brand,” said Buku Abi in an interview last week. “I know I’m more than just a daughter. I’m not a person that has nothing going on. This show is a perfect opportunity to allow people to make a true judgment of me as a person. I don’t want my narrative written for me.”
Ultimately, most people have no image of her at all. Plus, she knows she has no choice but to address the “elephant in the room. What’s great about this show it allows me to say, ‘Don’t address the elephant.’”
“Kill it and bury it people!” Drea added.
Buku Abi said in many ways she has personally worked out her issues about her father. “This is a very big part of me being able to move on,” she said. “From here on in, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.”
Drea is proud of her daughter. “I want the world to know her resilience, her strength to chase her dreams and not let anything stand in her way.”
Drea is already a reality show vet, having starred in VH1’s ‘Hollywood Exes” from 2012 to 2014. But “I didn’t get to speak my full truth,” she said, regarding her tumultuous marriage with R. Kelly. “It’s now been a full year when I came forward” with the documentary.
“I have my wings now,” Drea said. “Life is great. I walk in my advocacy.”
Her latest project: opening a women’s shelter in Anguilla. She is also finishing a self-help book with a major (yet unnamed) publisher and a cabaret show.
Drea said despite the trauma of her ex, she remains a “hopeless romantic” seeking love.
Her daughter, in the meantime, has been in a serious relationship for more than two years. She has been able to overcome her trust issues. “It’s been eye opening to connect with someone so closely,” she said. “I’m very grateful.”
“Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta,” Thursdays at 9 p.m., WE-TV
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