In what will mark her first regular TV involvement since she began her career dancing in the Flygirl ensemble of the Fox comedy series “In Living Color,” Jennifer Lopez has made a deal with NBC to star in and produce a special this fall.
She will produce three additional specials for the network and also develop a half-hour sitcom based on her family and upbringing in the Bronx.
At the same time, Lopez, who returns to theaters on Friday in the Luis Mandoki-directed drama “Angel Eyes,” is in talks to star in “One,” a Nick Kazan-written romance with supernatural overtones.
The TV deal was the brainchild of Jeff Gaspin, the former VH1 executive who recently took charge of alternative series and specials for NBC Entertainment. After developing a strong relationship with Lopez through the music channel, he wasted no time bringing her into the NBC fold.
“When I got to NBC, I knew that Jennifer had just had a No. 1 selling album and top-grossing film in the same week, but that she’d never had a TV special,” said Gaspin.
The initial special, which will focus on her current top-selling album “J.Lo,” will be similar to musical network showcases done for the likes of Faith Hill, the Dixie Chicks and Madonna. Future specials will likely feature other artists.
“I can’t wait to see what Jennifer will wear,” said Gaspin.
Lopez’ manager, Benny Medina, said there’s plenty of material for the sitcom just from the many stories Lopez has told them of growing up in a tight-knit Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, with her mom, dad and grandparents trying to keep three exceptionally attractive daughters on the right path. One sister, Leslie, is raising a family of her own, while Lopez’s other sister, Linda, is a VH1 VJ and does local radio and TV work in New York.
“Jennifer tells hilarious stories about growing up all the time, and a show like this, a neighborhood comedy involving a family in a multicultural environment, with an engaging point of view and voice, is something NBC has put an emphasis on,” said Medina. “Jennifer will be very hands on as an executive producer, as this show is truly born out of her personal experiences.”
Lopez, who launched a clothing line this fall and will tour her “J.Lo” album in 2002, is busy on the feature side as well. She is currently starring with Billy Campbell and Noah Wyle in the Michael Apted-directed “Enough.” She then plans to star in Warner Bros.’ Tony Scott-directed drama “Taking Lives” and the Columbia thriller “Tick Tock,” before taking on “One.”