NBC announced Monday that “Undercovers,” a new spy drama from Abrams (“Lost,” “Fringe”) and Josh Reims (“Brothers and Sisters”), is the network’s first scripted series pickup for the 2010-11 season. The deal marks Abrams’ first association with NBC.
The show centers on the lives of married ex-CIA agents Steven and Samantha Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw) as they find themselves getting pulled back into the business.
Investing in arts leadership
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the largest private donation in its history Monday: a $22.5-million gift from Dick and Betsy DeVos to endow a management training program for arts leaders.
Arts organizations have been struggling or even closing their doors in the recession and need expert leadership to survive, Betsy DeVos said. The gift is among the largest ever by the Michigan couple.
The gift will help fund two-year arts management training programs across the country. The center already has trained leaders from more than 400 small to midsized groups in New York, Chicago and Washington since 2001.
a fresh Sparks
Jordin Sparks, the youngest contestant to win “American Idol,” is ready for another challenge. She will make her Broadway debut this summer in the Tony-winning musical “In the Heights.”
Sparks will play Nina Rosario, a college student with a secret who returns to her old neighborhood in New York’s Washington Heights. She will perform for 12 weeks, beginning Aug. 19.
The New York production already stars another pop-culture idol, Corbin Bleu, from Disney’s “High School Musical” franchise.
Other “American Idol” alums have made it to Broadway, including Constantine Maroulis, who received a 2009 Tony nomination for the ‘80s Sunset Strip saga “Rock of Ages.” Maroulis also will star in the national tour of “Rock of Ages” that plays the Pantages Theatre Feb. 15 through 27.
Anchors step out of office
All three evening news anchors left their studios for on-site coverage of big stories Monday, but it was a trip with particular personal meaning for NBC’s Brian Williams.
Williams anchored NBC’s “Nightly News” from Louisiana, after spending part of his day with the shrimp boat Storm Watch. It is the 15th time he has come to the region since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 27th evening news broadcast he has anchored from there.
Competitors Diane Sawyer at ABC and Katie Couric at CBS had far shorter trips — to New York’s Times Square — site of an attempted car bomb attack Saturday. The network anchors essentially were choosing for backdrops between one story where the visual action had long since passed to one where the impact is only anticipated.
Operalia prizes are announced
A 28-year-old Bulgarian soprano, Sonya Yoncheva, and a 23-year-old Romanian tenor, Stefan Pop, took the top prizes in the prestigious Operalia competition founded and conducted by the Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo.
The prize serves as a launching pad into an opera career not only for the winners of the top prizes but also for the 40 contestants who participated in the weeklong event, held this year at Milan’s famed La Scala opera house.
Yoncheva and Pop each took home prizes of $30,000 Sunday.
Gotti grandson plans some hits
The grandson of mobster John Gotti is launching a music career and says his album this summer will include a tribute to the late Gambino crime family head.
Carmine Agnello has dropped his given name and is recording a “hip-pop” album as Carmine Gotti. The 24-year-old told the New York Daily News that he’s no longer the kid seen on the A&E reality show “Growing Up Gotti,” starring his mom, Victoria Gotti.
Renewed: FX has ordered a second season of “Justified,” the western drama starring Timothy Olyphant.