reginald hudlin*From throwing an epic “House Party” with Kid-n-Play and the late Robin Harris to gearing up to shine a  light on the life of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and one of his first cases, Reginald Hudlin has a knack for being at the right place at the right time.

Need proof?

Check out his second big screen endeavor, a little film you might know that came out in the ‘90s. They call it “Boomerang.”

With a cast of present and future household names, a hits-filled soundtrack and a story showcasing that rare thing in cinema called black love, Hudlin was the man who put the pieces together to direct a certified classic.

This year (2017) marks the 25th anniversary of “Boomerang,” which arrived in theaters on July 1, 1992, and starred Eddie Murphy as Marcus Graham, a successful, womanizing ad executive who meets his match in his boss Jacqueline Broyer, played by Robin Givens.

The romantic comedy – which featured Halle BerryMartin LawrenceTisha Campbell-MartinDavid Alan GrierGrace JonesJohn WitherspoonEartha Kitt and Chris Rock – was an alternative to dramatic works set in the rough streets of the hood. “Boomerang” proved a worthy follow up to Hudlin’s other classic film, 1990’s “House Party, ” raking in $13,640,706 on its opening weekend to secure a number three ranking at the box office that carried over in to its next two weekends. In all, more than $70 million was made domestically by the time “Boomerang” left the theater, in addition to $61 million overseas.

In less financial terms, Hudlin admits being “completely nervous” when feeling Murphy’s star power the first day he filmed “Boomerang.”

Eddie Murphy Boomerang“I remember the first day being completely nervous. Eddie Murphy was late to set and then they finally said, ‘He’s here.’ I had to walk across this big field, open field, with a gift to him and I, was so nervous, I felt my leg was heating up,” the filmmaker told EURweb.com while detailing how he and Murphy were on the same wavelength with getting “Boomerang” made years after meeting each other when “House Party” was released.

“We had met and talked about how we wanted to make movies together and spent a year throwing different ideas back and forth… he [Murphy] sent me this script and I thought, ‘Wow, this is the kind of movie you should be making next.’ It’s certainly the kind of movie I wanted to make next.

“But this is day one of actually making the movie and stakes were high and I had to be cool. And you just can’t never let them see you sweat,” Hudlin continued. “I just remember being very stressed, but I had to be on my job. So I just went over there and got to work.”

Although things were all business onset, there was too much fun in the air for everyone to remain in a serious state of mind. No matter what, Hudlin was confident he had a winner on his hands with “Boomerang.”

“Everyday we laughed. Every day we had a great time, so we knew we had something special. The chemistry that the entire cast had together was amazing. The sets, the wardrobe. Everything was just clicking. We always believed in the movie. I remember one point, somebody was questioning some of the casting. I said, ‘One day people are gonna look back and they won’t believe all these people were in the same movie,’” Hudlin stated about his all-star roster. “And that’s kind of what has happened. We’re at the point where people are like, ‘Wow, this is everybody we love all in the same movie and everyone got a chance to shine.’”

With the talent on hand, it wasn’t hard to see why the “Boomerang” cast brought their A-game to the table. In Hudlin’s eyes, the objective was to surround Murphy with those who could bring out the best in him.

“I really wanted to surround Eddie with the best possible people,” the director said. “I so often found that Eddie makes these great movies. It’s not that he didn’t have talented people with him, but I just thought, ‘God, what if we really, really ratched it up so that everyone in the movie is incredible. They may not be as famous as him, but they could just be incredible talent, particularly incredible black talent.”

Years later, “Boomerang” and it’s quotable scenes and lines are still remembered and acted out by fans, who never get tired of seeing a player getting a taste of his own medicine in the funniest ways possible.

“I’m just really grateful that the movie continues to be popular and I feel very fortunate that Eddie chose me for the job,” Hudlin stated. “I feel like we did something that we’re all really proud of. We got compliments from everybody from Lena Horne to Ice Cube and that’s about a wide a range as you can get. And they all love the movie. So I’m grateful that 25 years later, that people are still fans.”

As the chat continued, Hudlin took EURweb on a trip down memory lane to speak on acquiring Eartha Kitt for “Boomerang,” Murphy’s professional “turning point” with the ‘90’s romantic comedy and how Halle Berry could not resist the “seriousness” of Grace Jones’ Strangé.

EUR: How was it working with this level of talent while directing “Boomerang”? You had the best of the new (Halle Berry, Chris Rock, Tisha Campbell, Martin Lawrence and David Alan Grier) being early in their careers and you had veterans like Eddie Murphy, John Witherspoon, Eartha Kitt and Grace Jones. Was it overwhelming for you?

Reginald Hudlin: … the thing is, yeah. I mean you just have to keep a cool head and just be focused and be prepared. That’s the most important thing. Probably the most intimidating person was Eartha Kitt, just because I just kept thinking she had an affair with Orson Wells. I mean she cussed out the First Lady, you know. She’s a woman of such incredible achievement, such incredible strength …even getting her to do the film, she would say, ‘Well, maybe…’ We really had to talk her into it. So I was most self-conscious working with her because I just really wanted her to be pleased at all times.

eddie_murphy and eartha kitt EUR: How much of a challenge was it to bring Eartha Kitt into the fold?

RH: She wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a part that kind of just made fun of older people. And I understood that and that made sense to me. I didn’t see it that way. I thought she was a character who was in charge. She was in charge of her sexuality and she was the head of the business and she did what she wanted. And she played the player. Eddie thought he was a player, then he played her. And that was fitting with her image throughout her career and that’s how it came off, which was great. What I told her the movie would be is what it was.

EUR: With that and having ‘Boomerang’ set in a space where you have all these successful black people making an impact in the corporate setting, it was a different slice of life than what a lot of us were seeing onscreen. Was that one of the goals you had in mind with this movie, to present this different side of black life?

RH: Yeah, I mean it was a life I was very familiar with. Before my film career started, I worked in advertising in New York. There were several black ad agencies in Chicago, black ad agencies. Whether it was Motown Records, Johnson Publishing and the folks who do Ebony magazine, I knew people that worked at places like that. I had friends who were cool and corporate.

Usually, they tried to force black folks to like, ‘Either you’re a successful corporate person and you’re a cornball or you’re a cool guy, but you don’t really have a job. And I was like, ‘Well, that’s just a false choice.’ I thought cool people who were smart executives all the time. I wanted to tell a story that reflected the world that I knew firsthand. And it was shocking to some people. I know a lot of the white critics said, ‘Oh, it’s a science fiction movie’ or ‘Oh, what’s this?’ and I’m like, ‘You need more friends. You certainly need more black friends because if you don’t know this, that’s not on me. That’s on you.’

Particularly with Eddie Murphy, the reputation was kind of a fast-talking con man. And I love those movies too, but I remember the first time we showed Eddie the film, he said, ‘Aw man, I just look really comfortable in my own skin in this movie.’ And he was surprised himself that he really liked his performance in the film, which was wonderful.

EUR: It’s interesting to see him [Murphy] in this movie, knowing the types of films he did before. “Boomerang” is pretty strong on the theme of relationships. Everybody in this film is looking for something to fill that particular void. None of that is more present than seeing Marcus try to come to grips with needing more in his life as far as who he was, who he is and who he wants to be. This new type of role presents a whole ‘nother spin on him [Murphy]. He seems to be, at this present day and time, where Marcus ends up being at the end of “Boomerang.”

RH: Mmhmm

EUR: In your opinion, do you feel “Boomerang” marked a turning point for Eddie Murphy, professionally and personally?

RH: Yeah, I think it did. First of all, I think any actor wants to keep evolving. You don’t want to keep playing the same part over and over again your whole career. If you look at Tom Hanks, he started with ‘Bachelor Party’ and ends up doing all these movies that win Oscars. So I was excited to do a movie that would show another side of Eddie’s talent and show the incredible range that he was capable of.

And you’re right. Every man, you come to a point when you want to make a change. And particularly, if you’re a guy who’s a real ladies man. If you’re a real player, there’s a point where you go, ‘I had a great run, but now I want something more.’

And I remember Eddie, he was a giant superstar. He had an incredible track record as a single man dating, but I remember while we were making the movie, he announced that he was engaged. And we were like, ‘Oh. Ok, good for you.’ And it showed that he was ready to transition in his own life. I think that’s one of the things that contributed to his performance in the film, the fact that he was making that pivot himself.

EUR: Was that a bit of a surprise, working with him and seeing him rise to the level of what he brought to the project?

RH: It wasn’t a surprise to me because if you actually spend time with Eddie, you see the intelligence, the depth of his craft. He’s kind of like an iceberg. All the performances that we’ve seen of him is only the tip. And you realize that 2/3 of his ability is unseen, right. It’s underwater. So my thing as a director is how much of this iceberg can we lift into the public view. How can we show the incredible range of things he can do? So that was the task I kind of set for myself because once you spend time with him, you just go, ‘Wow, this guy can literally do anything.’

EUR: On a personal level, “Boomerang” struck a nerve with people back in ’92 and still holds weight today. At a time when films are released and soon forgotten, why does this film resonate with people after all these years?

RH: Well, I think that kind of coming of age moment of a man, it’s just something that’s a classic theme and everyone is always going to relate to that, men and women, because the characters in the film are relatable, both the male and the female characters…Even when you think about you and your friends, a lot of people go, ‘Wow, I can relate to the Martin character, the David Alan Grier character or the Eddie character because that’s like me and my friends. I’m one of those three guys.’

EUR: Obviously the film centers on Marcus being a player, but the roles are reversed when he meets Jacqueline. With the roles reversed, have you seen that from other people who have seen the film?

RH: I know a lot of women go, ‘I want to be Jacqueline, the Robin Givens character, but I feel like the Halle Berry character,’ [Angela], which is great. Which is one they aspire to be, the other one they feel represents them. That’s a comment I get from a lot of women.

With the guys, they just love it because I think when they see Robin’s character versus Eddie’s character; it feels like a fair fight. Whether you’re a man or a woman, just go like, ‘Ok these two, they deserve each other because they’re tough.’ They each are used to getting over. Eddie’s character is getting what he deserves because he’s a player and now he’s met his match and that’s really satisfying to folks. But ultimately, Eddie’s character wins because he’s able to escape kind of what I call the shopping list. Like, a woman’s got to have this, this, this and this and he just judges people for who they are.

And that’s the real breakthrough, when you stop thinking in kind of simplistic, material terms and just say, ‘Ok, there’s a spiritual connection’ and then everything else is on top of that.

EUR: Another memorable person was Grace Jones as Strangé. How outrageous was she? It was like she owned the role. She was off the chain.

RH: The great thing about Grace is that she’s a real method actress. So everything she did, she did 100. She completely committed to the role. She knew what was funny, but she took it seriously. She took the ridiculousness very seriously. And that’s what made it so funny. Like, there was a scene where she rejects a bottle and she throws it. So we’re rehearsing the scene, she threw that bottle so hard it bounced all over the room. I was like, ‘Oh God please, we only have two of these. Just don’t break it.’ but that’s here. She doesn’t give you 50 percent. She only has 100 percent and she worked with the costume designer. She designed her own costumes and so, she just has this incredible imagination in every art form.

And then the scene in the boardroom and she’s talking and then she spins and her blonde hair flies in to Halle Berry’s face. And I remember it was a real question of whether we were going to make it through the scene because Halle literally couldn’t stop laughing. Grace was so insane. And Grace did not crack a smile. She knew she was being funny, but she was dead serious about it and Halle just had tears streaming down her face. She was just so like, ‘Oh my God, look at her. Look at what she’s doing. Her butt cheeks are out.’ I mean it was just spectacular. She gave so much material. So when the hair fell on Eddie’s face, Eddie just knew exactly what to do. But to have that kind of character give Eddie something to bounce off of like that was just so great.

Look for Hudlin to continue making cinematic statements with his forthcoming film “Marshall.” The legal thriller, which Hudlin says centers on “a legal case early in the career of Thurgood Marshall,” will be released October 13. Chadwick Boseman will star in the title role along with Josh GadKate Hudson and “This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown.



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Angela Agrusa with Bill Cosby

*Another defense lawyer has asked to leave Bill Cosby’s team as it prepares for the comedian’s second trial on sexual assault charges in November.

Earlier this month, lead attorney, Brian McMonagle of Philadelphia announced he would quit the case, and now Cosby’s second lead attorney, Angela Agrusa of Los Angeles, filed paperwork Tuesday saying she also plans to step down.

Agrusa said in her motion to withdraw that Cosby is seeking new counsel but factors beyond his control, including summer and trial schedules and the “particularities of this high-profile and sensationalized matter” are slowing down the search.

As a result, Cosby is seeking to delay until Sept. 11 a pre-trial hearing in Norristown, Pa., set for Aug. 22 to discuss, among other matters, whether or not he will have new lawyers by then.

While no one on Cosby’s team is explaining the reason for McMonagle and Agrusa wanting off the case, but the actor’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, told USA Today “our new counsel will be in place by the end of the month.”

McMonagle and Agrusa headed the Cosby legal team that defended him at his June trial on three charges of aggravated indecent sexual assault against Andrea Constand, who accused him of drugging and molesting her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He denies wrongdoing, says their encounter was consensual.

After six days of trial testimony and five days of deliberations, the jury deadlocked, unable to agree on a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial. Kevin Steele, district attorney of Montgomery County, Pa., said he would retry Cosby and Judge Steven O’Neill set the new trial date for Nov. 6.

Steele objects to Cosby’s desire for a delay in the pre-trial hearing and asked O’Neill to deny it, according to documents in the case. Steele said Cosby has already missed two dates to sign up new lawyers and another postponement would further delay “the timely administration of justice in this matter.”



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Dez Bryant

*Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant thanked supporters in his East Texas hometown on Thursday (July 21) with a free barbecue that drew about 3,000 hungry people to a park.

The outdoor event in Lufkin included games and a chance to meet the NFL star as temperatures reached the 90s.

Lufkin police spokeswoman Jessica Pebsworth on Friday estimated the crowd at about 3,000 and said two people were treated for heat exhaustion, according to The AP.

Bryant says he decided a couple of days earlier to throw the catered event in Lufkin, a city of about 36,000 located 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of Houston.

View pics from the bbq below:

The line for barbecue at Dez Bryant’s hometown party at Kit McConnico Park.

Here is the turnout so far for Dez Bryant’s hometown party at Kit McConnico Park.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Dez Bryant hanging out in his hometown of Lufkin today. Invited the entire town out for BBQ and kickball. (Photo: @BlueStarBlog)

View image on Twitter

Dez Bryant repping his Lufkin Panthers in his hometown.

Kid playing catch with a Lufkin Police officer at Dez Bryant’s hometown party at Kit McConnico Park.

The Cowboys open camp next week at their West Coast training facility in Oxnard, California.




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*On Thursday (July 20), Madame Tussauds New York took down the Beyoncé wax figure that caused all kinds of outrage and backlash among the BeyHive, only to place it back on the floor Friday morning…with an updated look.

The original Caucasian-looking wax figure, which also lacked Beyonce’s curves and facial features, was criticized for its resemblance to other white artists like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

After the original statue — on display until September according to a now-deleted tweet from the museum’s account — was pulled from the floor on Thursday afternoon, a staff member told the New York Times that it would remain “off the floor until further notice.”

On Friday morning, however, Bey was back…and looking a bit different.

The museum told The Daily News that it had “adjusted the styling and lighting of her figure.” A photo of the alleged changes has yet to be released.

Earlier this week, a museum rep said Bey’s original figure looked different from the singer due to “lighting,” which “may distort and misrepresent the color of our wax figures.”

The company told Page Six, “At Madame Tussauds, our talented team of sculptors take every effort to ensure we accurately color match all of our wax figures to the celebrity being depicted. Lighting within the attraction combined with flash photography may distort and misrepresent the color of our wax figures which is something our sculptors are unable to account for at the production stage.”

Taraji P. Henson Joins ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Sequel; Will Smith Confirmed as Genie in ‘Aladdin’


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F9A483F7-D72A-4111-87B3-D951DA7A7512-768x768*Disney has officially announced its Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie for the live-action “Aladdin” remake.

Will Smith, who had been circling the role of Genie, has signed on the dotted line for the role alongside Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and relative newcomer Mena Massoud in the title role.

The original animated movie was a comic take on the Arabic folk tale of a young man granted three wishes by a genie trapped in a lamp.

The three cast members were announced Saturday at the D23 Expo in Anaheim Calif.

On Friday, Disney announced the addition of Taraji P. Henson to Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2,” due March 9, 2018.

The 2012 Oscar-nominated original followed Ralph, the villain of the arcade game “Fix-It Felix, Jr.,” on a journey to lose his bad guy reputation. Footage shown of the sequel showed Ralph and Vanellope heading into the Internet and being bombarded with people holding signs saying things like “Sexy housewives want to meet you” and “my sister-in-law got rich.”

Henson plays a new character named Yesss, who appears to be an expert on the world wide web and shows the pair around. Yesss introduces them to a Marvel-yourself booth and to all the Disney princesses, who are voiced by their original actresses, who it turns out are all very misunderstood (i.e., Jasmine is allergic to cats).

“Those perfect models of femininity are the princesses,” Yesss explains.



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*Mary J. Blige sat down with journalist Tamron Hall during a panel at the 2017 Essence Festival and opened up about her messy public divorce from husband Kendu Isaacs.  We at “The Industry Highlighter Magazine” have always been proud of Mary.  She is such an overcomer and fighter.

Speaking on her new album, aptly titled, “Strength of a Woman,” Blige explained the meaning behind this latest project and how her martial journey helped her find “real strength.”

“The journey that got us here is that every woman can relate to a woman out there fighting for her marriage,” she began. “When I first started writing this album I was fighting for my marriage. There were a lot of layers to me peeled back for this marriage. I really thought I did [find] the love of my life.”


Mary filed for divorce from her husband of 12 years in July of 2016, and last month she was ordered to pay Isaacs $30,000 a month in temporary spousal support.

“How is it that somebody gets to cheat and destroy everybody’s life but I’ve got to pay for it? That ain’t fair! ” she told the audience of mostly women.

“I don’t know if people seen the last eight or five years of my life, but its been hell,” Blige said. “And its been ugly and its been public and its been nasty. So, in the midst of all that. And the stuff that people don’t even know about — fighting for my life, fighting for my marriage, fighting for my morals and everything — I discovered my strength. My strength, my real strength is discovered.”

Mary admits that prayer got her through the darkest moments.

“Being Mary J. Blige the celebrity is secondary and I’m a human being first and I suffer just like everyone else,” said the singer. “I believe that I wasn’t given this career or this job as a singer or this gift from God to sit down and say, ‘I’m going to suffer from the world in silence and die.’ And it’s therapeutic for me as well. So, you know, that’s why. It’s not just for me.”

Now that marriage and divorce have helped Blige achieve true strength, she noted during the panel what she would tell her younger self.

“I would tell my 15-year old self to love yourself because people are going to love who you are in the future. They are going to love you.”

Check out a clip from GMA above.




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calls out steve harvey

*Hollywood heartthrob Christian Keyes is calling out Steve Harvey over the controversial comments he made about the Flint water crisis.

As previously reported, the comedian and radio host came under fire for telling a caller to “enjoy your nice brown glass of water”, following a debate over the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals loss to Golden State Warriors.

The Flint water crisis began in 2014 when the drinking water source for the city was changed to the Flint River. Due to insufficient water treatment, over 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water.

Television personality and host Steve Harvey speaks at the State Farm Color Full Lives Art Gallery during the 2016 State Farm Neighborhood Awards at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on July 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As reported by thejasmineBRAND.com, Keys took to social media to address Harvey’s offense comments, saying:

Nine thousand cases of lead poisoning. Three and four-year-olds out there who haven’t started speaking yet because the lead has left them disabled to a certain extent. They have not been able to develop properly.

He continued:

We supported you through a lot of stuff. If you did a show in Flint, guaranteed people would come out by the thousands spending money they don’t even have to come see and support you to take their minds off what they are going through. And you on there cracking jokes about the dirty polluted water telling the Flint native “enjoy his glass of brown dirty water” You should be ashamed of yourself. You set a terrible example.

Keyes ended his criticism with:

I know accidents happen. This is a perfect time for you to lift up that heavy ass mustache you yours and apologize to the city of Flint. Have some class man. Message! Let’s see if he is man enough to make right what he did wrong to the city of Flint.

See the clip below:




*Actresses Tika Sumpter and Carmen Ejogo are headed to the big screen in separate projects.

Production company CorradoMooncoin has cast Sumpter, Ben Tavassoli and Jamie Lee Curtis in the political thriller “The Pages,” according to Variety. The female-driven story of obsession, betrayal, and regret begins principal photography in Chicago this week.

Sumpter plays a former top security advisor threatened by associates from her dark past including a steely politician — played by Curtis — with an unwavering knack for achieving her goals.

Joe Chappelle directs from his own script.

Sumpter recently portrayed the young Michelle Robinson (Obama) in the feature film “Southside With You,” and currently stars in Tyler Perry’s series “The Haves and the Have Nots” on OWN. She’ll next be seen in David Lowery’s “Old Man and the Gun.”

Ejogo, meanwhile, joins the cast of Sony’s untitled Denzel Washington thriller from writer/director Dan Gilroy.

The project, formerly known as “Inner City,” tells of a Los Angeles attorney who is offered a job at a prestigious law firm after the death of his longtime partner and takes on a case that has life-altering repercussions.

Ejogo has been cast as one of the female leads, a worker at a civil rights organization.

In addition to “Alien: Covenant,” Ejogo currently appears onscreen in the horror movie “It Comes at Night” and appeared in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” as Seraphina Picquery.



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The parents of Mike Brown, the Ferguson, MO black teen who was shot and killed by then officer Darren Wilson, have reportedly reached a settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit.

USA Today reports that a federal judge approved the settlement for an undisclosed amount on Tuesday (06-20-17). U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber reportedly sealed the settlement terms due to the sensitivity of the agreement.

“The settlement agreement shall remain sealed by this Court and shall be considered a closed record under Missouri Revised Statute . . . due to the adverse impact to Plaintiffs should it be disclosed,” Webber wrote in the settlement approval documents. “Disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators. The public policy to consider records open is outweighed by the adverse impact to Plaintiffs.”


mike brown's parents

While the terms of the settlement are sealed, the suit reportedly alleges that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Brown, violated the victim’s civil rights by way of “unlawful detention and the use of excessive and deadly force,” USA Today reports. The suit also accused the former police chief of failing to hire, train, and conduct a proper and fair investigation into Mike Brown’s death. According to court documents, Brown’s family accused the police department of having “a custom or policy of negligently hiring and retaining officers, failing to properly train and/or supervise officers in the use of deadly force.”

Whatever the amount was that he ruled for, Judge Webber said the settlement was “fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death claim and is in the best interests” of Brown’s family.



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*Steve Harvey has squeezed yet another job onto his resume.

You may have already seen his new competition series “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome,” thanks to a hacker who uploaded eight episodes to an illegal file sharing site earlier this week. But ABC, today, released an extended clip from the June 11 season premiere.

Created by Harvey and “Shark Tank” producer Mark Burnett, the series has entrepreneurs going head-to-head in pitching their ideas and winning seed money for their fledgling business.Screen-Shot-2017-06-08-at-5.17.51-PM

Contestants could pocket anywhere from $10,000 – $100,000, based on their ability to convince a live studio audience that they deserve to be funded.

Watch the First Look clip below: