Review: ‘Fox Tuesday Night Movie Divas’

Filmed in Los Angeles and Seattle by the Thomas Carter Co. and Warner Bros. TV. Executive producer, Thomas Carter; producer, Ira Marvin; director, Carter; writers, Kario Salem, Carter; camera, Ron Garcia; editors, Sabrina Plisco-Morris, Michael Ornstein; production designer, Laurence Bennett; sound, Sunny Meyer; music, Stephen James Taylor. TX:Cast: Khalil Kain, Nicole Ari Parker, Tammy Townsend, Fatima Lowe, Lisa Carson, William Allen Young, Marc Gomes, Tina Lifford, Harold Pruett, Rose Jackson, Clyde Jones, Clifton Powell, Bill Cobbs, Drew Sidora, Stephen Harper, Rhona Bennett, Darryl Rock Davis, David McKnight, Daniel Hutchison, Adrienne Brett, Michael Holden, Maury Ginsburg, Robert John, Dana Point, Linda Kim, Christine Hurley, Danielle Allen, Diane Woods Carter. Thomas Carter knows what he wants and how to get it, a quality attributed to Monte (Khalil Kain), the young songwriter-producer who hustles the R&B group Divas to success in this Fox made-for. It's a well-told, mild-mannered yarn.

Filmed in Los Angeles and Seattle by the Thomas Carter Co. and Warner Bros. TV. Executive producer, Thomas Carter; producer, Ira Marvin; director, Carter; writers, Kario Salem, Carter; camera, Ron Garcia; editors, Sabrina Plisco-Morris, Michael Ornstein; production designer, Laurence Bennett; sound, Sunny Meyer; music, Stephen James Taylor. TX:Cast: Khalil Kain, Nicole Ari Parker, Tammy Townsend, Fatima Lowe, Lisa Carson, William Allen Young, Marc Gomes, Tina Lifford, Harold Pruett, Rose Jackson, Clyde Jones, Clifton Powell, Bill Cobbs, Drew Sidora, Stephen Harper, Rhona Bennett, Darryl Rock Davis, David McKnight, Daniel Hutchison, Adrienne Brett, Michael Holden, Maury Ginsburg, Robert John, Dana Point, Linda Kim, Christine Hurley, Danielle Allen, Diane Woods Carter. Thomas Carter knows what he wants and how to get it, a quality attributed to Monte (Khalil Kain), the young songwriter-producer who hustles the R&B group Divas to success in this Fox made-for. It’s a well-told, mild-mannered yarn.

The music, dancing and singing are a treat, the costumes (by Betty Pecha Madden) are fun, and the performances are exuberant, all reasons to overlook the conventionality of the material.

Monte is determined to strike gold with the four girls who sing and dance to his songs. It’s not clear who choreographs and there’s little if anything about the creative process. Focus is on Monte’s struggle for fame, and, to a lesser degree, the girls’ lives.

Monte falls for the latest addition to the group, ethereal Stephanie (Nicole Ari Parker). Sending her on a date with a slimy backer spells trouble. A record exec doesn’t stay for a show and the girls mutiny. Sippy (Bill Cobbs), an old-time blues man, falls ill and is treated to a hospital visit by Monte and the girls.

Respect is the mantra of Carter and Kario Salem’s script. Kain is on the callow side, befitting the character, and he’s forced to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the story. “Impresario” might have been a more appropriate title. Tammy Townsend stands out as Lynette.

Carter builds up anticipation for full numbers, which are only delivered in the last third.

Production has a look suggesting that “Divas” is meant to be a series pilot. Upbeat conclusion leaves the door open.

Fox Tuesday Night Movie Divas

(Tues. (19), 8-9:30 p.m., Fox)

Production

Carter, responsible for last season's canceled drama series "Under One Roof" (also set in Seattle), is a champion of middle-class African-American values. He directs this old-fashioned success story with a sure hand that helps overcome the corniness.

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