UPN: More big names

Latifah, Hudson to exec produce laffers

UPN continues to recruit big names to work behind the cameras, inking deals with thesps Queen Latifah and Kate Hudson to exec produce a pair of laffers for the net.

Latifah is exec producing “WHOT,” a new take on “WKRP in Cincinnati” about a young white woman who gets hired as the station manager for a hip-hop radio station. Buddy Sheffield (“In Living Color”) and David Sheffield (“The Nutty Professor”) will write and exec produce, with Shakim Compere also onboard as exec producer.

Last season, Oscar-nommed Latifah (“Chicago”) was attached as an exec producer on a CBS drama pilot that didn’t go forward. She’ll next be seen in “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” from MGM.

“WHOT” is being produced by HBO Independent Prods. in association with Latifah’s Flavor Unit shingle.

Meanwhile, UPN has teamed with Hudson for “I Do, I Did, Now What,” a half-hour comedy based on the bestselling book by Jenny Lee about what happens to modern couples after they get hitched.

Hudson will exec produce via her Cosmic Entertainment shingle, with Dan Cohen & F.J. Pratt (“Less Than Perfect”) onboard as writers-exec producers.

UPN has given script commitments to both projects, with a decision on whether to greenlight the concepts to pilot expected in the next few weeks.

Most recently seen in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” and “Le Divorce,” Hudson is working on Garry Marshall’s “Raising Helen.”

The Latifah and Hudson projects continue UPN Entertainment topper Dawn Ostroff’s stated strategy of recruiting major names to develop for TV. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are exec producing the net’s frosh hit “All of Us,” while Tyra Banks is behind reality hit “Top Model” and Eve co-exec produces her own laffer for the net.

This season, UPN is developing projects with Mel Gibson, Samuel L. Jackson and Kelsey Grammer.

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