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TV News Roundup: VH1 Announces ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 12 Contestants

In today’s TV news roundup, VH1 revealed the contestants for the upcoming season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the Oprah Winfrey Network renewed several of its unscripted series.

CASTING

VH1 revealed the 13 queens that will be competing on the 12th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are Aidenn Zhane, Bria, Crystal Methyd, Dahlia Sin, Gigi Goode, Heidi N Closet, Jackie Cox, Jaida Essence Hall, Jan, Nicky Doll, Rock M. Sakura, Sherry Pie and Widow Von’Du. The season will premiere Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. on the cabler.

David Arquette will guest star on an upcoming episode of “Deputy, Variety has learned exclusively. Arquette will appear in the seventh episode of the first season, which is currently airing on Fox, playing a man named Roger Durbin who is described as “the kind of guy who has blended in his whole life. But behind the affable façade, lies his secret world — one where he’s free to play out his deranged fantasies.” When an accident tips off the Sheriff’s department to what Roger’s been up to, he will do whatever it takes to keep his small world from changing. The series stars Stephen Dorff, Yara Martinez, Brian Van Holt, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Shane Paul McGhie, Mark Moses and Danielle Moné Truitt, and is produced by creator Will Beall, as well as David Ayer, Chris Long and Barry Schindel.

Tosin Cole and Bentley Green have joined the cast of AMC’s “61st Street. Led by Courtney B. Vance, “61st Street” is a courtroom drama that follows a young black high school athlete entangled in Chicago’s criminal justice system. The show is executive produced by showrunner Peter Moffat and J. David Shanks, as well as Michael B. Jordan and Alana Mayo of Outlier Society, and Hilary Salmon. It will premiere in 2021 and was ordered as a two-season event.

DATES

A 30-minute documentary that takes viewers behind the scenes of Netflix’s “EastSiders” is launching on YouTube Jan. 23Variety has learned exclusively. The documentary will feature interviews with series creator Kit Williamson, original cast members Constance Wu, Van Hansis, Traci Lords, Brea Grant, John Halbach, and drag stars Willam, Katya and Manila Luzon, giving thanks to fans of the series and recounting their experiences creating the show.

RENEWALS

OWN has renewed four of its unscripted series: “Love & Marriage: Huntsville,” “Ready to Love,” “Black Women OWN the Conversation” and Black Love.” Each series has an upcoming season set for later this year.

“Love & Marriage: Huntsville” follows three successful couples in Huntsville, Ala. and their mission to revitalize the region through real estate ventures. The program is produced by kingdom Reign Ent. and ITV America with Carlos King, Angela Dugan, Bernie Schaeffer, Brent Nisbett and Andrew Hoagland serving as executive producers.

Hosted by Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles, “Ready to Love” is a dating series exploring the experiences of black men and women looking for lasting romantic relationships. The show’s upcoming season will move the action to Houston, Texas. The series is produced by Will Packer Media and Lighthearted Ent and executive produced by Will Packer Media’s Packer and Kelly Smith, Lighthearted’s Rob LaPante and Jeff Spangler, and Anthony Sylvester.

In partnership with OZY Media, “Black Women OWN the Conversation” is hosted by Carlos Watson and features conversations between him and celebrities, thought leaders and black women discussing important issues. The series is produced by Carlos Watson, Samir Rao, Jennifer Ryan and Marion Cunningham.

From married filmmakers Codie Elaine Oliver and Tommy Oliver, “Black Love” explores love stories form the black community and examines how couples make their marriage lasting. The Olivers began the show as newlyweds, but as the program enters its fourth season, they have now been married five years and the show’s topics continue to change and deepen along with their relationship.

CANCELLATIONS

Ambitions has been canceled by OWN after only a single season. The Will Packer and Jamey Giddens-created series followed rivaling lawyers and former college best friends, Stephanie (Robin Givens) and Amara (Essence Atkins), as they experienced daily tribulations in their professional and personal lives. “We’re thankful to Will Packer, Jamey Giddens and the entire cast and crew of ‘Ambitions’ for their creativity and hard work on the show. Every week they delivered great drama, intrigue and a lot of fun storytelling,” said Tina Perry, president, OWN, in a statement. “We look forward to continue working with Will Packer and his talented team of collaborators in the future.”

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