Malcolm D. Lee’s Blackmaled Productions has bolstered its executive ranks by naming Emmy-nominated producer Dominique Telson as executive VP of film and television and announcing three new key hires and promotions within the company.
Blackmaled’s new hires include Michael Scott Allen as the VP of television and Giselle Johnson as director of film. Chigo Menakaya, who has worked for the company since 2020, has been promoted to creative executive and leads Blackmaled’s unscripted content department. All three team members report to Telson and are based out of the company’s West Coast office on the Universal lot in Los Angeles.
The executive moves come hot off the success of “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” which launched on Peacock in December and rates as the streamer’s biggest debut ever. Telson served as an executive producer on the project, which concluded the franchise following 1999’s “The Best Man” and 2013’s “The Best Man Holiday,” both written and directed by Lee. Variety exclusively reported that the eight-part limited series also became Peacock’s first original project to crack Nielsen’s Top 10 streaming rankings. The popular limited series has also been nominated for seven NAACP Image Awards and a GLAAD Award.
With the formal addition of Telson to lead Blackmaled’s film and television divisions, the company continues its mission of “telling diverse stories that contribute to changing and amplifying narratives of people of color.”
“I am very excited about the direction that Blackmaled Productions is moving,” Lee said in a statement announcing Telson’s hiring. “Dominique Telson is a force of nature who has been instrumental in bringing diverse and impactful stories to the forefront over her long and varied career.”
He continued: “A talented producer, she has been supportive of my career from its infancy and getting to partner with her on ‘The Best Man: The Final Chapters’ was a full circle moment in my journey. I am thrilled to be in this moment where Dominique and I can bring to the forefront our shared vision of amplifying narratives of people of color and continue to impact the entertainment industry in its ever-evolving ways.”
In addition to her work on “The Best Man” franchise, Telson has produced films including “Good Girl Jane,” “Boxing Day,” “Here Today” and “Best of Enemies.” She also executive produced the Independent Spirit Award-winning film “Premature,” “Short History of the Long Road” and “An Interview With God.” In television, Telson produced “5th Ward,” executive produced more than 25 Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Movie Network films, and was the longtime VP of original programming for Showtime Networks.
“Being part of ‘The Best Man’ franchise was a career changing experience and gave me a front row seat to the genius of Malcolm D. Lee,” said Telson. “Together, we have already made television history with the release of ‘The Best Man: The Final Chapters.’ We can now build on that momentum and continue to make projects we are passionate about and that reflect a myriad of dynamic and diverse stories.”
Allen joins Blackmaled from Jim Parsons’ That’s Wonderful Productions (TWP), where he most recently served as director of development under the company’s overall deal at Warner Bros. Television. During his tenure at the company, which saw him rise from an assistant to creative executive and director, Allen served as a co-producer on Netflix’s “Special”, an associate producer on the Focus Features film “Spoiler Alert” and oversaw production on behalf of the company for Season 2 and 3 of Fox’s “Call Me Kat.” Allen began his career in entertainment as an actor; he transitioned into development after executive producing the 2015 documentary feature “Twinsters,” which premiered at SXSW and sold to Netflix and Freeform. Prior to TWP, he served as an assistant to producer F.J. Desanto (“Transformers: War of Cybertron”).
Johnson joins the company from the Sony Pictures label Screen Gems, where she served as a development and production executive and helped oversee the upcoming horror releases “True Haunting” and “The Pope’s Exorcist.” Prior to joining Screen Gems, the Howard University graduate served on Netflix’s original studio film team, where she worked on such films including “Spenser Confidential,” “Da 5 Bloods,” “The Harder They Fall” and “The Curse of Bridge Hollow.”
“Dominique and I feel very fortunate to have Giselle Johnson and Michael Allen joining us at Blackmaled,” Lee said of the new hires. “They are a powerhouse duo that are ready to roll up their sleeves and engage with the talent around town so we can continue to make great content for the culture and for the industry.”
Menakaya joined Blackmaled as an assistant in 2020 and was elevated to executive in 2021, working across the film and TV divisions during her tenure. Blackmaled’s slate of films in development include “The Fall” for Amblin Partners; “I Almost Forgot About You,” “Real Talk” and “The Classic” at Universal; “The Spoils” for Lionsgate; and “Brotherly,” based on Boyz II Men’s musical catalog, at Amazon.
Lee and Blackmaled Productions are represented by A3 Artists Agency; Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein, Lezcano, Bobb & Dang; and BazanPR.