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HBO Max Signs Selena Gomez to Produce Cooking Series, Jean Smart for Comedy Series

Fern Siegel

When HBO Max debuts May 27, it can add two big names to its roster: singer-actress Selena Gomez (“The Big Short,” “Fundamentals of Caring”) and three-time Emmy winner Jean Smart.

Gomez is enlisted for the 10-episode “Untitled Cooking Project,” which launches this summer. The premise: Gomez joins a master chef — remotely — and they share cuisines and food tips, especially valuable given quarantine restrictions. The show is about learning to cook, but each episode also showcases a food charity.

“I’ve always been very vocal about my love of food. I’ve been asked hundreds of times in interviews if I had another career, what would I do — and I’ve answered that it would be fun to be a chef. I definitely don’t have the formal training though! Like many of us while being home, I find myself cooking more and experimenting in the kitchen,” stated Gomez.

The versatile performer will executive produce the series, along with Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman. The trio executive produced Netflix’s documentary “Living Undocumented.”

Earlier this year, Gomez released her critically acclaimed album “Rare,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Separately, HBO Max has signed Smart (“Designing Women,” “Samantha Who?”) to a 10-episode comedy series from the “Broad City” writer-producer creative team: Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky. Aniello is also executive producer and director of Netflix’s upcoming “The Baby-Sitters Club.”

The comedy casts Smart as a Las Vegas diva who mentors an entitled 25-year-old outcast.
Downs said it was “a privilege to craft and portray complex, female characters. For far too long, male voices dominated the space, both on-and-off screen, and thankfully that has finally changed.”

Smart also stars alongside Melissa McCarthy in the streamer’s AI comedy “Superintelligence,” scheduled for a 2020 release.

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