A big question mark looms over Hollywood at this time of the year. It’s pilot season and this year’s proposed new crop of network shows is now in production. Which of these shows will be break-out hits, which will flop and which shows will never see the light of day or night on TV?
When Fox debuted “Empire” executives didn’t expect such a record breaking show. “Empire” had critics, suits and bean counters all scratching their heads. And all of a sudden Black storylines with a punch, and Black performers were suddenly seen has hot commodities.
Networks have no shame in being ‘copycats.’ Everyone is looking for an “Empire” so-to-speak to win the ratings war. And that’s a good thing because more Blacks and other people of color will get jobs in front of and behind the camera.
Here is a list of Black stars that hopefully you will see on the fall season schedule. Due to the large number of Black stars (YAY!), I only have space for show title, stars name and brief summary.
Just announced this week, “Famous” the sitcom focuses on a young couple tested by the wife’s instant fame when a music video goes viral on the web and she gets a record deal. The producing team of Ralph Farquhar (“Real Husbands of Hollywood”) and Ty Hodges (“A Girl Like Grace”) are the creators and producers. No casting has been set. However, Fox is eyeing a June 12 premiere.
Starring Niecy Nash. (Fox’s Scream Queens) Female buddy comedy with dreams of being police officers.
Damon Wayans Sr. as Murtaugh and Martin Riggs as his partner. Based on the feature film hit of the same name.
Centers on a young female pitcher (Kylie Bunbury (“Under the Dome”) who becomes the first woman, and happens to be Black, to play in the major leagues.
Shots Fired (straight to series)
Sanaa Lathan stars an expert investigator who digs into cases. Cast: Sanaa Lathan
Team: W/EP Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood; EP Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo; D Prince Bythewood (Black Owned Production Company)
The Atlanta-set drama revolves around three girls who come together to form a band. Cast: Queen Latifah, Benjamin Bratt. Team: W/EP Lee Daniels, Tom Donaghy (“Empire”; EP Pamela Oas Williams, Effie Brown)
A coach starts from scratch with a diverse group of 8-year-olds, and their disparate parents. Cast: Wanda Sykes, Michael Mosley
A young woman and small-town mayor fake a miracle to save her bankrupt town. Cast: Jackee Harry, Casey Wilson,
Marvel’s Most Wanted
A second spinoff from “Agents of SHIELD,” the drama follows the adventures of Bobbi Morse (aka Mockingbird) and Lance Hunter.
Cast: Delroy Lindo, Oded Fehr, Fernana Andrade
Set in an alternate history where gas and coal fuel the world, this genre soap centers on the battle for power between two rival families and a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention that could level both their empires. Cast: Vondie Curtis-Hall, Antonia Thomas
Time After Time
The epic adventures of young H.G. Wells (Freddie Stroma, UnREAL) and his time machine. Cast: Jordin Sparks, Regina Taylor
A ruthless Dallas divorce attorney’s life begins to unravel when her emotionally damaged, love-addicted sister resurfaces triggering self-destructive tendencies and exposing long-hidden family secrets.
Cast: Blair Underwood, Anna Paquin, Penelope Ann Miller
Real Good People
A conservative, small town family is forced to reconcile their values when they discover their children’s lives are less than perfect.
Cast: David Keith, Nick Zano, Lenora Crichlow
Based on the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw during his days as head of one of the most prolific trial consulting services of all time.
Cast: Michael Weatherly, Freddy Rodriguez, Christopher Jackson Hamilton
Centers on a successful defense lawyer at a boutique firm who gets romantically involved with one of her clients. Cast: Katherine Heigl, Dule Hill, Laverne Cox
Described as a reimagining that begins 15 years after the 2001 film left off, the reboot centers on an idealistic young African American police officer.
Cast: Justin Cornwell, Bill Paxton
Comedy loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans’ life. Cast: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Bresha Webb, Diallo Riddlle
Team: W/EP Chris Moynihan; P/T Marlon Wayans; EP Rick Alvarez, Michael Rotenberg
A serialized comedy following a young big-city lawyer (Nick D’Agosto) and his oddball defense team.
Cast: Nick D’Agosto, John Lithgow, Sherri Shepherd
A spinoff featuring characters appearing on “Chicago PD.”
Cast: Carl Weathers, Lorraine Toussaint
Taken (straight to series)
A modern-day prequel to Luc Besson’s feature of the same name that starred Liam Neeson.
Cast: Jennifer Beals, Clive Standen
A female police detective in 2016 discovers she is able to speak via a ham radio with her estranged father (also a detective) who died in 1996. But there are consquences.
Cast: Peyton List (“The Flash”), Mekhi Phifer