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4 Programming Premieres Featuring African American Personalities To Watch On TV This Weekend

4 Programming Premieres Featuring African American Personalities To Watch On TV This Weekend

A busy TV weekend lies ahead, especially where black actors (and non actors) are concerned, since that’s the part of this blog’s focus. So get ready for an attack of the senses (or set your DVRs).

First, originally set to premiere last month, in celebration of Black History MonthLifetime moved the debut date for its film adaptation of the recent all-black Broadway revival of The Trip to Bountiful, starring Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood and Keke Palmerto March 8, 2014, which is tomorrow, Saturday, at 8/7c.

The Trip to Bountiful is based on American playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote’s Tony nominated play of the same name, which is set during the final years of the Jim Crow South, and follows one woman’s quest to reconnect with her past in order to ensure her family’s future. 

The trailer for the film is embedded below (click on below for the second offering):

Second, Omar Epps stars in the ABC TV serial adaptation of author Jason Mott’s debut novel, The Returned, now officially titled Resurrection, which premieres this SundayMarch 9, at 9/8c,

Note: this has absolutely no connection to the French series titled The Returned, that the Sundance Channel picked up for USA audiences.

You might recall the December 2012 announcement that Mott’s novel had been optioned by Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company, with the goal being to develop a TV drama series for ABC, based on the “high concept” novel.

Tambay interviewed Jason soon after that announcement which you can read HERE, if you missed it.

The novel, The Returned, was eventually published during the second half of 2013.

The series premieres this Sunday, March 9, at 9/8c, competing with AMC’s The Walking Dead, which might be tough on ratings initially.

Here’s its short synopsis:

A family gets caught up in a worldwide
event in which loved ones return from the dead exactly as they last
were in life. Lucille and Harold Hargrave wonder: Is their dead
eight-year-old son’s return a miracle or an impending sign of something
horrible? 

Omar Epps stars in the series as Martin Bellamy, who’s described as:

… an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He’s a former cop who joined ICE when he got involved with a case involving the trafficking of children. He’s empathetic with a soft spot for kids — despite not having a family of his own — and is fascinated by Jacob (newcomer Landon Gimenez), a mysterious boy who popped up from nowhere in the middle of rural China.


Epps leads a cast that includes Kurtwood Smith, Devin Kelley, Matt Craven, Frances Fisher, Sam
Hazeldine
, Samaire Armstrong, Nicholas Gonzalez and Mark Hildreth.

ABC has released a 3-minute preview of the series, which is embedded below:

Third, renowned African American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, will host Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, the long-awaited follow-up to, Cosmos: A Personal VoyageCarl Sagan’s iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science. 

The new series, executive produced and written by Ann Druyan and executive produced Seth MacFarlane, will be hosted by 

The 13-part docu-series will premiere on FOX this Sunday, March 9, also at 9/8c, competing with Omar Epps’ Ressurrection on ABC and The Walking Dead on AMC. The Sunday 9/8c hour looks to become a competitive one. Let’s see who survives. 

The new series will explore how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time.

Here’s a longer description of the upcoming iteration of the franchise:

Hosted by world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series aspires to awaken a global audience to the wonders of the universe, as revealed by the awesome power of the scientific perspective. Executive producer Brannon Braga serves as the primary director of the series, with cinematographer Bill Pope also directing. The new COSMOS will feature animated sequences with guest voices from MacFarlane and an array of talent to be announced. COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY will invent new modes of scientific storytelling to reveal the grandeur of the universe and re-invent celebrated elements of the original series, including the Cosmic Calendar and the Ship of the Imagination. Uniting skepticism and wonder, and weaving rigorous science with visual, emotional and spiritual elements, it will be a transcendent experience – a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale we know.

One of the world’s most beloved science series, the original Cosmos: A Personal Voyage was a watershed moment in nonfiction television, when it premiered in 1980. For 33 years, the series has remained in ongoing worldwide distribution, seen by more than 750 million people in more than 175 countries. In the United States, the series was the most highly-rated public television series at its time of broadcast, and held that record for a decade. It was also the recipient of three primetime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award.

Big shoes for Neil deGrasse Tyson to fill.

The trailer for the new deGrasse Tyson-era of Cosmos premiered at Comic-Con, and has finally made its way online. As a science geek, I dig the epic-ness that they seem to be going for here! It starts with Sagan’s voice, who then *hands the mic* over to deGrasse Tyson to take over for him. 

Check out the series’ trailer:

And finally, fourth, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network announced earlier this week that a retooled version of her hit Sunday night interview series, Oprah’s Next Chapter, will now be called Oprah Prime, which will kick off in its new form this Sunday, March 9, at 10/9c only on OWN, when she sits for an intimate one-on-one conversation with Russell Brand, as the pair delves into the impact of drug addiction (Brand brands himself a recovering addict).

“When ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter’ launched two years ago, it gave Oprah the platform to explore the world in a fresh and meaningful way,” said Sheri Salata, president, OWN. “As the show has evolved into more topical conversations with newsmakers and celebrities, ‘Oprah Prime’ provides a wider lens for Oprah to intimately explore topics that matter and the public figures who are making a difference, as only she can.”

“Oprah Prime” will take an in-depth look at some of the most important issues facing us today, as well as headline-making current events through compelling interviews and thoughtful discussions with newsmakers, celebrities, luminaries, and real-life families. 

The series is produced by Harpo Studios. Executive produced by Andrea Wishom and Tara Montgomery. Viewers can join the conversation on Twitter using #OprahPrime.

For more information visit: www.oprah.com

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Comments

C. Kay

I agree with the last comment. Why can't there be another Cosby type show on TV? Just an ordinary comedy where middle class folks can be entertaining without destroying the English language. It's the problem I have with Tyler Perry movies and other Black programs. I want to see programs and movies where any color actors could play the parts. As a retired English teacher, it was difficult enough to teach the language arts without having media fight against progress. There needs to be some balance…

JulieB

YES!!! Thank goodness I came on this site today. This looks like a quality film, and something that I'm interested in. I would've never know, and would've missed it!

Heather

Now THIS is what I read Indiewire for. Thanks for the heads up! I've missed seeing Omar Epps on TV…

Winston

I am so SICK of these types of films. That photo of Underwood and Tyson looks just like a scene out of "Mama Flora's Heart"– another TV movie about Jim Crow times. As actors, they're better than this. I really wish we'd get some contemporary tales about black people in this world. I'm TIRED of seeing shit about JIM CROW, SLAVERY, WAR IN AFRICA, BAD RECORD DEALS, DRUG ADDICTION, FAMINE IN AFRICA, and all that other bad shit. We do other shit, too, you know? We LAUGH. We LOVE. We DREAM ABOUT OUTER SPACE. I'm tired of this shit!

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