Maybe not since the early to mid-1990s, when Hanging With Mr Cooper, Sister, Sister, and Family Matters were all on air on ABC, have we seen this many shows centered around the lives of black characters on the network, at the same time.
And let’s not forget those that have yet to be ordered to series (but just might, as mid-season replacements), including projects from Keenen Ivory Wayans, Kevin Hart, Sheldon Candis and rapper/actor Eve.
ABC is proving to be competition for the likes of BET (as it revamps its lineup with more scripted original material), TV One and other black TV networks.
Here’s your first look at footage from one of the new series the network ordered with fall 2014 debuts scheduled – the Kenya Barris
half-hour scripted comedy titled Black-ish
, starring Anthony Anderson
, and produced by Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy
Based on Barris’ own life (loosely), Black-ish will follow an upper-middle class black man, intent on raising his kids with some sense of cultural identity, in the face of an assault of constant contradictions and obstacles coming from various directions, insisting that his children be color-blind.
“I decided to do this project when I looked up and realized that everywhere I go I’m constantly the fly in buttermilk… I’m usually THE Black guy at work. We’re THE Black family in the neighborhood. My kids are basically THE Black kids at school. I think it’s kind of a situation of be careful what you wish for. It’s almost in like moving on up, I’ve sort of priced myself “out” of being Black,” said Barris.
Anderson plays the lead, with Tracee Ellis Ross
as his wife, and Fishburne as his father.
Black-ish is produced by Fishburne and his producing partner Helen Sugland, with Tom Russo, Anderson and Barris exec producing, along with Peter Principato, Paul Young and Brian Dobbins.
Barris’ writing credits also include (Are We There Yet?, Soul Food, Girlfriends, The Game) and he’s also co-creator of America’s Next Top Model.
Graduating from pilot order to series order is a large step in the right direction. Let’s hope the series delivers what its target audience wants, and sticks around for a little while.
Watch the full trailer below: