I started to read the headline of the press release in my email inbox with an enthusiasm that didn’t last much longer after I got to the word “unscripted.” Because we really need more reality TV series on TV, don’t we?
WE tv has ordered not one, but two new unscripted series centering on the lives of black women attorneys: “Ladies of Law” and “Sisters in Law.”
“Ladies of Law” follows four interconnected New York City-based powerful and glamorous African American female lawyers who specialize in entertainment law – an industry dominated by men. The project is produced by Eastern and Monami Entertainment, with exec producers Stefan Springman, Mala Chapple and Toby Barraud for Eastern, and Mona Scott-Young for Monami Entertainment.
The other series revolves around a group of give black women lawyers in Houston, Texas, who call themselves the “Sisters in Law.” The show follows their shared struggles for success in the legal field.
“Sisters in Law” is produced by Collins Avenue Entertainment and exec produced by Jeff Collins, Michael Hammond, Sandi Johnson, Bryan Stinson and Laura Halperin with producing partner Kim Coles.
“Legal dramas have long been a popular TV genre, but have not been represented in the unscripted space – until now,” said Marc Juris, WE tv’s president. “Working in concert with our production partners we actively sought to develop shows around topics that haven’t been explored, yet lend themselves naturally to great, buzzy stories and powerful characters. The very nature of ‘the law’ coupled with the intense personalities of lawyers gives us a wide range of storylines and characters to showcase. Behind each of these attorneys is a rich story waiting to be told.”
“Ladies of Law” and “Sisters in Law” both go into production this summer, with 2016 debuts eyed.
An obvious question here is whether WE tv will give audiences unscripted legal series that a black woman documentary filmmaker like Dawn Porter (“Gideon’s Army,” “Spies of Mississippi”) would be proud of, or something more, dare I say “rachetty,” akin to Bravo TV’s “Married to Medicine,” which is also supposed to be a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of professional black women, but looks like almost any other episode of “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” on VH1.