With the show set to return to air on September 22, I was hoping for a few spoilers, but alas, it was not to be.
Instead, the interview with Nicole, Danai, Alfre and LaVerne consisted of mostly chit-chat about the new spate of show’s set to debut this fall that either star, or co-star African American women.
For those of you not in the know, as it stands right now Kerry Washington and Nicole Beharie are only two black women to helm their own shows via the four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX).
This fall will bring a slight shift when Viola Davis’ “How to Get Away with Murder” makes its debut behind “Scandal” on September 25th at 10pm and Alfre’s “State of Affairs” makes its debut November 7th.
Also getting new fall shows this year are Octavia Spencer, Tracie Ellis Ross and quite a few others. What makes Viola and Alfre special is that they either lead or co-lead their shows, something that is an absolute rarity for sistas these days.
Personally, I am really stoked about “How to Get Away with Murder” because Viola is an amazing actress and you can bet your sweet patootie that if the show does as well as “Scandal” in the ratings ABC and other networks will be bending over backwards to hire other black women to helm shows as well.
FYI- someone asked a few weeks ago why I hadn’t mentioned Meagan Good’s new show “Babylon Fields” and the answer is simple- the show is now listed as a made for TV movie on IMDB and is more than likely not going to be a series. Meagan probably isn’t sweating the turn of events as she has three new movies set for a 2015 release: “Doctor Me,” “Loose” and “You Have a Nice Flight.”
Getting back to the upcoming fall line-up, it is imperative as black women that we support shows like “Sleepy Hollow”, “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” TV is all about viewership and advertiser dollars. When the “Cosby Show” took off in the 80’s we saw a spate of black TV sitcoms. Likewise with all these teen shows, vampire shows and what have you. If it sells we will see more of them.
If the major networks see they can sell a show with a black (looking) female lead then they will continue to try and do just that. Money talks. Few people know ABC had no faith in “Scandal” and that the show languished in TV hell for almost two years before it was finally given an air date.
Shonda Rhimes clearly got the last laugh with that one, as “Scandal” consistently wins its time slot, is one of the most tweeted about shows on air and has made a cultural and fashion icon out of Olivia Pope.
Back to Essence, check out a few more inside pics below. There is also a great interview with the ladies and Cox that you can view if you download the issue digitally via iTunes.
Update: It appears Octavia Spencer is being touted as the lead of the Fox comedy “Red Band Society,” set to debut on FOX September 17th.