Brown Sistas Coming to Your TV Screen this Fall


My October issue of Essence magazine just came through and I was too excited to open it up and read all about my favorite new actress: Sleepy Hollow’s Nicole Beharie, who plays the show’s pint-size leftenant Abbie Mills.

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.


  1. I’m happy for these women and I’m excited for the shows’ return! Namely, “Sleepy Hollow” (I need Icky in my life. I need the plutonic-IchAbbie relationship in my life), “Scandal” (Shonda you betta do right be us. Don’t let Liv be with a man who puts her in a chokehold every time she upsets him), “How to Get Away With Murder” (Yas!) and “State of Affairs” (Yas!)

    And on an aside, I’m ready for more “Justified”. Yes LAWD, Timothy Oliphant is one fine, FINE creation!

  2. As usual, I will certainly be supporting Sleepy Hollow and Scandal (I wonder who will replace Columbus Short…Hill Harper please..?) I am super excited to watch Viola (LOVE HER)in How to get Away with Murder. I will also try watching Blackish with Tracee Ellis Ross and the Show with Octavia Spencer, which is about terminally ill children in a hospital (looks kinda interesting). I may watch State of Affairs to support Alfre, however Katherine Hiegel sp? is the star and I DON’T LIKE HER. If you all remember she was on Grey’s Anatomy and famously took her name out of contention for an Emmy stating the writing for her character didn’t warrant consideration for an award.!! Shonda Rhimes writes and created that show and she was none to pleased to hear that. Yet, this woman is given a new show after her movie career tanked. I see Isaiah Washington hasn’t been offered his own show and he’s a boss actor..We know why… Anyways, I will be supporting the sisters.. I even watch Extant (EVERY WEEK) with Halle Berry, although in my opinion the show is wack (too many reasons to go into).
    Btw, there is no way in hell I’m going to watch Orange is the New Black, the advertising pictures are all the offence I can take. I am so sorry to say this, but they make the black girls look like they escaped from the asylum or Zoo (take your pick).

  3. Btw, there is no way in hell I’m going to watch Orange is the New Black, the advertising pictures are all the offence I can take. I am so sorry to say this, but they make the black girls look like they escaped from the asylum or Zoo (take your pick).

    You are officially my best friend. After hearing this show touted by so many black women I went to watch it and tuned out within the first five minutes. The first black woman you see puts on a coon act about how fine the skinny average looking white chick is and with that I knew this show was not for me. Truth is, the whole concept of the show and its premise I knew were not for me. With more and more white women being jailed for drug offenses and shoplifting I have seen TV try and make this out to be okay and cute. Shows like Weeds and the never ending shoplifting jokes on shows like Two Broke Girls and Mom are proof of that. I won’t co-sign this ish cause I know it would never fly if the lead character was a black woman. I have been watching a lot of original Netflix and Amazon programming and I have seen no difference between what they are doing and what network TV is doing. In both blacks are still primarily seen through the jaded and very flawed eyes of the white writers. Oh yeah, I hate Katherine Hageil too. She is 100% the reason why Isiah Washington was fired and essentially blacklisted in Hollywood.

  4. Wow i am exited about all these shows and will definitely support them. And Kim i agree with you about extant. it is too difficult but i watch it because of Halle Berry and Camryn Manheim.

  5. @brownsista, its good to know I am not alone…lol.
    I whole hardily believe in supporting black shows or black people in white shows. I’ve been watching Criminal Minds (Shemar Moore)for years and used to watch CSI, however when they killed off Gary Dourdans sp? character (he didn’t go away, they killed him), I became extra salty. Not to mention Grisham was gone. They brought in Lawrence Fishburn so I continued watching, then all the blacks disappeared, as did I. I will even go so far as supporting a sister or brother by leaving my tv on a particular channel when there show is on and I don’t even watch it. In the mean time I do other things around the house. If we don’t support us, we will disappear.
    However let me tell you, I REFUSE to support Menstrual shows, and I don’t care how many blacks are on the show.
    We definitely have to support our own, and this tv season will hopefully provide us with some good reasons too. To co-sign sista as it relates to Katherine H., she can kick rocks. If a sista had an attitude like hers, she wouldn’t even be opening a neighborhood theatre production.

  6. I’m for sure going to be tuning in this season all the cool new shows! Especially Sleepy Hallow! That’s my show! I really hope Crain comes to his senses and hooks up with Abbie. Enough already with Katrina.

    I have also been supporting Halle in Extent to be honest I have to agree with Kim wth is going on? It started off well. I said to myself ohh this is going to be a good show, then all of a sudden all hell broke loose… I can’t help but laugh. I will continue watching as I am a true Halle fan plus I also enjoy watching Camryn Manheim anyone remember her from ghost whisper?

    Honestly @Kim you made me keel over laughing after I read your post on that new show Orange is the new Black! Are they serious??? No way in hell will I be watching that show. I skimmed a few mags I see what your talking about. The characters are out of this world…. What were they thinking let’s find another way to shame black women.

    Katherine Hageil is a washed up actress that needs to step! I was never a big fan of hers to begin with. She thinks she somebody… We all know how that ended. She shamed the show that started her and gave her her big break. Enough said….

    The new show with Viola Davis in “How to get away with murder” looks very promising. Now that’s a line up! And of course the return of Scandal with the beautiful Kerry Washington.

    I will be supporting my sistas this fall season.

  7. Glad to see I am not the only one who picked up on the nastiness of Katherine Heigl. Not in this lifetime or any other would I watch a show she is in. She’s the star of State of Affairs and it is a vehicle to get her career back off the ground. She bombed as movie star and has had to humble herself and return to TV. No way I’m helping to give her a hit. I love Alfre, but she will always work. She has talent.

    Love Sleepy Hollow. Still don’t get how or why black blogs show her no love. Meanwhile sites supposedly dedicated to black women seem to be blowing up the likes of Iggy Azalea, Kim K, her ugly sister Khloe and now this Rihanna clone Rita Ora. Nicole would have twice the profile she has now if her own people, black women especially, would support her.

    It’s like if a white girl gets butt injections and start dating black guys she becomes an obsession for the black community. Most black female geared blogs have zero stories on Nicole but dozens on Ora, the Kardashians, Azalea and that mess called Miley Cyrus.

    How to Get Away with Murder is really going to help decide where ABC goes with their programming. If it succeeds I can see them really throwing their weight behind shows with black female leads. Hopefully we can also get some shows with black couples. There are tons of shows with white couples, but the trend of pairing black men and women with anything but another black man or woman is not one I want to see continue.

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