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Tuning in to TV
“Slavery by Another Name” examines the labor practices and laws “that effectively created new forms of slavery” after emancipation, subjecting blacks to brutal forced work,the filmmakers said.
The 90-minute film, produced by a division of the PBS affiliate for Minneapolis-St. Paul, will air as part of PBS’ Black History Month programming.
Mr. Fishburne’s other TV work has included “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which he left last season, and the movie “Thurgood.”
‘Reed Between the Lines’: The next ‘Cosby Show’?
Since the award-winning “The Cosby Show” ended nearly two decades ago, few TV shows have offered positive images of black families. Now BET wants to fill the gap with new scripted programming, the Associated Press reports.
BET’s “Let’s Stay Together,” a romantic comedy involving contemporary relationships that debuted in January, is taping its second season after helping the network score its best-ever ratings with an average of nearly 3 million viewers. The recent premiere of “Reed Between the Lines,” starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Tracee Ellis Ross, pulled in solid numbers with 3.3 million viewers the night it debuted and 2.9 million viewers for a rebroadcast the same night. The audience slipped last week, though, with 1.2 million viewers on Tuesday night.
Mr. Warner and Miss Ross star as Alex and Carla Reed, who try to balance their demanding careers while raising three children. Miss Ross plays a psychiatrist who specializes in depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Mr. Warner’s role is an online English professor at New York University.
Mr. Warner, who played Theo Huxtable on “Cosby,” said “Reed” has the potential to be a quality show that highlights a loving, upscale black family in the same fashion as the groundbreaking NBC show, which ran from 1984 to 1992.
After “Cosby” ended and went into syndication, Bill Cosby publicly criticized the television industry for failing to maintain the standards his show had started. Over the years, a few shows have showcased positive black images and roles. Andre Braugher won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Detective Frank Pembleton on “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Vanessa Williams has three Emmy nominations under her belt for playing a conniving fashionista on “Ugly Betty” and for her roles in the family drama “Soul Food” and the 2000-08 sitcom about young black professionals, “Girlfriends.”
Miss Ross said TV for the most part has lacked a strong black father figure since Mr. Cosby’s role, and she thinks Mr. Warner can fill that role. She said she hears from fans that they have been yearning for a family comedy show such as “Cosby,” with two career-oriented parents of color who maintain a loving relationship with each other and seek to instill good moral values in their children.
“I think it’s time for television to have a man like Malcolm,” said Miss Ross, who produced the show with Mr. Warner. “There is a version of a stand-up kind of man we haven’t seen in a while. I’m ready to see a couple who actually loves each other working it out.”
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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