Monday, December 6, 2021

72 New TV Pilots & Series with Black Actors Ordered for Next Season

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*Diversity continues its noticeable presence on small screen as broadcast and cable TV networks have ordered at least 72 pilots/series with black actors in starring/lead/supporting roles.

Shadow and Act’s Tambay A. Obenson notes that ABC leads the pack with 14 projects featuring black actors in starring, lead and/or supporting roles. NBC follows with 13.

The process pertaining to pilots involves the project being shot and edited. Afterwards, the networks have to decide which shows to go with, in addition which ones to shelve to possibility use later and which ones to fully reject.

Obenson noted that the percentage of shows that get picked up for the fall lineup varies from network to network. The process is not as active for cable TV networks, as they develop fewer pilots, most of which do eventually make it to series.

No matter what, the shows that make the cut will be revealed in the coming months as each network takes stock of its line-up heading into the coming year in television.

The following is a partial list of pilots ordered by broadcast and cable TV networks. (For the full list, click here.)


Mike Epps & Nia Long will star in ABC’s small screen adaptation of the John Candy movie “Uncle Buck”

Paula Patton headlines ABC’s arms dealing drama pilot ‘Runner,’ a “Traffic”-like expose, but, instead of drugs, its focus is on arms dealing, and seen through the eyes of a woman lead, played by Patton. Vondie Curtis Hall co-stars.

– Darrell Britt-Gibson has a supporting role in “L.A. Crime,” a character-driven, true-crime procedural anthology that explores sex, politics and popular culture across various noteworthy eras in L.A. history, with the first season focusing on 2 LA cops in search for a Bonnie & Clyde-esque serial killing team amid the rock-and-roll, coke-infused revelry of the 1980s.


Anika Noni Rose (stars) & Phylicia Rashad (supporting) in CBS Drama ‘For Justice,’ which will follow a female FBI agent working in the Criminal Section of the Department of Civil Rights Division, who finds herself caught between her radical real family and her professional family.

– This summer will also see the premiere of “Zoo,” which is based on the #1 bestselling novel by James Patterson, with a cast that includes Brit Nonso Anozie, in a series that centers on a wave of mysterious, seemingly coordinated violent animal attacks against humans, taking place across the globe.

Dule Hill, Kobi Libii, and Laverne Cox play supporting roles in the hour-long pilot “Doubt,” which will focus on a defense lawyer at a firm who gets romantically involved with one of her clients – a faux pas made worse by the fact that he may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime.


– David Gyasi co-stars in “Cordon,” an ensemble cast series that examines what happens when a deadly epidemic breaks out in Atlanta and a large city quarantine is quickly enforced, leaving those stuck on the inside to fight for their lives.


Morris Chestnut stars in a crime procedural pilot, “Rosewood,” which centers on Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., a gifted, charismatic private pathologist who can read living and dead bodies like a book.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner has a supporting role in “48 Hours ‘Til Monday,” which centers on a husband’s desperate struggle to not let every weekend go completely to hell.

– Keith and Kenny Lucas, creators and voice stars of Fox’s animated series, “The Lucas Bros. Moving Co.,” are developing a live-action comedy for the network, to be titled “A Better Bushwick,” which will tell the story of identical twin brothers, who drop out of Duke and NYU law schools in their third years, in order to become community organizers – thanks to President Obama.


Courtney B. Vance and Cuba Gooding Jr. star in the first season of Ryan Murphy’s “American Crime,” which will center on the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

– FX ordered a comedy pilot on the Atlanta hip-hop scene from and starring Donald Glover.

Regina King plays a lead role in the FX comedy pilot “Pariah,” which follows a TV personality who is blacklisted from the business after an on-air meltdown, and is now forced to create a new life for himself.


– HBO’s “Westworld” series adaptation features an ensemble cast that includes Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton. In the proposed series, a robot malfunction creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at a futuristic, adult-themed amusement park.

– LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Natalie Paul, and Clarke Peters are all in the cast of HBO’s low-income housing debate drama, “Show Me a Hero,” which is based on the 1999 nonfiction book of the same name by Lisa Belkin, and details a middle-class neighborhood’s resistance to a public housing development in Yonkers, NY, and how these tensions affected the city as a whole.

– Newcomer Devon Terrell stars in Steve McQueen’s somewhat secretive HBO project, which will be titled “Codes of Conduct.” Terrell will play a character named Beverly Snow, a talented, confident young man from Queens, NY, who, with a chameleon-like ability, breaks into the social circles of Manhattan’s elite, testing the boundaries of social mobility.


Megalyn Echikunwoke plays a supporting role in “Damien,” Lifetime’s straight-to-series adaptation of the classic horror film “The Omen.” The network has ordered a six-episode series that will follow the adult life of Damien Thorn, the child from the 1976 film who has grown up, seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. Haunted by his past, Damien must now come to terms with his true destiny – that he is the Antichrist.


Lance Gross and Andy Allo co-star in NBC’s martial arts drama “Warrior,” which centers on a woman named Kai Forrester, who works undercover with physical and spiritual guidance from a mysterious martial arts master to bring down the organized crime syndicate known as YOMI.

Craig Robinson stars in the comedy series, “Mr Robinson,” which centers on Robinson, who leads a double life – at night he jams in a rock band called Nasty Delicious that has been unsuccessfully trying to break out for a decade; by day, he has a gig that pays the bills working as a substitute music teacher with the Chicago School District. Meagan Good, Brandon T. Jackson, and Amandla Stenberg are also members of the cast.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Ukweli Roach play supporting roles in “Blindspot,” a crime drama which follows what happens when a beautiful woman, with no memories of her past, is found naked in Times Square with her body fully covered in intricate tattoos – a discovery that sets off a vast and complex mystery that immediately ignites the attention of the FBI who begin to follow the road map on her body to reveal a larger conspiracy of crime, while bringing her closer to discovering the truth about her identity.


Rosario Dawson and Vondie Curtis-Hall play supporting roles in ‘Daredevil,’ the serial adaptation of the Marvel comic book franchise.

Mike Colter and Eka Darville play supporting roles in “A.K.A. Jessica Jones,” also based on a Marvel comic character.


– A new scripted half-hour dramedy series titled ‘Born Again Virgin’ (debuts in the summer), set in Atlanta, that explores the love lives of three 30-something best friends played by Danielle Nicolet, Gabrielle Dennis, and Eva Marcille. R&B singer Tank co-stars.


Tory Kittles is part of an ensemble cast in the drama-thriller ‘The Colony,’ which centers on a Los Angeles that’s been forced to make difficult choices as the city struggles to balance staying together, while surviving an alien threat to the human race. Some collaborate with the authorities and benefit from the new order, while others rebel and suffer the consequences.

Get Tambay Obanson’s FULL report at Shadow and Act.



  1. Relax people….it’s not about “respecting Our culture. “Black” has never gone out of style?, but….”it’s “hotter than July” now, with Scandal, HTGAWM, & now Empire! And so “now” they see there’s a lot of MONEY to be made “OFF OF Us. Again….it ain’t about respect & DAMN SHO ain’t about….”diversity”. Now the reeeeal issue & interesting thing to see will be?….will these new shows be “GOOD”/well written/written by “Us” shows!!!??? When ever they have “gotten around to Us?, they usually have given Us …BS. And that was so?, to JUSTIFY not giving Us shows, b/c We wouldn’t watch the crap!! So…they would go back to those meetings and say…..”seeeeee”???, they don’t watch/WANT any shows fabout them. But the reasso the formentioned shows “are” so successful is….”they” ARE well written!! So much so, that “WHITES & OTHERS are ALSO watching them!! (See WTF happens, when We are reflected as regular/non stereotypic human beings!??) But anyway ….lets “see” WTF this new batch will be. TJBT!

  2. As long as these shows respect black/African Americans as individual human beings and are careful not to fall into tired worn out cliches and stereotypes, then the shows will be good, as African Americans in major roles and stories, particularly drama is new to televsion.

  3. Aaaaaaand?, “pilots” ain’t SHYT!! Let’s see how many of dem shyts get….”‘ON THE AIR”/ greenlit!! “DAT’s” whadDUP!!!


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