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NBC Picks Up “Black & Right”

NBC Network has picked up a comedy script based on the life of writer Jennifer Rice-Genzuk.

Black & Right centers around a young, hip liberal African-American couple who lose everything and are forced to move in with their die-hard Republican pundit mother and her white conservative husband.

So I’m guessing The Game‘s rating success on BET has other networks taking notice because Jennifer is actually a writer for the show.

She will executive produce Black & Right with Brian Volk-Weiss and Michael Pelmont.

29 comments to NBC Picks Up “Black & Right”

  • OK, prediction time:
    The concept of this show is where the controversy ends. This thing will be bland as hell and not thought-provoking or conversation-starting. Oh, and it won’t be all that funny, either.

  • Mandla

    VichusSmith I’m guessing that you will be correct, sad to say.

  • pinksghetti

    After reading VichusSmith’s comment for some reason “All in the Family” popped in my head.

    • Cynthia

      That was my first thought too when I read the show’s plot. I’m trying to figure how you work in the whole “black republican” element and still be funny.

      • pinksghetti

        I remember back in the 90′s they had a new “All in the Family” with John Amos and he was a Republican. I don’t remember that much because I only saw some of the 1st episode & it was such a long time ago.

        • Cynthia

          Wow…I don’t remember that!

        • There can never be something like All in the Family again. That’s why I’m down on this. Brutal honesty? Please, America (supposedly) can’t take that now. That is, unless the white guy is totally balless and he is the butt of the jokes. The White conservative dad in this show wont be raising eyebrows.

  • Blutopaz

    Oh no, not the old Black red state angle again that’s been done to death.

    Seriously–this is sorta new territory and negative criticism already? I would watch a show where a Black GOP tries to explain the tea baggers, that’s funny even without a sitcom. I wonder if Michael Steele was any inspiration, although a White conservative in an IR marriage might be stretching a tad-we’ll see

    • Cynthia

      Oh my comment wasn’t meant to sound negative…if that’s the way it came across. “All In The Family” was the first thing that popped in my head and I grew into liking that show as I got older (too young to understand the joke was on Archie when it first premiered). That show had political humor but it used an “ignorant” conservative versus an “enlightened,” hippie liberal.

      • Blutopaz

        Yes, I liked All in the Family as a kid, too. Now i cringe when i think about some of those episodes (remember when Archie’s lodge buddies put a Black prostitute in bed with him-har har), and how amazing it was to have that show appeal to so many people.

        I think Black & Right could be interesting with the racial angle. I have a solid Republican in my family (he’s also in his 70′s and a biker) and have often thought dude, someone should write you into a story because you’re a freakin’ unicorn. We all know not to say anything bad about GWB in his presence and I want to say he’s a Tom cuz that’s just me, but amazingly he isn’t. There’s a lot of complexity there with folks like this (and I include Condi too, much as i hate her politics). The trick will be making this show into a good sitcom. I am not familiar with Jennifer Rice-Genzuk’s work. IMO this is the kind of project that requires very smart comedy and writing, like those 2 guys on The Daily Show.

        • A 70-something biker? Sounds badass. I’m guessing he was a soldier?

          • Blutopaz

            Good question, I am not sure if he served in the military. He volunteered for the Peace Corps in Ghana in the seventies, and our local paper showed photos of him in his dashiki with the community he was living with. Currently he’s a member of a biker community (he showed me a pic, looks like he’s the only POC there. Last time i saw him he offered me to come out riding with them one time. I would love to, but honestly don’t think my youngblood ass could keep up with those folks.

    • reg

      “White conservative in an IR marriage might be stretching a tad”: two words: ginni thomas (though i take yr pt.)
      it will be interesting to see if they TRY to make the humor equal opportunity. of course, there’s a reason fox’s “humor” show disappeared faster than a snowball in the sahara: exaggeration is funny, bald-faced lying ain’t.

  • Well....

    I was thinking more Family Ties. Alex P Keaton vs Parents

  • Whats this? Regurgitated Norman Lear?

  • etomi

    I watched the film “Bamboozled ” last night and then by coincidence, received notice of this new series through Shadow and Act. When will the buffoonery stop? Why is there no drama about an African American family on any of the networks? Why must it always be insipid, unfunny comedies?

    How long did the drama/actioner “Undercovers” last? Two -three weeks before it was canceled?

    I would, for once, like to see a drama series about a black man and a black woman in a committed, loving relationship and with a family that they are in love with — just to tell our stories. We DO exist. “Lincoln Heights” was canceled after four seasons (in ABC Family hell) and we hadn’t seen anything like it since “Harris and Company” in the early 1980s (which was taken off after FOUR excellent episodes)!
    (Sigh)
    My head hurts.

    • etomi, good point.

      Although the Cosby Show would not be considered a drama, it did portray a “normal” black family. But as always, there were some black folks that viewed the show as unrealistic… (“WE” don’t live like that). Others said Bill Cosby “mugged” too much and was too silly. Yeah, and now we have Mr Brown.

      So I definitely get your point. Within every family, there are monents of laughter and drama, so where is the black American family – on television – that encompasses the whole spectrum of family life? I can’t help but believe an interesting and intriquing storyline can include laughter and drama. Not buffoonery, but the joy and laughter we all experience throughout our day.

      Should the buck stop with better writers? Then again, who’s calling the shots? Who’s writing black sitcoms?

  • I remember Harris and Co. quite well and it was kinda boring. That said, it was getting better and should’ve been given some leeway. That said, I say lets at least see what “Black & Right” will do. A lot or premises sound tired on paper and are then executed well enough. I mean, who knew that a show about a bunch of people crash landing on weird island with polar bears and what not would last 5 seasons or that a show about a white bigot, his screwy wife, and liberal daughter and son-in-law would become an institution? Hopefully it won’t be like 704 Hauser St (that was the name of that John Amos show, right?) which was kinda weak, and actually have some smart writing.

    I just hope the acting’s at least good.

    • My lack of faith comes in the corporate side, the lawyers (who are distinctly NOT entertainers and NOT comedians and LOVE NOTHING other than keeping their job) and the S&P people who will squash jokes and ideas because they imagine that someone’s going to be offended.

      They do have some good comedies on NBC with bite, so I am going hard at a show that may end up being as edgy as it wants to be. I also think a show that puts race up front as part of its premise just can’t be what I imagine. I don’t imagine it being honest.

  • newcomer

    Seriously, after reading these comments I see why networks make it so hard to get “black shows” greenlit. The fickle black audiences don’t even support shows from their fellow black writers/authors. So what?? This show isn’t showing a ‘loving’ couple like the Huxtables… the Cosby show has been done! Martin was done! Friggin all those other fly by night awful WB shows about black couples (including the current awful ones on TV ONE and TBS) are being done showing ‘the positive’ black family. Isn’t there an oversaturation of those? When are black people in general (and I am a bi-racial African American woman who considers herself black) going to realize the world expands beyond what they deem ‘coonery’. If you ask me this premise sounds unique and pretty relevant to what’s going on in the world nowadays… since when did an interracial marriage become synonomous with only THE JEFFERSONS? I live in California and can’t go outside without seeing an interacial couple. Look around black people, it’s America… the melting pot! And until we are willing to step outside our comfort zone and realize black is not relegated to just ‘positive’ black couples ie. the huxtables I’m afraid major networks will continue to shy away from programming because all our people want to see is the same predictable safe stuff!!

    • Wait a minute Newcomer, you’re making your move waaay to soon. I mean, who said anything about “predictable safe stuff???

      The premise to this argument/debate has more to do with an engrossing storyline that will engage the viewer, not what has been done or what is defined as coonery. And, can you see how your need to define your “racial connection” plays a direct and important part in this discussion? I am not going to go there, but it does.

      Yet, back to the issue. Would you care to define “The fickle black audiences don’t even support shows from their fellow black writers/authors? Huh-whats your definition of “support them”? Does that mean we are suppose to keep our mouths closed? Are you implying we should accept anything that’s throw our way – because it’s a black show or has a black character – ride or die, no matter how ridiculous the plot?

      And please newcomer, if you are going to give your opinion, I would suggest it makes sense. You may view that as a rude comment, but consider the following…

      Newcomer said: Friggin all those other fly by night awful WB shows about black couples (including the current awful ones on TV ONE and TBS) are being done showing ‘the positive’ black family. Isn’t there an oversaturation of those?

      Well Ms Lady, I don’t know what shows you are refering to and I seriously doubt there’s an oversaturation of positive black families – on television. If I am mistaken, give me THREE… just 3!

      In fact, Vichus spoke on that subject.

      Vichus said: “My lack of faith comes in the corporate side, the lawyers (who are distinctly NOT entertainers and NOT comedians and LOVE NOTHING other than keeping their job) and the S&P people who will squash jokes and ideas because they imagine that someone’s going to be offended”

      If nothing else – if all goodbye is not gone – the “networks”, you refer to, and the shakers and movers, should have their ass up in here listening to the paying public.

      Lastly, it’s my contention that the ebb & flow of this discussion/tread is a very valuable tool for those that may be prone to cry wolf and for those that need a little meat in their viewing pleasure. And not just any ol’ dark meat.

      And, how do you spell support? What, stroke them, coddle them, lie to them sofly? I’ve come to believe the truth will set you free.

      It’s a tough tiddy for sure, but….

      • newcomer

        My thought is simply this, Carey Carey– before having even launched any details about this show aside from the logline, immediately contributer VICHUSSMITH says it won’t be funny, ETOMI questions: “When will the buffoonery stop?”

        My question is what about this premise screams buffoonery? Who’s to say that NBC doesn’t have the foresight to pick up a show that will be funny, ie. “THE OFFICE” and “30-ROCK”? Seems to me they have a pretty solid track record.

        My question is when is the last time you’ve heard NBC announce ANYTHING even remotely urban? And then the minute that they do, there is an onslaught of negative criticism– ironically from our own people. I highly understand the widespread concern about it being watered down and those skeptics who fear the network won’t really push the envelope and “take it there” but my feeling is, what else do we have out there that is really pushing the envelope or even pushing forward black comedy and trying to show something new outside of the traditional family comedies still striving to be that next Cosby show: ie. “House of payne” “Are we there yet?” and “Meet the browns”…

        We’ve seen the attempt at the Next Cosby show a million times (My wife and Kids, The Hughleys, The Tracy Morgan Show, etc.) and from my perspective those are THREE relatively positive takes on the traditional black family that were short lived and did nothing substantial to push forward the level of respect hollywood has for our ability to pen original creative programming. Frankly Tyler Perry and all the traditional family comedies that are currently on the air just put us in an even worse place as we struggle to be taken seriously in a predominately white Hollywood where the opportunities are few and far between.

        Admittedly, the premise itself may not be unique– it’s clearly a new take on All in the Family (but what the heck is unique in this day and age? EVERYTHING is a recycled concept.) But an African American republican mom and her white husband not only feels unique but it integrates and perhaps gives us a chance to broaden an urban show to an ‘integrated’ audience which may only help integrate our programming and provide more opportunities, making everything less segregated. Perhaps if we embrace something new and actually give it a chance we will be pleasantly surprised.

        And lastly, my need to define my “racial connection” simply comes from my desire to state that this is relevant and there are people out there like me who have real backgrounds like this and personally I’m excited to finally see a show that reveals a black family is no longer simply defined by an all black family ie. the Huxtables. I don’t discourage people from ‘opening their mouths’ to speak their opinions, I simply suggest we take a moment to evaluate the programming that currently exists and the amount of opportunities being provided for people of color and encourage people to step outside the box with support rather than skepticism and doubt. It’s a tough tiddy for sure, but…

        • I was on the attack because unlike most NBC comedies, the topic of race and politics is not their theme. They have broader premises, but this seems like it’s going down a road I don’t have much faith in, at least not on network TV.

        • Newcomer, I am going to say it right here and right now… YOU are no longer a newcomer. In my humble opinion, you did a fine job of stepping up to the plate to define your position. It’s not often that I am left sitting on my hands, but you shut the door.

          My hat is tipped your way.

    • JMac

      The premise isn’t unique at all – I just hope it doesn’t come off as preachy as the Lear sitcoms. Only slightly unique quality is the black mother/white husband combo. Black women are getting tired of the played out black male/white female relationship ‘shock’ tool on tv. And of course the black male character must have problems with any black females on the show, be it his ex, his co-worker, or his mother. I don’t think it’s asking too much to level the representations a little instead of always portraying blacks as dysfunctional and emotionally damaged.

      Just because people may be pre-critiquing the show doesn’t mean they won’t watch it. I’ll watch the first few episodes like I did with Undercovers (that was a bad show, sorry). What happens from there is up to the writers and actors. I doubt the networks give a flip about these comments. They’ll take their cue from the ratings.

      And with all due respect, relationships in California do not represent or set the norm in the rest of the country. The only time I see the few interracial couples around here [TN, GA, AL, NC, KY] is at Walmart on the first of the month. Strangely enough, I barely saw black/white IRs when I lived in Chicago.

  • “And with all due respect, relationships in California do not represent or set the norm in the rest of the country. The only time I see the few interracial couples around here [TN, GA, AL, NC, KY] is at Walmart on the first of the month”

    HELLO!

    There are a couple cities – that I know of – where the hips slide on the white side… Minneapolis Minnesota and San Fran, but from my observation, interracial coupling is not the norm, nor is it accepted by most black folks… especially black women. Are you kidding me. Ask a sista what she thinks about a black man that dates exclusively white, or white women – period.

    And I agree, Ms Jmac (got it right that time)this concept is only slightly unique. In reality, it’s merely the same soup that’s been warmed over. Yet, I believe your remarks about “who will have the final vote” says it all. We can huff and puff until we blow this house down, but the ratings is the big elephant. My bet says it flops like a man’s penis when he’s caught in another man’s bed – by a gun wielding jealous husband.

    • JMac

      We must have been posting at the same time. I swear I didn’t see all that when I clicked submit. And that last line was not necessary – trying to eat dinner over here.

      Only good thing that might come about with this show is if NBC decides to develop a companion AA sitcom to follow it when it does debut. Wouldn’t make sense to have a 30 minute ethnic show sitting all by itself in the line-up.

  • Arrgh. It’s cool that they are black, but I’d rather concept not be centered on the race and political views of the stars.