It looks like more black folks in Hollywood are done waiting for the powers that be to green light projects that feature us and deciding to do it themselves. We already seen this manifested in web series but now The Hollywood Reporter brings news that Martin Lawrence is the executive producer of a new sitcom called “Love That Girl” starring Tatyana Ali and written and directed by Bentley Kyle Evans. TV One has picked up the episodes that have been shot and will air them the week of January 19th so mark your calendars (more on that later).
Getting “Love That Girl” to the small screen is definitely a story of self-determination and knowing how to make a dollar stretch. Evans shot four episodes over five days in a converted warehouse and got it all done for just over one million dollars (chump change in Hollywood circles). He called in favors from friends, colleagues, you know basically everyone he knows. And from the premise the show sounds like it’s more in tune with a “Girlfriends” sensibility than say “The Shenehneh Show” (Lawrence is involved after all). According to The Hollywood Reporter:
“Girl!” is described as a sexy comedy following a young divorcee who returns home to Southern California and takes a job in her father’s real estate business and lives with her unemployed brother.
No word on who the rest of the cast is yet. But I’ve got to say the timing on this is great. Ali is already top of mind with a lot of us between her web series “Buppies” which airs on BET.com and her recurring blink and you’ll miss it role of Roxanne on “The Young and the Restless”. Her involvement in “Buppies” proves that she can carry a show and reminds us that although Ashley Banks is a grown up she’s can still sparkle in front of a camera. And besides Lifetime’s “Sherri” (which is still awaiting its fate), this would be the first sitcom that revolves around a sister in a long time. I’m crossing my fingers that the show is actually good. In addition to “Martin”, Evans also worked on “The Jamie Foxx Show”.
Now the reason I said ‘mark your calendars’ earlier is that this is really an experiment in original scripted programming for TV One. They’ll be testing out how popular “Love That Girl” is over a 3-night period. If it works, they’ll pick up an additional 13-26 shows. And my thinking is they’d either have to air the shows back-to-back—TBS’s strategy with “House of Payne”—or find a companion show to pair it with for a strong hour. (Who knows “Sherri” may be a contender–it’s not half bad.)
The only downside is that we all don’t have access to TV One and it’s all a numbers game. If you do have the network, give the show a chance and tell your girls about it. We need to see more of ourselves in screens large and small.Read Also