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Here Are The New Network Shows With Black Leads For Next Season

A friendly #ForTheCulture guide for anyone looking to root for everyone black this fall. (Network TV shows only: CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and the CW.)

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All American (the CW)

CW

Who’s in it? Taye Diggs, Daniel Ezra, Samantha Logan, Bre-Z, Greta Onieogou, Monet Mazur, Michael Evans Behling, Cody Christian, Karimah Westbrook

Who's making it? April Blair, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Robbie Rogers, Dane Morck, Rob Hardy

What's it about? A football drama that follows a star high school player from Crenshaw after he's recruited to play for Beverly Hills High.

How black is it? A black kid being transported from the hood to a lily-white affluent environment is a tale as old as time — or at least as old as Different Strokes. This time at least, the person who comes to bring the black kid to the rich kid school is also black (Diggs) and the head coach of the Beverly Hills team. Diggs' character is also from Crenshaw originally and now lives in Beverly Hills with his white wife, Latina housekeeper, and two biracial children who also attend the high school. We'll have to wait and see if they're able to make this tired narrative more than a stereotypical culture clash.

Here's a trailer for All American

View this video on YouTube

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The Neighborhood (CBS): Mondays at 8 p.m.

CBS

Who’s in it? Cedric the Entertainer, Max Greenfield, Sheaun McKinney, Tichina Arnold, Dreama Walker, Marcel Spears, Hank Greenspan

Who's making it? Jim Reynolds, Max Greenfield, Dana Honor, Wendi Trilling, Cedric the Entertainer, Eric Rhone, James Burrows

What's it about? A white Midwestern family moves to a black LA neighborhood (next door to Cedric's family), comedy ensues as the families deal with the culture shock.

How black is it? I'm actually very excited about how black this show is about to be now that the trailer makes it clear that it's the white family that has to assimilate into a very proud, black, middle-class neighborhood and not the other way around. Cedric's character is also peak black dad and not here for any white antics: There's a scene where he calls out white people who constantly exclaim that they love black people because it "makes them feel all good on the inside, like they're doing us a favor." There's also a cookout, Rihanna reference, and a white man apologizing for racism all within the 3-minute sneak peek below so imagine what they'll do with an entire 30 minutes. There's a chance the show will come off too gimmicky if they don't fine-tune the jokes, but Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold are not new to this so I have faith.

(Note: The white dad in the trailer played by Josh Lawson has been recast. Max Greenfield will now play the role.)

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Here's a trailer for The Neighborhood

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Happy Together (CBS)

CBS

Who’s in it? Damon Wayans Jr., Amber Stevens West, Felix Mallard, Stephnie Weir, Chris Parnell

Who's making it? Tim McAuliffe, Austen Earl, Phill Lewis, Ben Winston, Harry Styles, Michael Rotenberg, Jonathan Berry

What's it about? A celebrity moves in with his married accountant to lay low after a public breakup. The show is produced by former One Direction band member Harry Styles (One Direction were like the mainstream millennial version of B2K) and is inspired by a time when he lived with the show's other executive producer, Ben Winston.

How black is it? This definitely seems like one of those shows where the black characters just happen to be black but don't lean into it much in the script, which is fine and pretty on brand for this particular Wayans family member whose past work includes sitcoms like Happy Endings and New Girl. But shoutout to West (and the rest of leads from The Carmichael Show) for landing on a new TV show so quickly.

Here's the trailer for Happy Together

View this video on YouTube

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Rel (Fox): Sundays at 9:30 p.m.

Matthew Salacuse/Fox

Who’s in it? Lil Rel Howery, Sinbad, Jess “Hilarious” Moore, Jordan L. Jones

Who's making it? Lil Rel Howery, Kevin Barnett, Josh Rabinowitz, Mike Scully, Jerrod Carmichael

What's it about? Rel is rebuilding his life after he divorces his wife for having an affair with his barber. He relocates to Chicago and tries to move on with the help of his father, brother, and some friends.

How black is it? His wife had an affair with his barber — HIS BARBER. One of the most sacred people in a black man's life. As if the premise isn't black enough, it takes place in the South Side of Chicago, his dad is Sinbad (where did they find him?!), and the trailer includes a black pastor who tells his business to the whole congregation during his sermon. If this were a game, we'd have yelled BINGO by now.

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Here's the trailer for Rel:

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FOX

The Enemy Within (NBC): Midseason

NBC

Who’s in it? Jennifer Carpenter, Morris Chestnut, Raza Jaffrey, Kelli Garner

Who's making it? Ken Woodruff, Mark Pellington, Vernon Sanders

What's it about? Okay, so boom, Will Keaton (Chestnut) is an FBI agent who's forced to enlist the help of a former CIA agent/traitor/prisoner named Erica Shepherd (Carpenter) to help catch some villain. According to the trailer played at the NBC Universal upfront, she's the only one who can help him because I guess all evildoers know how one another's minds work. Erica also has a vendetta of her own against the villain because he's the one who forced her to flip (and ultimately get arrested for it) in the first place, by threatening her daughter.

How black is it? The show appears to be Scandal-black in the way that Chestnut is being touted as a lead of a diverse show vs. a black show, but that type of representation is necessary too, especially with Scandal gone. The slight downside is that Chestnut is sharing the "lead" with a Carpenter (a white woman) and his character can't get the job done without her, so the white savior aspect definitely subtracts some points. But at least he's not the prisoner.

God Friended Me (CBS)

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

Who’s in it? Brandon Micheal Hall, Violett Beane, Suraj Sharma, Javicia Leslie, Joe Morton

Who's making it? Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Marcos Siega

What's it about? God befriends a nonbeliever (Hall) on social media and somehow turns him into a (nonsuper)hero by connecting him to people who need his help. Yes, you read that correctly. What is it about Hall that keeps landing him in these unrealistic roles (see ABC's now-canceled sitcom The Mayor)?

How black is it? It sounds very unrealistic and is sure to offend at least half of our mothers' Bible study groups. However, a black man being converted to do right by God is common narrative in our community, right? Am I reaching? The trailer is admittedly quite heartwarming and Morton a.k.a. Papa Pope is in it as Hall's father who happens to be a pastor – all pluses!

Here's the trailer for God Friended Me

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com
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Schooled (ABC)

Abc / ABC

Who’s in it? Tim Meadows, Bryan Callen, AJ Michalka

Who's making it? Marc Firek, Adam F. Goldberg, Doug Robinson

What’s it about? It's a spinoff based on Meadows' character, Principal Glascott, on ABC's The Goldbergs. Except this version of that universe takes place forward in time. The 1990s, to be exact.

How black is it? Meadows, a comedy legend, is the clear lead of the show and will probably fit in more than a few black-ass jokes. That being said, most of the other characters will probably be white, so maybe limit your excitement.

Proven Innocent (Fox): Midseason

Fox

Who’s in it? Rachelle Lefevre, Russell Hornsby, Nikki M. James, Vincent Kartheiser, Riley Smith, Clare O’Connor

Who's making it? David Elliot, Danny Strong, Stacy Greenberg, Patricia Riggen

What's it about? A law firm that tries to exonerate convicted criminals who are actually innocent. Lefevre plays Madeline Scott, a woman who was convicted of a crime she didn't commit and went on to become a lawyer once the verdict was changed. She now works with Hornsby's character to help those like her.

How black is it? Lefevre is the clear star, but Hornsby is right there with her in most of the scenes, so here's hoping the longtime actor is getting the network TV run he deserves. Word to Lincoln Heights. The premise also makes room for many black character actors and it's coming from the cocreator of one of the blackest shows on TV, Empire.

Here's the trailer for Proven Innocent:

View this video on YouTube

FOX

The Cool Kids (Fox): Fridays at 9:30 p.m.

Fox

Who’s in it? Vicki Lawrence, Martin Mull, David Alan Grier, Leslie Jordan

Who's making it? Charlie Day, Paul Fruchbom, Nick Frenkel, Kevin Abbott, Don Scardino

What's it about? When a rebellious woman (Lawrence) moves into a retirement community where the men rule, havoc ensues.

How black is it? Let me start by saying David Alan Grier is a legend who has spent his entire career being black AF for the culture from In Living Color and Boomerang in the '90s to The Carmichael Show and The Wiz (the live TV version) in recent years. That being said, he's the only black character in this wacky-looking sitcom and there's only so much one man can do.

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Here's the trailer for The Cool Kids:

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FOX

The Village (NBC): Midseason

Peter Kramer / NBC

Who’s in it? Moran Atias, Dominic Chianese, Warren Christie, Frankie Faison, Jerod Haynes, Daren Kagasoff, Michaela McManus, Lorraine Toussaint, Grace Van Dien

Who's making it? Mike Daniels, Minkie Spiro, Jessica Rhoades

What's it about? Neighbors — who are more like family — in a New York apartment building take in a young veteran trying to assimilate back to life as a civilian.

How black is it? The cast is an ensemble but the two main black characters, Faison and Toussaint, appear to be the sort of mom and dad of the village. The trailer played at the NBC upfront also teased a complex storyline for the two of them, which is a good sign. They may prove to be a more seasoned version of Randall and Beth if its done right. Either way, I'm here for as much #blacklove as possible on TV.

A Million Little Things (ABC)

Jack Rowand / ABC

Who’s in it? David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston, Romany Malco, Allison Miller, Christina Moses, Christina Ochoa, James Roday, Stephanie Szostak, Lizzy Greene

Who's making it? DJ Nash, Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor, James Griffiths

What's it about? When a group of friends in Boston experiences the death of one of their own, they learn to live.

How black is it? There appear to be two token black friends in this group who are married, but that's more than we ever got from Friends. Malco is also a favorite from the Think Like a Man franchise so that may pull a bit of that fanbase into it.

Here is the trailer for A Million Little Things

View this video on YouTube

ABC
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You can find a complete list of new shows coming to network TV next season here.

Note: During the week of May 14, the broadcast networks — CBS, ABC, NBC, the CW, and Fox — will unveil their new shows and schedules to advertisers at presentations in New York City called the “upfronts.” Any trailers/images released during that week will be added to this post as they come. There are also shows that aren’t on the normal network cycle (generally because they air in the summer) that have already been renewed. And cable channels and streaming services are not included on this list, because they renew and cancel shows throughout the year. This post will be updated continuously as new shows are picked up.

Sylvia Obell is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Sylvia Obell at sylvia.obell@buzzfeed.com.

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