Fall TV season features a diverse mix of storylines, black roles, formats

Venerable Actress Viola Davis is riveting as the lead in her prime time series.

Venerable Actress Viola Davis is riveting as the lead in her prime time series, “How to Get Away with Murder,” which has enjoyed impressive ratings since its September debut.

By Carmen Glover

As the fall television season settles into a routine, one inescapable truth has emerged: When black actors are given solid scripts and unshakeable support, they rise to the challenge and not only succeed but they thrive.

Kerry Washington leads an all-cast team of stars in the popular drama series, "Scandal."

Kerry Washington leads a versatile team of stars in the popular drama series, “Scandal.”

To the surprise of no one, “Scandal” returned on September 25 with a slightly retooled cast but timely and meaty roles to go around. Lead actress in the series, Kerry Washington, fresh off her marriage and the birth of her first child, leapt right into character and has re-engaged her audience. On the activism front, she has been front and center in promoting Domestic Violence Awareness Month with the Purple Purse campaign, an effort to strengthen he financial circumstances of women who are living with domestic violence, so that they can develop a financial plan to leave their abusive situation.

The cast of the engaging new ABC sitcom "Black-ish"

The cast of the engaging new ABC sitcom “Black-ish” show range, humor and comfort.

Venerable actress Viola Davis has taken the television screen by storm, stomping out the competition in the compelling drama “How to Get Away with Murder” which provides a rich tapestry of roles that allow a range of actors and actresses to shine in prime time. Executive-produced by Shona Rhimes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy fame, “How to Get Away with Murder,” offers a thrill ride that is riveting to the last drop, episode after episode.

The guys have a great time on the set on "Real Husbands of Hollywood."

The guys having a great time on the set on “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” now in its third season.

Then there is “Black-ish” starring Laurence Fishbourne, Tracey Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson. The comedy tackles another aspect of the African-American experience that strikes a chord in the hears of many blacks who confront a lot of the situations that the characters encounter on the comedy. In the comedic vein comes the third season of ” Real Husbands of Hollywood ” which was developed as a spoof of reality shows but has now mushroomed into a credible, humorous take on the friendships formed between comedian Kevin Hart, rapper Nelly, actors Boris Kodjoe (currently in theaters as the lead in “Addicted”), Nick Cannon and a host of friends who pop in from time to time for another layer of levity and fun.

Cast of "If Loving you is Wrong," contend with an appallingly weak script, lack of clear direction and poor character development.

Cast of “If Loving you is Wrong,” contend with an appallingly weak script, lack of clear direction, disjointed delivery and poor character development.

The most disappointing show of the season is unquestionably, Tyler Perry’s new offering for OWN “If Loving you is Wrong.” Each week, viewers tune in hoping in vain to see evidence of a well-developed script, believable rather than stilted, forced, acting and a storyline that is plausible. Without fail, each week viewers are left asking: What on earth is this nonsense?

Charles Malik Whitfield of "The Temptations" fame, and April Parker Jones who plays his love interest on "If Loving you is Wrong," seem to be the only pair with credible acting skills on the set.

Charles Malik Whitfield of “The Temptations” fame, and April Parker Jones who plays his love interest on “If Loving you is Wrong,” seem to be the only pair with credible acting skills on the set.

For viewers who enthusiastically embraced Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” the letdown of “If Loving you is Wrong,” is palpable and with each passing week it becomes clear that Perry needs to go back to the drawing board and develop a script that has substance, flows easily and is relatable. He also needs to get actors who have range to join naturals Charles Malik Whitfield (“The Temptations”) and April Parker Jones.

“Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” and “Black-ish” all appear on ABC on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m., respectively, while “Real Husbands of Hollywood”  and “If Loving you is Wrong,” appear on BET and OWN on Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., respectively.–OnPointPress.net.

 

‘Ride Along’ is historic MLK weekend box office winner

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in Ride Along.

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in  scene from blockbuster ‘Ride Along’ which broke MLK weekend and January records at the box office by combining a funny script with great promotion.

By Carmen Glover

Boasting a humorous yet relatable storyline, the Will Packer-produced and Tim Story directed detective caper ‘Ride Along’ trounced its competition in historic fashion over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, with box office receipts of $48.1 million.

‘Ride Along’ created history at the box office by earning the highest totals recorded not only over any MLK weekend but also for the month of January. The movie outperformed ‘Cloverfield,’ which earned 46.1 million during the 2008 MLK weekend. ‘Ride Along’ stars Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Laurence Fishbourne and Tika Sumpter, featuring a cameo appearance from comedian Gary Owen and a supporting role for John Leguizamo. The movie enjoyed robust box office showing which was aided by a funny script and cast combined with excellent marketing as well as solid word-of-mouth.

Tika Sumpter plays Kevin Hart's love interest and Ice Cube's sister in "Ride Along."

Tika Sumpter plays Kevin Hart’s love interest and Ice Cube’s sister in ‘Ride Along.’

According to box office totals by The Hollywood Reporter, ‘Ride Along’ earned $48.1 million by Monday afternoon, delivering the best numbers recorded over any MLK weekend. ‘Ride Along’ beat the mainstream action film ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,’ an equally enjoyable movie starring Kevin Costner and the gorgeous Chris Pine, in the latest installment of the Jack Ryan thriller. In the past, Jack Ryan was played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ earned 18 million over the four-day weekend.

William Packer produced Ride Along

William Packer, who produced ‘Ride Along,’ also had box office success with ‘Think Like a Man,’ ‘Takers,’ ‘Obsessed,’ ‘This Christmas’ and ‘Stomp the Yard.’

Listings by Box Office Mojo show that the top grossing MLK weekend movies featuring African-American casts from 1991 to present are: ‘Book of Eli,’ starring Denzel Washington ($38,234 million); ‘Coach Carter,’ starring Samuel Jackson ($29,168 million); ‘Stomp the Yard,’ starring Columbus Short ($25, 876 million); ‘Snow Dogs,’ starring Cuba Gooding Jr. ($23, 708 million) and ‘Notorious’ starring Angela Bassett ($23,393 million).

Tim Story directed Ride Along.

Tim Story, who directed ‘Ride Along,’ also directed ‘Barbershop,’  two ‘Fantastic Four’ movies, ‘Think Like a Man,’ and its upcoming sequel, ‘Think Like a Man Too.’

‘Ride Along’ tells the story of a security guard, played by Hart, who wants to join the police academy and marry Sumpter, who plays Cube’s sister. Cube, a no-nonsense police officer, who has no use for Hart, invites Hart to spend a day with him to test his mettle. Hart is desperate for Cube’s approval to marry his sister as well as his support in Hart’s hopes to join the academy. What follows is a series of comedy mixed with action that makes the time pass by quickly as the story unfolds.

The four-day MLK weekend provided a great opportunity for ‘Ride Along’ to perform strongly at the box office, with many people having the holiday off and being eager and available to mix up service activities with the lighthearted relief the movie delivered. The move was made with a budget of $25 million and had an audience support of 50 percent African-Americans, 30 percent Hispanics, 12 percent Caucasians, with the under 25 age group making up 46 percent of the film’s moviegoers. (Final movie totals will be released on Tuesday.).–OnPointPress.net.

Please follow us on Twitter @OnPointPress_.