NBC’s new series Undercovers premieres tomorrow night at 8:00pm ET. The show stars former Soul Food alum Boris Kodjoe and British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Undercovers also stars former Simon & Simon star Gerald McRaney and Mekia Cox who was a dancer in the Michael Jackson documentary concert film This Is It.
I’ve been looking forward to watching this show since they announced that Boris and Gugu would be the leading stars. Talk about a miracle on network television. And it shouldn’t be a miracle in the 21st century. I blogged about this miracle back in February.
Anyway MSNBC has an article about the show and interviews the two actors.
Voters may have overwhelmingly elected a black man as president in 2008, but broadcast TV decision makers still don’t fully believe mainstream audiences will embrace a drama series with a black lead unless coupled with a white actor or as part of a large, multiracial ensemble cast. And don’t even consider two black leads carrying a drama series on a major network.
“Lost” creator J.J. Abrams may change that perception with his anticipated new show on NBC, “Undercovers,” which debuts Sept. 23. (TODAYshow.com is a part of msnbc.com, which is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
The drama stars Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Steven and Samantha Bloom, a married couple who were once spies and are now getting back into the business. At the core, the show is a brightly written romantic adventure with two strong leading characters who happen to be black.
Boris made an interesting yet very true comment about how things go in liberal Hollywood.
“I just decided I wasn’t going to be the affirmative action guy,” Kodjoe said of the practice of auditioning minorities for roles. “Everybody says you did a great job. Then you get the call they ‘went another way,’ which means they went with a white actor. (The color of your skin) is something you have no control over. After a while, it wears you out.”
But Undercovers creator J.J. Abrams and producer Josh Reims were definitely looking for a different type of cast from what you’re normally seeing on network television.
He was finally persuaded that Reims and Abrams were serious about casting non-white actors in the roles if they could find the right actors. The veteran producers knew exactly what they didn’t want to see in their two prospective leads: the same homogenous actors playing in every other series on the air.
“We wanted (our series) to look different,” said Reims, who previously worked with Abrams on “Felicity.” “We didn’t go out of our way to say we are hiring two black people to be the leads of the show. But we (knew) it would be great if we could do that.”
Check out the entire article here.