TJ FV 2023 Banner
Rickey Smiley Morning Show Featured Video

The time has come for the strong independent black woman on television.

I know that might sound strange, but as I looked at the shows that have been given the green light for the upcoming seasons I realized how many shows that have been renewed and been approved for pilots have black women as their leads.

I thought that was awesome, but I couldn’t help wondering why so many of the major Television Networks were giving the green light to shows with women of color as their leads. And then I remembered something:

Scandal, ABC


As of right now, one of the most talked about shows on television is “Scandal” with nearly 10 million viewers every night. I’ve said before that this isn’t my favorite series by a long shot, but I do appreciate that a major network like ABC has a show with a black female lead.

Sleepy Hollow, FOX

Now we have FOX’s newest hit “Sleepy Hollow” staring Nicole Behair as second lead Lieutenant Abigail Mills with nearly 9 million viewers over their first season. Sure they had the pre-existing story to get most of their followers, but plenty stayed after the story strayed from the source material.

I remember seeing the ads for this show and thinking that FOX had realized putting black people in their shows could actually bring them viewers by copying the “Scandal” method of throwing a black woman in the mix.

So now we come to this falls line up which has to have more black actors as leads in television then I’ve seen in years:

American Crime, ABC


First up is “American Crime” a racially charged series about a crime in Modesto, California that reveals the grittiness of the town. The head writer and executive producer of this show is none other than “12 Years A Slave” writer John Ridley.

So not only will there be people of all races in the show it’s being penned by a black writer who just won an Academy Award for a film about slavery. This should definitely be exciting.

Black-ish, ABC


ABC is continuing to put black people to work with the help of Larry Wilmore, the brilliant writer behind “The Bernie Mac Show” and who will soon be taking over for Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central with “The Minority Report”. Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne will act as a black family living in a wealthy suburb trying to get in touch with their roots.

If the team behind “The Bernie Mac Show” put as much love into this as they did into that, we might have another “Cosby Show” on our hands.

Empire, FOX


Apparently someone decided that Terrence Howard could be trusted not to make a fool of himself again, and how he’d gotten a show from FOX called “Empire”. While I’m not a fan of Mr. Howard since he has a tendency to bite the hand that feeds him, I do like Taraji P. Henson and Lee Daniels of “Precious” and “The Butler” is an executive producer. The story seems to be a combination of “The Godfather” and “Love and Hip-Hop“.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be checking this out come the fall.

Extant, CBS


Halle Berry stars in this Steven Spielberg produced science fiction drama on CBS as an astronaut who returns to Earth after a year in space pregnant. Miss Berry hasn’t really had much success post her Oscar win so now she’s trying to break into television with a show that looks a lot like “Gravity”.

While I’m not a huge fan of Halle Berry, I am curious to see what this show will end up being especially since it involves space and Steven Spielberg.

How To Get Away With Murder, ABC

how to get away with murder

Shonda Rhimes takes over Thursday nights on ABC with “Scandal” and now “How To Get Away With Murder” starring Viola Davis as a law professor who puts her students to the ultimate test in order to prove that they’re worthy of being a part of her firm. However these students might end up biting off more than they can chew when they get involved in an actual murder.

While Miss Rhimes’ work isn’t really my cup of tea, I cannot hate on a woman who puts black women as her leads, especially if it’s the magnificent Viola Davis, who I’ve been a fan of for years. I’m personally quite excited to check this out.

Red Band Society, FOX

red band society

Another Steven Spielberg produced show, but this time a dark comedy about children living in a pediatric ward under the care of Nurse Jackson played by Octavia Spencer who’s determined to make sure these kids continue to live their lives despite their illnesses.

With the recent success of “The Fault in Our Stars” a film about two teenagers who fall in love while living with terminal cancer, Steven Spielberg’s name and Octavia Spencer’s ‘take no nonsense’ attitude, I think this show might be the next big thing.

State Of Affairs, NBC

state of affairs

NBC takes the reigns for ‘Most Progressive’ use of black women by casting Alfre Woodard as the President of the United States in “State of Affairs” and even having her head CIA analyst played by Katherine Heigl of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame. Initially I was really excited to watch this, mainly because Katherine Heigl was supposed to be the ex of Alfre Woodard’s so and the idea of seeing a mixed race couple on Network television like that was really appealing to me. But sadly the son died in a terrorist attack leaving on Heigl as a survivor.

Oh well. But with the creators behind “The Blacklist” steering this show NBC could prove to be competition for Rhimes’ “Scandal”.

The Minority Report, Comedy Central


As I stated earlier, Larry Wilmore will be replacing the brilliant Stephen Colbert’s famous “The Colbert Report” when he goes to take over for David Letterman in January and I couldn’t be more excited. I expect many bits involving the many black comedians that are often pushed to the sidelines in comedy shows.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that a black man is finally getting his own variety comedy show.

More From Rickey Smiley Show