By Bill Vaughan
Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere,” “Scandal”) is returning to television in “Unprisoned,” an eight-episode series for Hulu created by Tracy McMillan (“Mad Men”).
Inspired by McMillan’s life, the half-hour comedy is about a messy but perfectionist relationship therapist and single mom whose life is turned right-side-up when her dad (portrayed by Delroy Lindo, who also is an executive producer) gets out of prison and moves in with her and her teenage son.
Yvette Lee Bowser (“Living Single,” “Dear White People,” “Run the World”) serves as executive producer and showrunner for the series produced by ABC Signature.
“[It has] the potential to be provocative, groundbreaking and life-affirming,” says Washington, executive producer and star. “I love this show. I love these characters and the stories that they’ve inspired. And I’m so honored to work with this extraordinarily talented group of partners.”
“This isn’t just my story,” adds McMillan, “it’s the story of millions of people dealing with the effects of mass incarceration on their families, hearts, minds and bodies — and as writers, we wanted to come to these flawed but super-lovable characters from the place of empathy, humor and soul that they deserve.”
“Unprisoned” comes from Onyx Collective, a new content brand formed under Disney General Entertainment Content designed to curate a slate of premium entertainment programming by creators of color and underrepresented voices.
It joins their already impressive slate of content, including Questlove’s Oscar-winning documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”; “The Hair Tales,” from executive producers Tracee Ellis Ross, Michaela Angela Davis and Oprah Winfrey; legal drama “Reasonable Doubt,” from executive producers Raamla Mohamed, Kerry Washington and Larry Wilmore; limited series “The Plot,” executive produced and starring two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali; award-winning documentary “Aftershock,” from directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee; and recently announced docuseries “Gigante,” featuring interviews with Mario Kreutzberger, also known as Don Francisco, chronicling how the political and cultural impact of “Sabado Gigante” helped shape a new demographic.
The brand’s roster of prolific creators also includes writer and comedian Natasha Rothwell (“Insecure,” “SNL”), writer, producer and director Prentice Penny’s Penny for Your Thoughts, Ryan Coogler’s Proximity Media (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Black Panther”) and writer and director Destin Daniel Cretton (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”) and his production company Family Owned.
CLIPPETTES: Artist Ernie Barnes’ iconic painting “The Sugar Shack,” utilized as the cover art for Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” album and featured on TV series “Good Times,” set an auction record selling for just over $15 million …
The Brothers Johnson, Ohio Players, Rose Royce and more are set for the L.A. County Fair at Pomona’s Fairflex on May 20; as Jazz at LACMA presents MFUO with Jacques Lesure and Marvin “Smitty” Smith …
“The Harder They Fall” writer/director Jeymes Samuel announced that his follow-up will be a biblical epic set in 29 AD called “The Book of Clarence” to star LaKeith Stanfield (“Atlanta”) …
Black Ark: Gary Simmons & Elvis Mitchell in Conversation will be held at the open-air courtyard of Hauser & Wirth on May 21; while The Suffers and special guest Fat Tony play The Miracle in Inglewood …
Bravo has given the green light to a docu-series “Xscape/SWV” following both group’s reunion plans following their Verzuz performance …
Wu-Tang Clan co-founder GZA headlines May 22 at The Glass House; as Spyro Gyra performs at The Coach House …
Shut Up! CNN Films and HBO Max are teaming for the documentary “Little Richard: I Am Everything” with the participation of Rolling Stone magazine …
The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announced actress Holly Robinson-Peete will host the 47th annual Gracie Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on May 24, with a special live performance by multi-platinum singer-songwriter Christina Perri …
The Grammy Museum hosts Jamaican dancehall singer, producer, and philanthropist Sean Paul on May 26 for an intimate conversation discussing his new album “Scorcha” (dropping May 27), his impressive career, and his creative process, followed by a performance …
Chris Brown will begin a residency at Las Vegas’ Drai Nightclub at The Cromwell on June 11. He will perform on a transparent two-level stage that he designed himself while introducing songs from his upcoming 10th album “Breezy.” Additional dates are to be announced.
TASTY QUIP: ““Now more than ever the Black constituency must first be made aware, and then armed with information that can help advance the issues we care about and repel the ideas that are antithetical to the best interests of our community. The time is now for ‘A More Perfect Union,’ which is a weekly show designed to keep our community in the know with a moderator like Dr. [Nii-Quartelai] Quartey, who keeps his ear to the ground and his heart attuned to the causes we care about.” – TAVIS SMILEY on KBLA Talk 1580’s new Sunday morning show premiering May 22 at 10 a.m.
TC ON TV: May 20 – “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers” (Disney+): John Mulaney, Andy Samburg, Keegan-Michael Key, Kiki Layne and J.K. Simmons are utilized in this hybrid live-action/CG animated action-comedy. “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman” (Netflix): This season to feature sit downs with Will Smith, Cardi B, Billie Eilish and Kevin Durant. “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” (Para+): The seventh season kicks off followed by spin-off “Untucked.” “Friday Night Vibes” (TBS): Tiffany Haddish and Deon Cole welcome Malin Akerman and Jarod Miller for a double feature of “Rampage” and “San Andreas.” “George Carlin’s American Dream” (HBO): Chronicles the life and work of legendary comedian. “Pause With Sam Jay” (HBO): The Emmy-nominated comedian and writer returns with her late-night talk series where conversations are further expanded with additional interviews, sketches, and animation.
May 21 – “Saturday Night Live” (NBC): Natasha Lyonne hosts the season finale with musical guest Japanese Breakfast.
May 22 – “American Idol” (ABC): The grand finale has the Top 3 singing a round of songs by “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen; with performances by judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan as well as guests Earth, Wind & Fire, Flo Rida, Michael Bublé, Carrie Underwood and more. “Saints & Sinners” (Bounce): The series with the all-star cast of Vanessa Bell Calloway, Clifton Powell, Richard Lawson, Gloria Reuben, Christian Keyes, Afemo Omilami and Keith Robinson concludes after six seasons. “Harmony In Paradise” (UP): Vivica A. Fox co-stars in this romantic movie set in Puerto Rico.
May 23 – “Don’t Forget The Lyrics” (Fox): Niecy Nash hosts the all-new revival of the popular game show now offering a $1 million to the winner. “The Neighborhood” (CBS): Gina Yashere of “Bob ♥ Abishola” guest stars as a Nigerian party planner. “Beat Shazam” (Fox): An all new season of the game show led by Jamie Foxx and daughter Corinne Foxx.
May 24 – “Yo! MTV Raps” (Para+): The iconic series is rebooted with new hosts and this week’s guest Freddie Gibbs. “Ellen” (Syn): Oprah Winfrey “This Is Us” (NBC): The series finale finds The Big Three coming to new understandings about life.
May 25 – “Somebody Feed Phil” (Netflix): “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal this season visits Bangkok, Lisbon, Mexico City and more. Go back and watch the earlier episode from South Africa. It’s classic! “Ellen” (Syn): Bruno Mars “The Great American Tag Sale With Martha Stewart” (ABC): The lifestyle guru parts ways with pieces from her vast collection of furniture, art and housewares in this new one-hour special. “Masterchef” (Fox): Returns for a 12th season. “Survivor” (CBS): An African-American winner may be crowned in this three-hour season finale.
May 26 – “That Damn Michael Che” (HBO Max): The second season of the sketch comedy series starring the “Saturday Night Live” writer and Weekend Update anchor is here with guests including Wayne Brady, Ziwe, Charlamagne tha God, David Alan Grier, Colin Jost, Tim Meadows, Questlove, Sam Richardson and Kenan Thompson, among others. “Echoes” (AllBlk): Identical twins who have swapped lives run into chaos when one goes missing. “Look At Me: XXXTENTACION” (Hulu): Explores how Florida teenager Jahseh Onfroy became SoundCloud rapper XXXTENTACION, one of the most streamed artists on the planet, before his death at the age of 20.
END QUOTE: “Mass shooters are not mentally ill. They have a evil mentality.” – CARDI B
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.