*TV One just wrapped up its panel at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour promoting two upcoming programs: the first full season of Tatyana Ali’s series “Love That Girl!,” premiering Monday (Jan. 10) at 9 p.m., and a four-part Black History Month celebration titled “Way Black When,” coming in February.
In “Love That Girl!” Ali stars as Tyana Jones, a young divorcee who returns home to Southern California for a second chance in life and a career in her father’s (Phil Morris) real estate business. When her unemployed brother Latrell (Alphonso McAuley), an aspiring stand-up comedian, unexpectedly moves in with her, the world that she was trying to create is suddenly turned upside down.
TV One aired four episodes of the series last year as a test run. Creator Bentley Kyle Evans, a writer from “Martin” and “The Jamie Foxx Show,” produced the episodes himself – calling on favors from friends and industry contacts to get the shows made. Based on viewer reaction, the network opted to produce an additional 13 episodes.
“The ratings were great,” TV One Senior Vice President of Original Programing Toni Judkins tells EURweb exclusively. “The audience loved it. We took some of their positive comments, negative, whatever it was as we decided to go forward.
“We don’t have the opportunity to go out and test and do some of the things the major networks do. So we said you know what, Bentley? We’ll put it up there. If they respond, then we’ll look into it.”
“Way Black When” – back for its second year as part of TV One’s “Our History Month” initiative – is a month of programming designed to reflect on black pop culture from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s.” Sinbad hosts the 70s, while Niecy Nash covers the 80s and Christopher “Kid” Reid takes on the 90s.
Each hour-long talk show will feature interviews with pop culture icons that span the three decades, including Jim Brown, Jayne Kennedy, Ernest Thomas, Todd Bridges, Dick Gregory, Sheila E. and Paul Mooney– to name a few, as well as musical performances from Cuba Gooding Sr., Evelyn Champagne King, Doug E. Fresh and Larry Graham.
The House Band for all of the episodes: Mint Condition.
“They had just flown in in from performing in Iraq,” Judkins told the room full of TCA reporters this afternoon in Pasadena. “Jimmy Fallon has the Roots, we have Mint Condition.”
“We’re trying to organize a [TV] band fight,” Kid chimed in. “…Have Mint Condition go against the Roots and Paul Schaffer.”
Also on deck: a “New Jack City” night with guests Mario Van Peebles, Jasmine Guy, Christopher Williams, and “the guy that shot Nino Brown,” Kid said.
As for rounding up the guest stars, Judkins said everyone they approached was more than willing to participate. In fact, the biggest challenge was trying to figure out which decade would be hosted by Nash.
After talking to the former “Clean House” host, Judkins said it quickly became apparent where she belonged.
“I think of myself as an eighties baby,” Nash told reporters Wednesday. “Maybe it was because I was in high school. I was a head cheerleader, thank you very much. …The music, the hairdos – I had them all. Todd Bridges didn’t know he was my boyfriend.”
- Also on deck for TV One, a new season of “Unsung” will begin airing in the spring and fall, and TV One’s biography series “Life After” begins airing new episodes in the summer.