*TV critics who have seen clips of TV One’s new sitcom “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” premiering Tuesday, Sept. 18, have suggested it’s cut from the same cloth as small screen product from Tyler Perry. Well there’s a reason for that.
As previously reported, the premise is loosely based on the on-air personality’s own life. Smiley plays a comedian and radio host having to balance his career with being a single father of several adopted children.
“In the show they’re his biological children, but in real life he actually is a single father to quite a few children that he pretty much raises on his own,” says executive producer Roger Bobb, “which is why we thought this subject matter was so interesting.
Ray J plays Smiley’s producer and Roz Ryan stars as Rickey’s live-in aunt who helps take care of the kids. J. Anthony Brown rounds out the cast.
“The unique thing about the sitcom is that it stars three established comedians: Rickey Smiley, J. Anthony Brown, and there’s another young man named Little JJ, who had his own sitcom on Nickelodeon,” Bobb continued. “So I would venture to say this is probably the only sitcom out that stars three established comedians. And that’s one of the other reasons why we think it’s going to be hilarious, because it stars real, funny people.”
One of the show’s biggest similarities to Tyler Perry’s fare is the presence of church scenes. “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” has its share, based on Smiley’s real life experience as a deacon and trustee at his own church in Birmingham.
Also, Perry is to Madea what Smiley is to Sis. Bernice Jenkins – his longtime standup character who will make appearances in the series, as will Smiley’s fictional Joe Willie of Joe Willie and the Deuteronomaires and Pastor Bartholemew.
Smiley’s show may also seem Tyler Perryish because Bobb used to be the executive vice president of Tyler Perry Studios – and served as the producer of Perry’s TBS shows “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”
Below, Smiley shares a memory of the first time he ever met Tyler Perry – at baggage claim in a New York airport several years ago. [Scroll down to watch the Madea/Sis. Bernice Jenkins clip mentioned by Smiley in the audio clip.]