NBC has picked up the comedy script, Black & Right, which reads like the most important and influential piece of media regarding race relations since C. Thomas Howell’s Soul Man.
According to Variety, “the pilot focuses on a young, hip liberal African-American couple who lose everything and are forced to move in with their die-hard Republican pundit mother and her white conservative husband.” In other words, let the thinly veiled stereotypes begin.
While the concept sounds like it is simply courting controversy to garner initial viewers and subsequent ratings, it is reportedly based on writer Jennifer Rice-Genzuk’s real life. Whether the semi-autobiographical note will help Black & Right become something more than another All in the Family rip-off remains to be seen.
Rice-Genzuk may be drawing humor from a bleak point in her personal life, but her professional one is no laughing matter. In addition to selling Black & Right to NBC, she currently writes on the hit BET comedy The Game, which scored the cable network’s biggest audience by a scripted series by nabbing 7.7 million viewers on its cable television premiere earlier this month. The series ran for three seasons on the CW before “dismal ratings” caused the network to axe the show. More impressive still, The Game scored those numbers after being off the air for nearly two years.
Although NBC continues to struggle in the ratings, they do have some success with their comedies. Shows like The Office, Community and 30 Rock garner the network some attention on Thursday nights, so adding another potential ratings-grabber seems like a no-brainer. Unlike Black & Right, however, The Office and Community aren’t as likely to be lighting rods for Bill O’Reily or Rush Limbaugh, so the network could be facing a double-edged sword in terms of potential viewers and those with sounding boards to express their discontent.
While this is all speculation based on the heated culture of politics in this country at the moment, the incredibly short fuse of so many seem likely to be lit by the political lines Black & Right will undoubtedly draw.