Season 2 of FOX’s smash hit Empire, starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard, along with ABC’s breakout sitcom black-ish, starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, kicked off their new seasons Wednesday night with huge ratings.
The Black TV line-up gets even better on Thursday night with the return of Shonda Rhimes’ How To Get Away With Murder starring Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, and Scandal, starring Kerry Washington.
With the recent success of network television shows featuring all-Black casts or starring African-American actors/actresses, it would seem as though the state of Black television is strong, but are we experiencing the “Golden Age” of Black TV?
On Thursday, Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discussed the explosion of Black television shows and whether as Martin said, “all of a sudden Black is the new Black” on the small screen.
“Historically we go through these times” when African-American television shows become extremely popular, NewsOne Now panelist Michelle Bernard said. She highlighted the popularity of Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Sanford and Son as the first wave of Black shows airing on network television during the same era, saying, “we’ve come around again and it’s so much better.”
Martin summarized the explosion of Black TV shows as a result of a 2014 Nielsen report revelation: African-Americans watch more TV than anybody else.
Mo Ivory feels that the recent crop of Black TV shows also contain a few programs where network executives said, “let’s just get Black people on TV and put it in front of something and see how it goes.”
She added, “I don’t want it to be where Black is such a hot thing that now we’re foregoing quality and we’re forgoing good story lines and intense writing, ’cause I think that is happening a little bit.”
Ivory further explained her point, saying that writing has a lot to do with the longevity of these shows and she would “like to see it last for as long as possible,” verses a Black actor appearing on a show for a few episodes and then the “show is going because it was so bad.”
Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the state of Black TV in the video clip above.
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