Black Actors Are Ruling TV Pilot Season

Black actors are in demand — well, they’re starring in a string of television pilots — and I will praise the Lord for all of it.

Viola Davis and Shonda Rhimes, master of Scandal and ruler of America’s emotional health on Thursday nights, are teaming up for How to Get Away With Murder on ABC. Elsewhere on the same network, Romany Malco (Weeds, Think Like A Man) and Anthony Anderson (Law & Order) will star in Kevin Hart and Kenya Barris’ comedy sitcoms, respectively.

Over on NBC, my favorite piano-playing jokester Craig Robinson will head up Mr. Robinson while Meagan Good tries to find gold after the cancelled Deception series with the sci-fi drama Babylon Fields.

Fox has recruited a Lee Daniels project called Empire starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, who worked together back on that awful movie Hustle & Flow that introduced the world to Three 6 Mafia. (Sarcastic clap, excluding this song.) Hopefully Empire will reflect everyone's best talents.

Meanwhile, Jada Pinkett-Smith will join a Batman-rooted show called Gotham, writes The Hollywood Reporter (whose unfortunate headline refers to black actors as a "trend," but we'll keep focusing on all the good news here), and Octavia Spencer, after the loss of the Murder She Wrote reboot, will head the hospital drama Red Band Society. Even film actress Halle Berry is getting in on the action with a summer sci-fi series called Extant.

Right now I'd like to send a shout out to all of the directors, producers, actors, film and TV executives with the power to green-light these projects — and the audiences who tune in — for allowing that crazy diversity thing everyone's always talking about to actually appear on screen. We'll see how many of these pilots receive a full series run (outside of Mr. Robinson, which is already in the works), but the odds are looking up.

Images via Getty.