Evidence of several clips from new shows indicates that after several years of struggling with increasing diversity and casting minorities in leading or principal roles, NBC is making a concerted effort this season to boost people of color in comedies and dramas.
Featured in that effort are several prominent celebrities, including
Greenblatt also gave a shout-out to the network's upcoming live presentation of "The Wiz," the acclaimed stage musical that puts an African American spin on "The Wizard of Oz." The production, which will air in late fall, has cast Stephanie Mills, the Dorothy from the original Broadway production, as Auntie Em, and Greenblatt said a search is underway for a fresh new talent to play the new Dorothy.
The new series featuring minorities in leading roles include:
--"The Player," starring Wesley Snipes and Phillip Westchester as a former military operative turned security agent drawn into a high-stakes game in a Las Vegas-set thriller. The drama marks the first regular series role for Snipes, who is revitalizing his once-red hot Hollywood career after serving a three-year prison sentence for failure to pay taxes.
--"Hot and Bothered," starring Eva Longoria (
--"Superstore," starring America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty") as the supervisor in a big-box megastore with a wacky crew.
--"Shades of Blue," starring Jennifer Lopez as a single mother and New York cop who is forced to work with the FBI and must betray her own on-the-job brothers.