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From South Central to Beverly Hills — the CW's teen football drama 'All American' promises a new take on the classic genre

From South Central to Beverly Hills — the CW's teen football drama 'All American' promises a new take on the classic genre
At the TCA press tour for "All American" are, back row from left, Greg Berlanti, April Blair and Spencer Paysinger, and bottom row from left, Bre-Z, Daniel Ezra, Taye Diggs and Samantha Logan. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

The CW’s new series “All American” is a tale of two worlds.

Inspired by the life of professional football player Spencer Paysinger, the show tells the story of a talented high school football player from South Central Los Angeles who is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High School.

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Premiering Oct. 10, “All American” stars British actor Daniel Ezra (“The Missing”) as Paysinger and Taye Diggs (“Private Practice”) as the Beverly Hills coach who recruits him.

While promoting the show at the Television Critics Assn. press tour Monday in Beverly Hills, the show’s creators and cast shared how “All American” differs from another teen football drama, “Friday Night Lights,” and other fish-out-of-water teen classics like “The O.C.”

Executive producer April Blair said one difference is the attention to not just Beverly Hills but also the South Central community in the show.

“We really leaned heavily on Spencer to paint that picture for us,” Blair said. “We really tried to capture… not just the challenges of that neighborhood but the beauty of that neighborhood as well.”

“When we started this, I talked to everyone,” Paysinger said. “I told them South Central has been portrayed so many ways in the media… I wanted to implant that family aspect of it.”

Diggs said that today’s political climate has also affected the tone of the show.

"A lot of the issues that we are dealing with, they mean something a lot different than what we were going through when these other shows were on the air,” Diggs said. “Identity, race, sexuality — we’re forced to look at it differently. I think that forces the show to do that as well."

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