Friday, February 20, 2009

The Return of South Central

TV ONE is broadcasting eight episodes of the series South Central on Monday, February 23rd at 1:00 AM CST. The series, set in South Central Los Angeles, dealt with the lives of an African American family, the Moseleys, and issues, such as gang violence, drugs, dating, sex, school, and employment. Joan Moseley (Tina Lifford) is a divorced mother, raising three children without any financial assistance from her former husband. The financial situation becomes even more complicated when she is laid off from her job at the neighborhood market. Her children include Andr√® (Larenz Tate), Tasha (Tasha Scott) and foster son Deion (Keith Mbulo). Rounding out the casts was Joan’s friends, Dr. Ray McHenry (Ken Page) and Sweets (Paula Kelly).

South Central featured many guest stars including Jennifer Lopez, Shar Jackson, Michael Beach, and Maia Campbell. This show provided a realistic portrayal of urban life and was very popular among critics. In retrospect the series might have been too real airing not long after the Los Angeles riots. I remember one episode that showed Tasha outside in the yard singing under a helicopter (ghetto bird) spotlight. The show aired on Tuesday nights following Roc.

Due to a decline in ratings of the entire night of programming, FOX cancelled all of the shows on that night, which included The Sinbad Show and In Living Color. The cancellation of the series, which had a predominately black cast, prompted Jesse Jackson to call for a boycott of the network for what he called their institutional racism. FOX maintained that the series were low rated and the decision to cancel was not racially motivated. Thanks to TV ONE for bringing back a show that never really had a chance. I found this clip of Tasha Scott and a scene with her acting opposite CCH Pounder is contained here.


Thembi said...

Can you even BEGIN to imagine how upset I am that I dont get TVONE?!?!?!

Malcolm said...

When I first read the opening line of your post, my reaction was "goddamnit!" because as you probably know I don't get TV One. Yes, "South Central" was too real for the networks. As brief as South Central's run was, it probably would have been even shorter if it aired on one of the "Big Three" networks. Hell, they may not even have picked it up.

Props for finding those clips of the show. I had forgotten that Lamont Bentley was in the cast. Also, hearing the Cross Colours reference in the last clip was a blast from the past.

pjazzypar said...

Hey Thembi and Malcolm, I just recently acquired TV One when I switched from Dish Network to Direct TV. I feel your pain. Malcolm, I think Cook gets TV One. Ask her to Tivo the series for you.

Lori said...

Aww snap, that was my show! (LOL) Appreciate the tip, PJ!

pjazzypar said...

You are welcome Lori. Enjoy!

X. Dell said...

Fox, as well as the WB, had to find some way of quick-starting in order to attract advertisers, and both of them hit upon the same strategy. They concentrated on markets that were underserved by the established networks, thus providing reliable shares among some demographics, among them African American. As the networks picked up steam from other shows, they dropped the old ones, either one-by-one, or, as in this case, in one fell swoop.

Declining ratings don't mean much in TV if your core demographic still watches the show. After all, that's where your ad revenue comes from. So Jackson's right in assuming that the cancellations had to do with more than that.