Is Scandal a good show or a bad one for black America and those who love it? That’s all up for debate. But what isn’t debatable is the success of the show. Millions of consistent viewers have turned Scandal into one of the hottest shows on television and made Shonda Rhimes very powerful and popular in Hollywood.
African Americans watch more television than any other group of people, which is an interesting and potentially objectional fact. Networks are taking full advantage of black television habits, with ABC leading the charge. Thursday night has become “black people night” on the network, with three major shows designed to attract loyal black audiences.
“Scandal” has been on the air for two years now, so ABC and adding another show that can continue once Olivia Pope has finished her job. “How to Get Away with Murder” is a hot new show starring Viola Davis as yet another legal eagle by the name of Annalise Keating. That means you have two black female characters, both tough, both in the legal profession, both on national television. This hasn’t happened in a while, if ever, has it?
This makes for back-to-back series on primetime ABC that both star African American women. Where does this leave black men? ABC deserves credit for creating another show, “Black-ish,” that features an African American family with both a successful father and grandfather on the show, so they are representing for the public, or so it seems. So, despite the notion that network executives know they can hypnotize millions of black people in front of their TVs, this appears to be an interesting development.
This writer below has proclaimed 2014 to be the Year of the Black Woman on television. It certainly is a big deal for black female writers and actors. But with ABC not being owned by black people, are African Americans really winning or are they cogs in a bigger wheel? It’s hard to say.
Ask folks likeNew York Times writer Alessandra Stanley, who began her ill-advised September 18 post-racial offering “Wrought in Rhimes’s Image” circling around the unprecedented event with “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman,’” and the resistance is very clear.
Oh never mind that Murder, like almost every other series on TV, even in this great age of black female engagement, was created by, gasp, another white male.