Byron Allen Casts New Syndicated Comedy 'First Family'
While Charlie Sheen’s new situation comedy Anger Management will have to prove itself in a test run this summer on the FX Network, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has plunged into production on 104 episodes of its first scripted comedy which features a veteran African American cast many of whom are well known from sitcoms of the past.
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Marla Gibbs, who starred in The Jefferson’s and 227, among others, is joined in the cast of The First Family by singer and Dancing With the Stars Gladys Knight as the president’s mother, Sister, Sister’s Jackee Harry, Seinfeld’s Michael D. Roberts, veteran actor John Witherspoon as the president’s father, Hispanic comedian Paul Rodriguez, The Bernie Mac Show’s Kellita Smith as the First Lady, Jamie Foxx Show veteran Christopher B. Duncan, who plays the president of the United States, and others.
“There’s a huge shortfall of quality family sitcoms, and we are 110 percent committed to filling that enormous void,” said Allen, who besides being CEO of Entertainment Studios is also still a comedian himself. “Our number one priority is to deliver the highest quality content in the sitcom genre, and this initial 104-episode order is a big step in the right direction.”
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Allen intends to launch The First Family into national syndication in fall 2012.
Others in the cast of the pilot which was shot recently on the Entertainment Studios stage in Culver City include Khylin Rhambo as the teenage son, Yara Shahidi as the teenage daughter, Sayeed Shahidi as the 7-year-old son, Layla Crawford as the 5 year old daughter, Michael D. Roberts as the butler, Lee Reherman as the Secret Service agent, John Eric Bentley also as a security agent, Tucker Smallwood as an admiral, Casey Sander and Tom Virtue as generals, Adam Kulbersh as a speechwriter and Jet as Max the Dog.