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The Chi is getting its third showrunner in as many seasons.
The Showtime drama created by Lena Waithe has tapped writer Justin Hillian as showrunner for season three, which is currently in production for a premiere in 2020. The series has also signed Luke James (Star), La La Anthony (BH90210, Power) and Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, South Side) to recurring roles and upped Birgundi Baker to a series regular.
Hillian, whose credits also include Snowfall, Superstore and Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here, started on The Chi as a story editor and has worked his way up. He takes over from Ayanna Floyd Davis, who ran the series in season two but is not returning.
In May, Davis told The Hollywood Reporter she had reported misconduct allegations against The Chi actor Jason Mitchell — who was dismissed from the show following multiple reports of inappropriate behavior on set — to HR and countered Waithe’s statements that she wasn’t made aware of any issues until after the first season wrapped.
“When I took the helm in season two, it was Lena who informed me of the issues between Jason Mitchell and [actress] Tiffany Boone from season one, and that Tiffany was thinking of leaving the show because of it,” said Floyd Davis in a statement to THR. “As a result of this information, I discussed Tiffany’s claims with the studio’s HR department and set up HR presentations for the writers, cast and crew. Ultimately, everyone was well aware of Jason’s behavior and his multiple HR cases, including Lena, the creator and an executive producer of the show, who is very involved at the studio and network level.
“As showrunner, I did everything I could to deal with his behavior, by speaking with the studio’s HR department multiple times and instructing one actress to call HR herself, before I became a target of his rage and inappropriateness, and had to report him to HR, as well.”
Waithe later said she wished “I would’ve handled the situation differently. And I wish I would’ve done more. What I want to do is own my part in it.”
As for the new castmembers, James will play Victor “Trig” Taylor, Jake’s (Michael V. Epps) estranged older brother who takes an unconventional approach to reuniting with his family. Anthony will play Dominique “Dom” Morris, a savvy businesswoman who dreams of more lucrative opportunities. And Howery will play Zeke Remnick, the owner of Sonny’s (Cedric Young) building, who cares more about the bottom line than the community.
Hillian will executive produce season three alongside Waithe, Common, Aaron Kaplan, Rick Famuyiwa, Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone of Freedom Road Productions and Jet Wilkinson. The Chi is produced by Fox 21 TV Studios.
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