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Most network comedies, particularly new network comedies, would shy away from covering sensitive subjects like the Ferguson riots. But not NBC’s new multicam sitcom The Carmichael Show.
“I think we’re going to get to discuss things that really need to be discussed like Obama and Ferguson,” said star Loretta Devine.
Joked star and executive producer Jerrod Carmichael: “You know, zany topics like that.”
The Carmichael Show, which premieres Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 9:30 p.m., centers on Jerrod’s relationships with his say-anything father (David Alan Grier), his therapist girlfriend (Amber West), his ever-hustling brother (Lil Rel Howery) and his religious mother (Devine).
“Our intention is to talk about things, like to actually reflect the conversations that are being had in living rooms amongst families, amongst couples,” said Carmichael. “The most important thing for us is to really be people that exist in the world. A lot of comedy seems so isolated and it seems removed from our daily realities, and it’s criminal not to talk about these things. It’s criminal not to reflect the real conversations that America is having especially at this time when it’s all about conversations.”
Carmichael said it was always his intention to broach these hot-button issues. “I love All in the Family. I love that dynamic and just families that seem very honest, like The Cosby Show,” said Carmichael before taking a pause. “Am I allowed to say that?”
After his original NBC pilot was not picked up to series last spring, Carmichael’s show was redeveloped to center more on his family and eventually picked up for a six-episode first season last month. “What’s crazy is NBC is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in,” said Carmichael. “But it’s been a great process.”
The series order for Carmichael’s show comes as the networks have made a heavy push for diversity this pilot season in the wake of the success of Empire, How to Get Away with Murder and Black-ish. When asked about the success of the latter — particularly another sitcom about an African-American family, Carmichael offered no easy answers. “Listen, we try to look at it as a family show. The success of Black-ish is great for television,” said Carmichael. “I’m hoping that the show is compared as much to Black-ish as All in the Family as Modern Family.”
Devine later joked: “And Empire ’cause we all sing.”
The Carmichael Show premieres on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
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