The new season of fall TV is underway. Shows people have been fiending for since May are finally returning and revealing all the secrets that put fans at the edge of their seats this past spring. From House of Cards to Scandal, there’s something for everyone. But who knew there were more than 30 primetime hits featuring Black actors?
With more than 50 African-American faces gracing America’s small screens, EBONY.com gives you the lineup for this season’s television must-sees, and breaks down the names that help bring these shows to life.
2 Broke Girls, CBS
Season 3: Sept 23/ Seasons 1-2: Available Now
Garrett Morris (Earl) – Twelve years after saying goodbye to the set of The Jamie Foxx Show, Garrett Morris (best known for his role as Junior King) is still taking over primetime television one beautiful woman at a time.
Arrow, The CW
Season 2: Oct 9/ Season 1: Available Now
David Ramsey (John Diggle) – From For Your Love to The West Wing, David Ramsey has acted his way into the hearts of fans for more than 15 years. Now he’s working double duty as Arrow’s John Diggle while keeping the city of New York in line as Blue Bloods’s Mayor Carter Poole.
Beauty and the Beast, The CW
Season 2: Oct 7/ Season 1: Available Now
Brian White (Joe Bishop) – Brian White has seen his share of television and movie sets over the years. But after acting alongside Rachel McAdams, Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Keaton in The Family Stone (2005), the Boston-bred actor has found his way to the forefront of The CW’s Thursday night lineup.
Season 9: Sept 16/ Seasons 1-7 Available Now/ Season 8 Available Oct 8
Tamara Taylor (Dr. Camille Saroyan) – With a number of hit shows under her belt, including Party of Five, Tamara Taylor sang her way up the Hollywood ladder after appearing as Debrah in Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Now Taylor is going nine years strong on this Monday night Fox drama.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox
Season 1: Sept 17
Terry Crews (Sergeant Terry Jeffords) – Recognized as everyone’s favorite comedic gangster, Terry Crews is taking on a new role this season as an officer and a gentleman as he protects the streets Brooklyn, New York.
Andre Braugher (Capitan Holt) – Andre Braugher may have a recurring guest star role on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU as attorney Baynard Ellis, but he’s now co-starring alongside Terry Crews and Andy Samberg as Brooklyn’s new 99th Precinct captain—trying to make it the best department in New York’s largest borough.
Season 6: Sept. 26/ Seasons 1–8 Available Now
Tamala Jones (Lanie Parish) – Booty Call may be the film that landed Tamala Jones a permanent spot in Tinseltown, but it’s sheer talent that’s kept her there. Currently acting as medical examiner for the city of New York, Jones has found her niche in entertainment—and you can see it every Thursday night.
Season 5: Jan ’14/ Seasons 1-4 Available Now
Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley Bennett) – Funny woman Yvette Nicole Brown is back in school for another year of community college. When the Ohio-born star isn’t busy doing voiceover work for Pound Puppies or Family Guy, she can be found on the network that makes her feel right at home.
Donald Glover (Troy Barnes) – Not to be confused with Lethal Weapon actor Danny Glover, Donald McKinley Glover is a 30-year-old comedic actor from the depths of California. From The Muppets to 30 Rock, the West Coast entertainer is back for another year of nonstop laughs while trying to make it through community college.
Criminal Minds, CBS
Season 9: Sept 25/ Seasons 1–8 Available Now
Shemar Moore (Derek Morgan) – There’s no question that this man is at the top of every woman’s dream list. Watching the ageless 43-year-old actor ease his way across the screen in films like Butter (1998) and The Brothers (2001) only makes life better knowing he can be seen every Wednesday night on primetime TV.
Season 2: Season 1 Available Now
Jon Michael Hill (Detective Marcus Bell) – Reliving the classic tale of Sherlock Holmes, Jon Michael Hill works as Detective Marcus Bell in this modern day murder mystery remake.
Grey’s Anatomy, ABC
Season 10: Sept. 26 / Seasons 1-9: Available now
Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey) – Starting as a spunky intern when the Shonda Rhimes-written show first aired, Chandra Wilson now holds four Emmy nominations, four NAACP Image Awards and two Screen Actor’s Guild Awards for her dramatic role as Dr. Miranda Bailey.
James Pickens, Jr. (Dr. Richard Webber) – The man known as Dr. Webber every Thursday night has the ability to make audiences worldwide want to laugh, cry and scream as he continues to fight the demons of getting old. As one of the show’s original cast members, Pickens sits with six NAACP Image Award nominations and one NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Jesse Williams (Dr. Jackson Avery) – As a former schoolteacher, Williams has made quite the name for himself in Hollywood in a short seven years. And in just four short years on Grey’s Anatomy, Jesse Williams has managed to become one of the sexiest men to join ABC’s must-see Thursday night drama.
Jason George (Dr. Ben Warren) – Don’t you remember Jason George as Brandy’s luscious photography teacher, Channing, on Moesha? Well, he’s still that same beautiful man, but now he’s acting opposite Chandra Wilson as her best friend and new husband.
Gauis Charles (Dr. Shane Ross) – Gauis Charles got his first real start on network TV as Brian “Smash” Williams on NBC’s Friday Night Lights. Since then, he’s made his way to USA’s Necessary Roughness, and of course, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy as intern Dr. Shane Ross, who always keeps audiences guessing what he’s going to do next.
Jerrika Hinton (Dr. Stephanie Edwards) – No stranger to television cameos, Jerrika Hinton joined the Grey’s cast in season nine as Dr. Stephanie Edwards. While Hinton has been active in Hollywood for quite some time, this is her first ongoing television role.
Season 3: Oct. 25/ Seasons 1–2 Available Now
Russell Hornsby (Hank Griffin) – Best known for his role as Officer Eddie Sutton on Lincoln Heights, Russell Hornsby has returned to TV, taking on another authoritative role as Detective Hank Griffin in this NBC sci-fi drama.
Hart of Dixie, the CW
Season 3: October 7 / Season 1- 2 Available now
Cress Williams (Lavon Hayes) – Easily remembered as Scooter from Living Single, Cress Williams has reigned on television for years. Before joining the cast of Hart of Dixie, Williams had a number of TV cameos, including a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Bailey’s first husband, Tucker Jones.
Reginald VelJohnson (Dash DeWitt) – Who can forget Carl Winslow? It’s actually pretty impossible. But even 15 years after saying goodbye to one of the greatest sitcoms (Family Matters) to air on ABC’s TGIF series, Reginald VelJohnson is still causing a ruckus and making people laugh as he acts alongside Rachel Bilson on The CW.
House of Cards, Netflix
Season 1- 2: Available now
Reuel Pendleton (Staffer) – New to the world of television, this Baltimore-born actor is on the rise as he works to building his acting repertoire. In two short years, Pendleton has acquired a handful of production and talent coordinator credits while working the Netflix screen on House of Cards.
Season 1: Available now
Blair Underwood (Robert T. Ironside) – Best known for recent his performances in Sex and the City, Madea’s Family Reunion and Obsessed, Blair Underwood is taking on a new role as a police officer forced to work from a wheelchair after a shooting. NBC’s new series will show a different side of the Tacoma-bred actor, so ladies, get ready!
Law & Order: SVU, NBC
Season 15: Sept 25 / Season 1–14 Available now
Ice-T (Fin Tutuola) – Ice-T used to rap about hating the cops, so it was more than ironic when he portrayed one in his first major role in the unforgettable New Jack City. And now the former gangster rapper continues his 15-year role as NYPD detective Fin Tutuola. But fans have to admit, he’s pretty great on the show!
Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner) – Tamara Tunie has a long list of acting credits—39 of them to be exact. But when walking down the street, she’s best known as the witty, intelligent medical examiner on SVU.
The Michael J. Fox Show, NBC
Season 1: Sept 26
Wendell Pierce (Harris Green) – With nearly 30 years of acting under his belt, and more than seven long-running TV shows including The Wire, it’s great to see Wendell Pierce back on primetime television, especially alongside the great Michael J. Fox.
Mike & Molly, CBS
Season 4: TBD/ Seasons 1–3 Available Now
Nyambi Nyambi (Samuel) – Making a name for himself in theater, Nyambi has acted alongside film greats such as Al Pacino and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. From Shakespeare in the Park to the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Nyambi began exploring the television circuit in 2010 with a one-time part on Law & Order. Six months later, TV viewers saw him again after he landed a permanent role on Mike & Molly.
Reno Wilson (Officer Carl McMillan) – With an acting résumé dating back to 1988, when first playing Howard on The Cosby Show, Reno Wilson has made an appearance on multiple primetime shows over the years. And now he’s found a home on CBS as Officer Carl McMillan, a grown man who has to move in with his grandmother!
Cleo King (Grandma) – It’s not every day a grandmother has to let her adult grandson move in the house, but Cleo King is about that life in Mike & Molly! As her TV grandchild gets things together while working as a police officer, King’s character tries to keep her grandson in check while teaching him how to just deal.
NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS
Season 5: Sept. 24/ Seasons 1–4 Available Now
LL Cool J (Sam Hanna) – James Todd Smith is a beautiful man! Anytime he makes his way to television or the big screen, there are no complaints—at least not from the ladies’ side. Four years on the set of NCIS: Los Angeles have flown by as it seems like the show just aired for the first time yesterday, and the ladies love it!
New Girl, Fox
Season 3: Sept. 17/ Seasons 1 Available Now/Season 2 Available Now
Lamorne Morris (Winston Bishop) – With a number of TV appearances over the past decade, Lamorne Morris is best known for playing one of the three men that help their friend Jess get through a breakup on New Girl.
Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
Season 1: Available now
Michelle Hurst (Miss Claudette Pelage) – Every prison has a resident OG, and in OITNB, Michelle Hurst is just that. Sentenced to what seems like life for smuggling children in the U.S. to work as servants—something she endured herself—Hurst’s character is one nobody wants to mess with. She doesn’t tolerate nonsense and ignores all the drama.
Samira Wiley (Poussey Washington) – As a graduate of The Julliard School in New York, Samira Wiley has only dwelled in the land of Tinseltown for a short two years—but she’s made every minute count. After appearing alongside Jonah Hill in The Sitter (2011), Wiley acquired a couple smaller roles before being cast as Poussey. While her character’s story has yet to unfold, fans of the show can’t help but appreciate her talent with each new episode.
Danielle Brooks (Taystee) – Also a graduate of The Julliard School, Danielle Brooks found herself cast on the Netflix hit as Taystee, a girl who finds herself in jail; gets a chance at freedom; then realizes her life is better locked up in a place where she knows she has a place to sleep.
Uzo Aduba (Suzanne aka Crazy Eyes) – Known for her work on Broadway, Uzo Aduba has made a handful of television cameos over the past year. But her breakout role on OITNB is one that won’t go unnoticed. While Aduba’s story as Suzanne hasn’t been shared yet, it’s clear the crazed inmate has some demons she needs to work out.
Vicky Jeudy (Janae Watson) – Vicky Jeudy is fairly new to Hollywood, but her role as Janae Watson on OITNB has put her on everyone’s radar. As a promising high school student with impeccable talent on the track, Jeudy’s character unfortunately lets boys get the best of her, and she finds herself behind bars after robbing a store for a boy that told her she was pretty.
Laverne Cox (Sophia Burset) – With a number of transgendered roles on her résumé, Laverne Cox found herself at home after being cast as a transgendered woman who got caught in a heinous crime. Her performance on the show sheds light on the emotions and situations that transgendered people might go through and/or feel when making a life-changing decision.
Parks & Recreation, NBC
Season 6: Sept 26 / Season 1-4: Available now / Season 5: Available Now
Donna Meagle (Retta) – As Pawnee, Indiana’s Parks & Recreation office manager, Donna Meagle works to keep the outspoken and out-of-control parks and rec staff in line. But in a town like Pawnee, that’s seems like a never-ending task.
Rashida Jones (Ann Perkins) – With the last name Jones, and Quincy Jones’s fifth child, it was inevitable that Rashida Jones would see success. Leaving music to her siblings, the Harvard graduate began dabbling in acting when she was fresh out of college. Realizing comedy was her niche, she made her way to NBC after building an impressive comedic film résumé.
Person of Interest, CBS
Season 3: Sept. 24/ Seasons 1–2 Available Now
Taraji P. Henson (Detective Joss Carter) – It’s rare to see this Academy Award-nominated actress on a television set. So when word got out that she was joining the cast of Person of Interest, saying fans were delighted is an understatement. Henson puts her hardcore talent to use as an unequivocal badass on this primetime hit!
Season 3: Sept. 29 / Season 1-2: Available now
Ashley Madekwe (Ashley Davenport) – While Ashley Madekwe made her return to film and television seven years ago, she’s found a way to get back in the limelight as the sexy socialite (and Emily Thorne’s frenemy) on Sunday night must-see TV.
Season 2: Sept. 25 / Season 1: Available now
Giancarlo Esposito (Major/Captain Tom Neville) – For more than 30 years, Giancarlo Esposito has rocked TV and the big screen. From Go Tell It on the Mountain to Breaking Bad, this seasoned talent has shown why he been able to last so long. And with his new role on Revolution, he shows no intent to hit the breaks anytime soon.
Season 3: Oct 3 / Season 1-2: Available now
Kerri Washington (Olivia Pope) – When it comes to Thursday nights, this is the only woman who can single-handedly take over Twitter’s trending topics. As Olivia Pope, she’s a woman with a plan, and she has every man and woman across the country glued to her/her TV not accepting any interruptions as long as she’s on the screen!
Columbus Short (Harrison Wright) – As Harrison Wright, Columbus Short is Olivia Pope’s right-hand man. Head of the Gladiator Team—next to Liv—Short brings new thrills to Scandal every week. He’s a book-smart, street-savvy man who will do whatever it takes when it comes to protecting Olivia Pope and the ones she cares about most.
Norm Lewis (Senator Edison Davis) – Norm Lewis has dabbled in television over the years, but now as Olivia Pope’s on-and-off again love interest, he’s garnered the attention of millions. Unsure of what his intentions might be, he certainly plays a part when it comes to keeping the audience coming back for more.
Joe Morton (Rowan Pope) – While Joe Morton has only been in a few recent episodes of the Shonda Rhimes hit, he leaves audiences gasping every time he opens his mouth. With his recent familial secret coming to light, people can’t wait to see what Olivia’s father has been planning for the last year!
The Vampire Diaries, The CW
Season 5: October 3 / Season 1-4: Available now
Kat Graham (Bonnie Bennett) – Entering Hollywood through the famed Disney route (The Parent Trap, Lizzie McGuire), Kat Graham is now acting opposite former Degrassi star Nina Dobrev. As the reigning Twilight-esque drama—next to True Blood—Kat acts as a sultry and selfless witch alongside a teenage vampire coven in this need-to-see CW drama.
The Walking Dead
Season 4: Oct. 13 / Season 1-3: Available now
Danai Gurira (Michonne) – Best known for her role as Jill on HBO’s Treme, Danai Gurira continues to receive praise for her work on The Walking Dead. As Michonne, a fierce warrior who goes around slaying zombies with a Katana blade, this Zimbabwean-American actress is setting a new bar for women in Hollywood with her passionate and tempestuous character on AMC.
Army Wives, Lifetime
Season 8: TBD / Season 1-7: Available now
Sterling K. Brown (Roland) – For six years, Sterling Brown has played Wendy Davis’s husband on Lifetime’s must-see series. But before he said “I do” to Lieutenant Colonel Joan Burton, he was starring in shows like Third Watch, Starved and Supernatural. Now, when he’s not on the set of Army Wives, Brown is busy shooting for his role as Detective Cal Beecher on the CBS hit, Person of Interest.
Wendy Davis (Lieutenant Colonel Joan Burton) – Since 1991, Wendy Davis has become a familiar face on many of America’s favorite shows. But as Lieutenant Colonel Joan Burton, she’s become a resident badass on Lifetime. Every Sunday night, Davis empowers women with her mental and emotional strength as a woman in the military.
Ashanti (Latasha Montclair) – Known for her years as the first lady of Murder Inc. (now The Inc.), Ashanti saw the acting doors open when she acquired her first major movie role as Kyra in Coach Carter (2005). But after two additional movie roles to add to her catalogue of work, the 32-year-old singer found a love for television when landing her role as the new mom and woman to join the Army Wives crew.
Season 8: Dec. 15 / Season 1-6: Available now
Dulé Hill (Burton “Gus” Guster) – Before becoming a poster face for USA, Dulé Hill played Charles Young on NBC’s The West Wing. But it was a short two months before fans saw the 38-year-old actor pop up in another hit show. Now, Hill’s playing a clueless, know-it-all detective solving crimes one vision at a time.
Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family
Season 4: Returns Jan. ’14/ Season 1 – 3: Available Now
Aeriél Miranda (Shana) – Making her acting debut in 2011 as Lana on The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Aeriél Miranda can now be seen every Tuesday night as one of Rosewood, Pennsylvania’s pretty little liars. As her character continues to develop, fans just love to hate her more and more because she’s always up to no good.