A new year will usher in a wave of new programming, and surprisingly, much of it looks worth paying the cable bill on time for. There’s something for everyone: A lil’ bit of reality, a smidgen of scripted, and a nice bit of documentary-based series. Here’s a look some of the best to come at the top of 2013.
The Real House Husbands of Hollywood: Based on the hilarious sketch at the 2012 BET Awards, The reality show spoof series with a Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque tone will feature Kevin Hart, Boris Kodjoe, Nick Cannon, Anthony Anderson, Duane Martin, and a number of guest stars. Hart, the show’s star, recently said of the series, “I can honestly go on record saying this show will be what Chappelle's Show was for Comedy Central.”
Second Generation Wayans: The half-hour scripted comedy stars Damien Dante Wayans, Craig Wayans, George O. Gore II and Tatyana Ali and focuses on cousins Damien and Craig as they work to emerge from the shadows of famous uncles Keenen, Damon, Shawn and Marlon.
Both premiere Tuesday, January 15.
Love & Hip Hop: The Atlanta spinoff won over millions of new fans, but on January 7 the original version of Vh1 reality franchise will try to make its own mark as it returns with a mostly brand new class – including rapper and Internet attention grabber Joe Budden, plus his current and former girlfriends. I’m still holding out for more Joseline Hernandez, but this might do in the meantime.
Black Ink Crew: Following the premiere of Love & Hip Hop is a new reality series which focuses on the relationships of those working at the Black-owned and operated tattoo shop on 113th and Lennox.
Find Our Missing: The second season of the docu-drama premieres Wednesday, January 9. Hosted by award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson of Law & Order fame, the show works in conjunction with an EBONY.com partner, Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. (BAMFI) to put names and faces to people of color who have disappeared without a trace. This season, both Tyler Perry and Rev. Al Sharpton will appear on an episode to help bring attention to the case of Terrance Deon Williams of Naples, FL, who is the second man to go missing after an encounter with the local Sheriff's Deputy.
Unsung: The popular show for the soulful underdogs of music returns January 21 and will profile the following stars: Isaac Hayes, Midnight Star, EPMD, Lou Rawls, Eddie Kendricks, The Whispers, Mint Condition, Johnny Gill. Plus, Unsung will air a two-hour special on Disco, featuring two-dozen musical performances, and commentary by legendary Disco survivors Gloria Gaynor, Nile Rodgers, Thelma Houston, The Village People, KC of the Sunshine Band and more.
Parole Diaries: Set to air January 25, Indianapolis' top parole officers will return for an additional episode, which “offers an unwavering look at the uncelebrated and gritty corner of the criminal justice system.”
Belle’s: Elise Neal, Tami Roman, and Miguel Núñez star in the scripted comedy about widower William "Big Bill" Cooper who owns and operates his family's upscale soul food restaurant. Yes, I was thinking it’s like Welcome to Sweetie Pies, too. You can turn into ‘skrimps with a script’ starting January 21.
Deception: Meagan Good joins Kerry Washington as another Black woman starring in a broadcast television show. Good plays a female detective returns undercover to the wealthy and troubled Lawson family she grew up in — as the maid’s daughter — to solve the murder of the notorious heiress who was once her closest friend. The murder mystery also features Laz Alonso and premieres Monday, January 7 on NBC.
The Learning Channel:
Totally T-Boz: The TLC singer returns for this TLC reality series that chronicles her return to music after serious health complications – or at least her attempt to. Judging from the newly released trailer, which features the singer meeting with the skeptical producer Bangaldesh, it's unclear how that will work out for her. The show debuted on New Year's Day.
The Sisterhood: Yes, this is a real show and it’s described as a reality series that follows "outspoken ladies who work to ensure that their churches run as smooth as Southern-churned butter." It should be no surprise that the production company behind The Real Housewives of Atlanta is also behind this project. The Sisterhood made it's debut last week.
Not that we're trying to just include any show with a tie to a person of color, but there’s a reason First Lady Michelle Obama was rumored to have pulled strings to get a copy of the third season of the British period drama Downtown Abbey ahead of its America air date premiere. Some of us already saw the show, and yep, ‘twas good. The Masterpiece Theater classic returns January 6.
Also back January 6 is VH1’s Mob Wives. It’s like Italian wives, exes, and concubines meets Ultimate Fighting with sprinkles of hip-hop references because of work-related connections — in other words, everything and more.
HBO’s Girls will be back January 13. In the past, the Lena Dunham-helmed sitcom was criticized for its lack of diversity. The second season will reportedly feature Donald Glover in some capacity, although I highly doubt that’ll settle this or any other complaints about the niche comedy and its creative force.