Coming off of the much anticipated Oscars this past weekend, much talk has been circulating as to whether or not an Academy Award win actually helps most of the black actor recipients. Winner for Best Supporting Actor in 1996, Cuba Gooding Jr. has been attached to a number of questionable movie roles following his win, despite his obviously formidable acting chops shown in "Jerry Maguire." Well, 2012 may be shaping up to be Gooding Jr.'s turn around year. Following his large lead in "Red Tails," Gooding Jr. has been cast as the central character for a new FOX pilot titled "Guilty."
In the legal drama pilot, Gooding Jr. will play William "Billy" Remz, a defense lawyer known for making more than a few ethically questionable professional moves who has been falsely accused of fraud. Once Remz's license to practice law is taken away, he takes a less than formal approach to solving more cases in order to clear his innocent name. This role will be Gooding Jr.'s first on a regular series television if picked up by the station. While Hollywood has shown slightly more promise in the area of diversity on camera, the small screen, particularly prime time, seems to have remained stuck in a whitewashed rut. Cuba Gooding Jr.'s new lead role might suggest a change in tide, although given the fickle and fleeting nature of the television industry, we should probably just wait and see how this plays out.
If the pilot is picked up, should black viewers support Gooding Jr.'s show to support a series with a black lead? Or, should they first wait and see how well the series does and disregard race entirely?