With the emergence of scripted television programing shifting across digital platforms, actor and filmmaker Al Thompson has intentions on being in the forefront of the rapidly increasing trend.
Through his production company, ValDean Entertainment, the Love Don’t Cost A Thing star also aims to project the missing void of showcasing Harlem’s influential culture with his forthcoming series Lenox Avenue.
The drama series, which stars Thompson, Dorian Missick, Ryan Vigilant, Michael K. Williams, Jamie Hector, and Vanessa Bell Calloway, revolves around three friends as they navigate through the fast paced dating scene in Manhattan’s uptown neighborhood.
In speaking with the Huffington Post, Thompson opens up on creating the series alongside partner Brian Rolling and writer Jorge Rivera in addition to his plans on etching his name into digital media.
What’s the synopsis behind Lenox Avenue and its setting in Harlem?
The foundation of where it all comes from is with myself being born and raised in Harlem, and kind of seeing the transitions of what Harlem has been going through. Especially being in Manhattan, a lot of times in film and television shows you never really get to see Harlem in its extension of Manhattan. You’ve seen it a little bit as far as New Jack City, Sugar Hill, or New York Undercover and that was pretty much it. I really felt it was time for Harlem to have its own TV series.
In terms of distribution, have you tried to shop the project to any networks or are you thinking about keeping it on an online platform?
For me, my motto is if you create a digital series on the Internet the studios can never cancel you. They don’t really give TV shows a chance, considering all of the money that they put into for a pilot. You’ll see four episodes and then it disappears. And I think the biggest thing is showing what today’s world represents.
The world is no longer marketing in strategic check boxes, where’s it like, “Oh, we have a white person here, check. We have an Asian person here, check.” It’s more of a universal situation, where we have these characters in the series who are living, working, and playing in Harlem and they’re not going downtown…
Read more: Brennan Williams, Huffington Post