WE tv executives are proud of the new docuseries Sisters in Law, about six women friends in Houston who are also lawyers and African American. Network president Marc Juris (onetime head of Court TV) said women attorneys, especially black women, face an “alarming” lack of networking opportunities, role models and mentors compared with white men. When the chance arose to build a show around successful black women lawyers, he said, “We really knew that we had something special.”
Juris said the series is also unusual because it goes beyond the stars’ private stories (friendships, family situations) to feature their legal work, too. The opening episode includes one of the lawyers, Jolanda Jones, defending a battered wife who admits on camera that she killed her husband, but in self-defense.
“Half docu-soap, half procedural,” is how Juris described it at a screening in New York on March 23, the night before the first episode premiered on WE tv.
The Wire wondered, having seen reality shows that include certain workplace re-enactments, if Sisters in Law really did limit what the viewer sees to what happened unprompted.
No re-enactments at all? “No, absolutely not,” executive producer Jeff Collins, of Collins Avenue Entertainment, said at the screening, after a lively panel session among the show’s stars.
The series needs Texas judges to enable access to courtrooms and cases, and has to avoid any possibility of affecting active cases. Producers were instructed to avoid shooting “anything that in any way could be perceived later to say, ‘Oh, they acted for the cameras,’ ” Collins said.
“There were a lot of cases that were shot that we weren’t able to put in the show because they were not adjudicated yet,” he added. “Talk about a challenge.”
“In episode eight, we were down to the wire because there was one particular case that we were hoping to put in the season,” he continued. “And we had to hold it, we had to take it out, because it has not reached its conclusion yet.”
Collins said longtime friend Kim Coles (of Living Single fame) discovered the Sisters in Law stars and is a producer on the show. The eight-episode series airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. (ET).
Believing in Good Thoughts, Words, Deeds
Even someone who’s played God can still learn a thing or two about the Supreme Being and religion. Actor Morgan Freeman, who has acted as God and supplied the voice of thereof in numerous theatrical movies, has joined National Geographic Channel in developing The Story of God. In the new six-part miniseries, Freeman travels the world to determine the history of God and how people of different faiths worship their interpretations of a higher power.
So what could the actor identified by many for portraying God learn about God? Freeman told The Wire before a screening at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center that he indeed learned a few things in his search, including that he identifies closely with the Zoroastrian faith, which dates back to Iran in the 6th century B.C.
“It’s an old, old philosophy — probably older than any of the Abrahamic religions, and it’s predicated on just three tenets: good thoughts, good words and good deeds,” he said. “Doesn’t that sort of cover most of us?”
The Wire would certainly like to think so.
The Story of God With Morgan Freeman premieres Sunday, April 3, at 9 p.m. (ET) on Nat Geo.
Rihanna Tickets Add Zest to T. Howard Auction
The T. Howard Foundation surprised attendees at its annual Diversity Awards Dinner on March 23 by conducting a live auction during the evening’s festivities, but the organization itself was surprised by an impromptu offer by one of its dinner guests.
After ABC Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang, the dinner’s host, auctioned off a package of four tickets to the 2017 College Football Championship Game in Florida and a 10-person dinner cooked by the chefs of Food Network at the channel’s New York studios, INSP senior vice president of worldwide distribution Mark Kang surprised everyone by taking the stage and conducting an impromptu auction of four tickets to yesterday’s (March 27) concert featuring R&B star Rihanna at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Kang — whose service was previously branded Inspiration Network — would say later that it was a totally spontaneous act to auction off the tickets, but something he ultimately decided to do in support of the organization.
While The Wire doesn’t know exactly how much the Rihanna tickets claimed at auction, T. Howard president Jo Pamphile said the dinner’s online and live auctions drew a total of $36,000 for the organization, which places young interns of color in jobs with cable industry companies.
— R. Thomas Umstead