Television Shows Targeting African Americans As Core Viewers


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2016 is the year for brands interested in targeting an African American audience!  Historically networks such as BET and TVOne were the two primary distributors of African American targeted programming, and oh have the times changed! Shows like Empire, Blackish, and How To Get Away With Murder with Emmy-award nominated casts have made the networks take notice, and revamp their own programming slates to ensure they don’t miss out on ad dollars and interest. 

In this blog post, we take a look at new (and returning) television shows targeting African Americans that should be top of mind for product placement and integration partnerships. 

 African Americans In TV Today

Today’s TV series are becoming much more multicultural in nature, with stand-out starring roles helmed by some of today’s hottest African American female and African American male talent.   Not only is there a rise in shows helmed by African American talent, but also in shows depicting the majority of cast as such, with storylines created to resonate with the specific African American audience. 

TV Shows To Keep In Mind

This list is by no means entirely comprehensive, and new programs come along weekly.  But they are some of our favorites that are either currently airing, or going into production soon.  Based on the network, opportunities for brands may exist for Product Placement (loan/trade of product to appear on the show) or Branded Integration (fee paid to have a guarantee – and possibly bigger footprint – on the show.)  Additionally, there are possible options to extend the partnership with a supported media buy or bring the show into the advertising content for retail or co-branded media campaigns.


Scripted TV Series


Director Tim Hardy and Producer Will Packer, who have worked together frequently on things such as Ride Along, will be working together again on a comedy series purchased by FOX. The series is a father-daughter comedy about a sheltered student navigating college life at an HBCU while trying to reconnect with a father she barely knew growing up - who just so happens to teach at the college. The story is about her trying to find her cultural identity as a student as well as figure out her relationship with her father.


CRUSHED (Hulu) *New

Hulu has recently greenlit this comedy pilot centering around an African American family that ends up running a very successful albeit unconventional wine business in Napa Valley. Their unorthodox ways of running their winery make waves in the Napa community and comedy ensues. Regina Hall is set to star in the series that will be produced by Lionsgate TV and produced/written by Tina Gordon Chism (Peeples, Drumline)

CAST: Regina Hall




From Ava Duverney (director of Selma) and Oprah Winfrey comes a series about a noted New Orleans journalist whose life is shaken up by the return of her sister, Charley, from Los Angeles to take over and run their family's sugarcane farm. Rutina Wesley (True Blood) will play the lead and Oprah Winfrey will have a recurring role in the series.

CAST: Rutina Wesley, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Lifford, Dondre Whitfield, Timon Kyle Durrett, and Nicholas L. Ashe



Loosely inspired by Marlon Wayans' life, "Marlon," the new comedy picked up by NBC, follows the story of a man doing his best to be a good parent. He has to juggle being a father and getting along with his ex-wife, who he shares nothing in common with. Marlon Wayans will star and produce in a comedy that is sure to be filled with inappropriate jokes and life lessons.

CAST: Marlon Wayans



This new MTV comedy will center around the adventures of loved and irreverent comedian Nicole Byer. Byer will play a young woman who has no choice but to move in with her sister and her four kids in the suburbs after being responsible for a fire in her NYC apartment. While trying to get her life together, she will mentor the children in her own unique way, albeit often causing havoc.

CAST: Nicole Byer



Fitting in with and commenting on the times we live in, Shots Fired examines the reaction of a small-town community in Tennessee to a potentially race-motivated shooting of a white teenager by an African American police officer.

CAST: Sanaa Lathan



This new 10-episode comedy series revolves around two cousins  — one of them played by actor, writer, and musician Glover — on their way up through the Atlanta rap scene. 

CAST:  Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz.



The series explores the lives of a group of former and active professional football players, their families, wives, girlfriends, friends, and handlers, in what is Entourage for the sports world. Ballers is the 3rd (soon to be 2nd) most viewed half-hour comedy show in HBO history, with 8.8 million viewers per episode.  

CAST: Dwayne Johnson, John David Washington, Omar Benson Miller, Donovan W. Carter, Dule Hill, Antoine Harris



BET's first hourlong scripted drama is a follow-up to the same-titled TV movie that premiered on the network in the summer of 2013. The series returns Gabrielle Union to the lead role of Mary Jane Paul, a successful cable news anchor who has a closet packed with designer clothes and shoes, a beautiful home, a nice car, and the drive to achieve even greater heights. Yet something is missing. As Mary Jane looks to start a family of her own to share life's greatest gifts, she discovers who she really is and the people who help define her.

CAST:  Gabrielle Union, Aaron Spears, Raven Goodwin, Margaret Avery, Richard Brooks, Richard Roundtree, Latarsha Rose



A family man struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood.

CAST: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin, Laurence Fishburne


Struggling entertainers and best friends Langston and Moose try to navigate relationships and life in the black Mecca of Atlanta.  An Atlanta native, Langston is an aspiring DJ whose career has stalled due to his lack of focus and his get-rich schemes. New to Atlanta, Moose is a perennial backup singer with dreams of the spotlight, who keeps his foot in his mouth.   

CAST: Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin, Maya Rudolph, Jaden Smith



When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem, and must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.

CAST:  Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, and Frank Whaley.



This six-episode drama series is an exploration of a young African-American man’s experience entering New York high society, with a past that might not be what it seems. Beverly Snow is a young man from Queens as talented as he is ambiguous. His self-confidence will enable him to break into the social circles of Manhattan’s elite, testing the boundaries of access and social mobility.  Throughout the series, Beverly’s ability will grant him access to a life larger in every way than the one to which he was born. His chameleon-like approach to life will test his nerve as he takes his future into his own hands.

CAST: Devon Terrell, Paul Dano, Helena Bonham Carter, Rebecca Hall. Directed by Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) and exec producer Russell Simmons.



A hip-hop mogul must choose between his three sons who are battling for control over his multi-million dollar company, while his ex-wife schemes to get what's hers.

CAST:  Terrence Howard, Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers, Taraji P. Henson, Ta'Rhonda Jones, Gabourey Sidibe, Malik Yoba, Serayah



A group of ambitious law students and their brilliant criminal defense professor become involved in a twisted murder plot that promises to change the course of their lives.

CAST: Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch, Aja Naomi King



Charming, fast-talking Marty Kaan and his crack team of management consultants know how to play the corporate game better than anyone, by using every dirty trick in the book to woo powerful CEOs and close huge deals. In the board rooms, barrooms, and bedrooms of the power elite, corruption is business as usual and everyone's out for themselves first. Nothing is sacred in this scathing, irreverent satire of corporate America today. Outrageous, subversive, and wildly funny.

CAST: Don Cheadle



Follows the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman. Insecure features themes Rae tackled in her successful web series, The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl, which won a Shorty Award. Rae’s online content has garnered over 20 million views and nearly 200,000 YouTube subscribers. 
CAST: Issa Rae, Jay Ellis, Lisa Joyce, Yvonne Orji



James "Ghost" St. Patrick, a wealthy New York nightclub owner who has it all, catering to the city's elite and dreaming big, lives a double life as a drug kingpin.

CAST:  Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, 50 Cent, La La Anthony,





A look at the lives of young FBI recruits training at the Quantico base in Virginia when one of them is suspected of being a sleeper terrorist.


CAST:  Aunjanue Ellis, Will Blagrove 






TV show based on the action-comedy 'Rush Hour' films about an L.A. cop who teams up with a detective from Hong Kong. 

CAST: Paige Kennedy



A former White House Communications Director started her own crisis management firm only to realize her clients are not the only ones with secrets.

CAST: Kerry Washington, Colombus Short



Cam Calloway is about to find out the price he'll pay for stardom, love, and loyalty. A basketball star in his early 20s, Calloway's life changes after he signs a multimillion-dollar contract with a team in Atlanta. He arrives in Georgia bright-eyed and eager to begin his career, joined by cousin and confidant Reggie Vaughn, who tries to keep Cam focused and free from distractions caused by Cam's blunt-but-loyal sister M-Chuck and opportunistic mom Cassie. Feeling a responsibility to support needy family and friends, Cam wrestles with the rewards and pitfalls of sudden wealth and fame.


CAST:  Jessie T. Usher, RonReaco Lee, Erica Ash, Teyonah Parris, Tichina Arnold







Scripted TV Series That Are Pilots


Why would a brand even want to get involved in the pilot stage of a project?  Because your presence in the pilot could possibly lock out competition depending on the brand category, create a first look "placeholder" for your brand to be fitted into when the show is picked up, and create friends with a production crew that can make magic happen for you later on.

STAR (FOX) *Pilot In Development

Empire co-creator and executive producer Lee Daniels will begin production on his new music drama pilot, Star, in December in Atlanta in which three young African American and one Caucasian artists with chart-topping aspirations must navigate the pleasures and pitfalls of the music industry.  

 CAST:  Pending


THINK LIKE A MAN (FOX) *Pilot In Development

Fox is developing the box-office hit film by comedian Steve Harvey, on whose best-selling advice book the movies were based, into a comedy series.  Based on the movie franchise and Harvey’s book, the Think Like A Man series explores the never-ending battle of the sexes from four very different points of view: newly married, moving in, breaking up, and hooking up. Featuring both the male and female perspectives, the featured couples and their friends will realize that it’s easy to fall in love and “be” in love but not necessarily stay in love.

CAST: Pending


Day and Night Talk Shows.. and Reality


This new series follows five dynamic black women from New York City as they embark on a unique journey to uncover what they are doing wrong when it comes to finding love. In each episode of “Black Love,” the women will attend workshops on provocative themes related to love. With the guidance of two relationship experts, certified dating coach and author, Damona Hoffman, and psychotherapist and author, Jack A. Daniels, the women will dig deep into the issues surrounding their inability to find a mate. Viewers will see them go through a variety of dating scenarios, including finding love after divorce, same-sex relationships, and interracial love. The experts will provide commentary about what each woman is doing right – and wrong – as they navigate their way through the dating scene.

HOST:  Monet Bell



Accused by some of misinforming its core audience of young adults about international news, this series doesn't hide the fact that it's not a news program and only uses newsworthy stories as a jumping-off point to satire. 

HOST:  Trevor Noah



Co-host Kelly Ripa sits next to a football legend, Michael Strahan, discussing the latest happenings in the news and their personal lives during the show's opening "host chat" segment before welcoming guests from the entertainment world, as well as newsmakers, and hosting musical performances from some of today's hottest artists and bands.
HOST:  Michael Strahan

Fans who know and love Larry Wilmore as the "Senior Black Correspondent" on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" are treated to the award-winning writer/comic hosting his own late-night series.

HOST:  Larry Wilmore



 A docu-reality series about five emerging young hip hop artists, ages 12 to 16 years old, who are given the opportunity to rhyme and flow with highly sought-after producer, Jermaine Dupri. These young rappers will be immersed in the Atlanta hip-hop scene with Dupri at the helm as their mentor.  

CAST:  Jermaine Dupri


A reality television series focused on the personal and professional lives of several women residing in Atlanta, Georgia.

CAST:  NeNe Leakes, Kandi Burruss, Phaedra Parks, Kenya Moore



“Steve Harvey” is a one-hour daytime show hosted by TV personality, comedian, radio show host, and best-selling author, Steve Harvey. Each weekday in his new multi-topic show, Harvey talks to real people with real issues and brings his funny, fresh, insightful, and common-sense approach to everyday problems. Drawing from his varied life experiences, Harvey entertains, informs, and inspires, while covering a vast range of relatable topics such as marriage, dating, finance, parenting, workplace issues, friendship, and the daily dramas we face throughout our lives, all with his unique comedic spin.

HOST: Steve Harvey



Wendy Williams brings her distinctive personality to television. In addition to celebrity interviews, regular segments include Hot Topics, which usually opens the show and features Williams giving her honest, opinionated, and often unpredictable take on the latest pop-culture and entertainment headlines, and Ask Wendy, in which she offers advice to the audience members seeking solutions to their problems.  

HOST: Wendy Williams





Another Option To Target African American Fans – Music Brand Partnerships

Brands interested in the African American demo should also consider music video artist partnerships.  Artists are hand-chosen for each campaign based on their own specific fan followers, and campaigns can be created that range from brand integration to social media overlay and even retail store music download and point-of-sale partnerships.   Media buy pre-roll options for the videos can extend the partnerships as well.  And best of all?  Super-fast implementation for brands at the ready, with partnerships executed within 2 to 8 weeks’ time frame if wanted.


Here are a few case studies of some music video partnerships orchestrated by our agency.



Next Steps To Directly Target African Americans Via TV Shows

Have you ever wondered how a comprehensive product placement program works? Or do you want to know how to create a promotional partnership strategy with a movie partner? This video will answer all of your questions as it shows the steps and processes taken by Hollywood Branded that lead to your brand increasing both consumer engagement and sales!

How Product Placement Works Video