Gooding to open ‘Barbershop’

Showtime skein picks up where sequel left off

HOLLYWOOD — Omar Gooding has been set to topline Showtime’s “Barbershop,” which will debut back-to-back with “Weeds” Aug. 19 in the pay cabler’s first comedy block.

Picking up where MGM’s “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” left off, the 10-episode, single-camera skein draws on the same characters, but boasts a new ensemble including Gbenga Akinnagbe, Anna Brown, John Wesley Chatham, Leslie Elliard, Barry Shabaka Henley, Toni Trucks and Dan White.

Gooding will play Calvin, the Chicago barber played in the movies by Ice Cube.

MGM Television Entertainment is distributing the series, which scribe-showrunner John Ridley is exec producing, along with a trio of producers from the movies — Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr. and Ice Cube. Production is already under way in Los Angeles.

Showtime topper Robert Greenblatt said both “Barbershop” and “Weeds” have “strong African-American ensembles.” “Weeds” stars Mary-Louise Parker as a housewife who is befriended by a black family living in her predominantly white neighborhood.

“Weeds” is exec produced by Jenji Kohan and co-exec produced by Roberto Benabib. Brian Dannelly, who helmed the series premiere and will direct other episodes, is a consulting producer.

“Barbershop” will bow Aug. 19 at 10 p.m., followed by “Weeds” at 10:30; both will have multiple timeslots throughout the week.

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