×

Cedric the Entertainer Digs Into New CBS ‘Neighborhood’

When Cedric the Entertainer joined “The Neighborhood,” the show immediately changed focus.

Creator Jim Reynolds (“The Big Bang Theory”) originally envisioned the upcoming CBS show, inspired by his family’s experience moving into a historically black neighborhood in Pasadena, as told through the perspective of his small-screen alter ego. Cedric’s arrival as star and executive producer called for a different approach.

Right off the bat, Cedric told Reynolds that he had a strong point of view, and the showrunner welcomed the input. “He gave us the benefit of having an authentic African-American point of view,” Reynolds says.

Now the show operates more as a two hander, the showrunner says.

Cedric plays Calvin Butler, a curmudgeon who casts a baleful eye on the friendly overtures of newcomers Dave Johnson (Max Greenfield) and wife Gemma (Beth Behrs). Calvin is wary that his new Midwestern neighbors will bring gentrification to his L.A. neighborhood and change its distinctive character.

“He’s evolved, but not quite,” Cedric explains. “It’s a show about family and community.”

The show debuts Oct. 1 at 8 p.m., with Tichina Arnold playing Calvin’s more welcoming wife, Tina. Sheaun McKinney (“Vice Principals”) plays elder son Malcolm, Marcel Spears as younger son Marty and Hank Greenspan is Dave and Gemma son’s Grover.

Reynolds knows first-hand how wary residents can be of newcomers from different backgrounds. “The way to make it funny or at least interesting is to give everyone a leg to stand on,” he says.

The show’s pilot was reshot when Greenfield and Behrs, both hit-comedy vets, replaced the original actors portraying the newcomers; sitcom vet James Burrows directed both versions.

“Max and Cedric had chemistry right out of the gate,” Reynolds says.

The comedian will also return for the second season of “The Last O.G.,” the TBS comedy starring Tracy Morgan, and does stand-up dates for “The Comedy Get Down” tour in between occasional film roles such as “First Reformed.”

Before joining “The Neighborhood,” he had been developing his own CBS projects. Previously he starred on “The Soul Man” for TV Land, headlined “Cedric the Entertainer Presents” on Fox and co-starred on “The Steve Harvey Show” from 1996 to 2002. He also appeared on Broadway in a revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo,” and memorably played Eddie in “Barbershop” and its two sequels.

“The Neighborhood” goes back into production in early August with a 13-episode order. “We’re looking forward to getting the back nine,” Cedric says. “We’re formulating stories now.”

During their work on the pilot, star and showrunner have developed dialog and trust. “We came out of our meetings and we didn’t always agree creatively, but we always liked each other,” Reynolds says. “Cedric and my relationship is kind of a metaphor for the show,” Reynolds says. “He been instrumental to it.”

More TV

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • Ken Ehrlich Jane Ortner Education Award,

    Grammy Awards Producer Shuffle: Ben Winston to Take Over From Ken Ehrlich in 2021

    As Variety reported in December, Ben Winston will take the reins of the Grammy Awards as executive producer in 2021 after longtime telecast leader Ken Ehrlich completes his 40th ceremony next year. Winston has become a prolific producer for CBS and other outlets since he moved to the U.S. nearly five years ago to launch [...]

  • Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky

    Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky Cinema After Management Shuffle

    Sarah Wright, Sky’s top acquisitions exec, will take on responsibility for Sky Cinema after a management shuffle at the pay-TV giant. Wright fills a role vacated by Ian Lewis, who recently left Sky after 20 years. He was one of several Sky staffers to leave after its takeover by Comcast. As director of Sky Cinema [...]

  • Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer

    Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer on Matthew Modine Slate

    Veteran actress and union activist Jodi Long is running for secretary-treasurer of SAG-AFTRA as a member of Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. She is facing Camryn Manheim, who announced her candidacy on July 9 as part of the Unite for Strength slate for the re-election of union president Gabrielle Carteris. Unite for Strength and United [...]

  • BAFTA Backs BIFA’s Unconscious-Bias Training for

    BIFA’s Unconscious-Bias Training Rolls Out to BAFTA Voters, Wider Industry (EXCLUSIVE)

    The British Independent Film Awards is opening up its unconscious-bias training to BAFTA voters and, more widely, to anyone who judges the work of others in the film and TV business in the U.K. With the makeup of award-nominee and -winner lists under close scrutiny, BIFA introduced its unconscious-bias training last year. Its voters, jurors, [...]

  • New U.K. Film and TV Studio

    New U.K. Film and TV Studio Proposed for Leeds, in Northern England

    With studio space in high demand, a sizable new film and TV complex has been proposed for Leeds, the city in northern England that is fast becoming a major U.K. media hub outside of London. It has already been selected as the base for Channel 4’s new national headquarters, and companies such as pay-TV giant [...]

  • Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as

    Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as CEO of VFX Firm Foundry

    Jody Madden has been upped to CEO at U.K.-based VFX outfit Foundry. She steps up fromchief product officer and replaces Craig Rodgerson, who joined the company in late 2017. Foundry was bought by U.S. tech firm Roper Technologies earlier this year in a £410 million ($509 million) deal. The London-based business provides software and technology [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content