Joe Morton has been cast in Lee Daniels and Karin Gist’ series “Our Kind of People,” a drama headed to Fox on Tuesday nights this fall. The Emmy winner joins previously announced cast members Yaya DaCosta (“Chicago Med”), Morris Chestnut (“The Resident”), LeToya Luckett and newcomer Alana Bright. The series is inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s book “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class.” It is a co-production of Fox Entertainment and 20th Television.
Per the logline, “Our Kind of People” takes place in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where rich and powerful Black elite have come to play for over 50 years. The series follows protagonist Angela Vaughn (DaCosta), a strong-willed, single mom who sets out to reclaim her family’s name and change the world with her revolutionary hair-care line that highlights the natural beauty of Black women. Michael Thorn, president of entertainment for Fox Entertainment, described it as “a soapy, thrilling exploration of race and class in America.”
Morton will portray Teddy Franklin, father to Leah (Luckett), who is described as being “smooth as butter and sharp as a whip.” He was born into wealth and expanded his family’s sanitation company into one of the largest holding companies in the world — doing so by being more rapacious and manipulative than any of his business competitors. When Leah questions him about buying Black properties for pennies on the dollar, he has no remorse.
Morton is best known for his role as Rowan Pope in Shondaland’s “Scandal.” He recently starred on CBS’ “God Friended Me,” and recurred on Netflix’s “The Politician” and “Grace & Frankie.” He is repped by Vanguard Management Group, TalentWorks and Nina Shaw (Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano).
“Our Kind of People” was first put in development back in 2017 and was re-worked last year. The show from the “Star” executive producers was the first new Fox drama series ordered for this 2021-2022 season. It was also the first show to be launched out of the network’s script-to-series model and writers’ room led by Gist, which opened its doors in September 2020. The writers’ room news came three months after Fox announced the project was still in contention for an off-cycle order to fill the network’s growing scheduling needs due to COVID-19.
Executive producers Gist and Daniels are currently under overall deals at 20th Television. Pam Williams and Claire Brown will executive produce via The Gist of It Productions, and Marc Velez will executive produce for Lee Daniels Entertainment. Executive producing on behalf of Propagate are Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens and Rodney Ferrell, and Montrel McKay. Tasha Smith (“9-1-1,” “Big Sky”) will direct the pilot episode.