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VH1 brings back ‘Single Ladies’ with Denise Vasi instead of Stacey Dash

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With Stacey Dash out, will you still give "Single Ladies" a chance?

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The producers of Atlanta-based “Single Ladies” were clearly caught off guard when their biggest star Stacey Dash quit after just one season. It was VH1’s first big scripted show and it had done well, averaging about 2 million viewers a week, resulting in a quick renewal.

Dash’s character Val had a major cliffhanger of a plotline involving her current squeeze, who caught her sleeping with her ex.

Dash had no plans to come back to tie up loose ends on that story.

So the second season starts a couple of weeks later. Humiliated by the mess she created, Val had left the country and the girls find out she is not coming back in the first episode I screened. The creator Stacy Littlejohn recognized that this could all be a bit of a stretch. She hopes the viewers will give the new girl Raquel, played by “All My Children” soap star Denise Vasi, a chance.

“You can’t let a monkey wrench stop the show,” said Littlejohn in an interview on set in March. She said after the news broke last September, she spent a day mourning the situation. “I then went into fix it/recovery mode. I had to create a new character. It was challenging. We had to really use our creative muscles.”

She ditched the “season one was just a dream” option. (Think “Dallas”!) “Nobody gets zapped by a UFO,” she added. “I had to create a rationale for her to leave. Sometimes you need to escape and not face things.”  She also couldn’t fast-forward, say, a year. She had other storylines with LisaRaye McCoy and Charity Shea to deal with.

Raquel, the new girl, had to be different from Val. “Val was a hopeless romantic,” Littlejohn said. “I want to keep the romantic in there. Raquel isn’t as naive as Val. Raquel is more grounded. She believes in love. She’s been hurt. She gets it.”

She gave Raquel a history with Keisha, LisaRaye’s character. They grew up together but Raquel had been traveling a lot for work. Raquel came from a lot of money but doesn’t want to be defined by that. In fact, she’s not snooty at all but “super-relatable.” After quitting her high-powered job, she buys Val’s boutique. “We can’t get rid of the set!” Littlejohn said.”Some shows have a coffee shop or a restaurant. We have a beautiful boutique.”

Raquel is introduced in the first few minutes of the first episode at her engagement party. Things don’t go quite as planned.

Littlejohn acknowledges the pressures of replacing a character as big as Val. “It’s way more stress,” she said. “Val’s already an established character. There’s a little doubt as to whether the new one will work. There’s a lot riding on it. We’ve had a lot of rewrites.”

Vasi herself is not expressing fear.  “What I fell in love with is how relatable the show is to my own life and my own girlfriends,” she said. “Women are going to relate to Raquel’s decision. That’s really what’s going to sell her. She is going through this moment of transition. She’s finding herself.”

Like the first season, there will be a fair share of Atlanta cameo appearances by the likes of Big Boi (in the first episode), T.I. (who doesn’t play himself) and Chilli of TLC (who does.) Queen Latifah, who produces the show, will appear in it as well. Rick Fox is back. “Project Runway” star Anthony Williams (the fashion designer for the show) will appear as well in an episode.

None of the other actors would talk specifically about Dash, who was rumored to be a difficult on set season one.

“We had a lot of problems,” said Shea, who plays April. “Regardless, I plead the fifth.”

She did add later, “She had some issues unrelated to the show spill over.” [Dash in a statement said she missed her family while shooting in Atlanta last year.]

You can read between the lines of Shea’s next thoughts:

“It’s a lot easier [this season.] Denise and I get along really really well. She just makes every day so much easier.”

Shea expected some backlash after Dash left. “People will get over it,” she said, “or stop watching. At the end of the day, we can only do the best we can do.”

Her character divorced after an affair with the mayor. She dropped A&R work for another career. So her life is a little more “Sex and the City.” More men, cooler dresses and the like.

McCoy said she remains friends with Dash. She figured any rumored rift between the two of them simply added publicity about the show. “Stacy came with her fan base. I came with mine. Collectively, we’re brands. We knew that. Now with her gone, it makes me the only brand. No way do I look at this as a one-person situation. It’s a three-piece ensemble. It’s about us, three friends and our dating lives.”

She echoed Shea by saying “the camaraderie on the set is calm.” [McCoy's reality show on TV One is on hold. "Single Ladies" is taking up too much time. And she is still in the midst of a divorce Michael Misick, a former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Island. "I didn't go into the marriage right. I wasn't in love for better worse. It went from fairy tale to nightmare."]

Her character at the end of season one is reeling when she finds out her boyfriend Malcolm, who she truly loves, is on the run from the FBI and is with his ex wife. “It brings back all my insecurities about him,” she said. Keisha also has an ex boyfriend pop up this season to add levels of complication.

“I absolutely love the Malcolm/Keisha dynamic,” said D.B. Woodside, who plays Malcolm. “The two are perfect for each other but they both have trust issues. They love hard. They fight hard.” He compares it to Mr. Big and Carrie from “Sex and the City.”

Indeed, for better or worse, the ghost of “Sex and the City” hovers over “Single Ladies.” But that’s not the worst specter to have around, eh?

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

88 comments Add your comment

Orlando

May 25th, 2012
8:47 am

Whats the point of bringing it back if Stacy Dash is not in it???
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Love Yourself

May 25th, 2012
10:34 am

Stacey Dash was great to look at (for the men), but looking at her replacement, I think the eye candy is still there (lol).

GaPeachy

May 25th, 2012
10:54 am

Stacey Dash has always been hard to work with, so I’ve heard, so I have no problem with her leaving, b/c if the show will last it needs to be a friendly set, No Divas! Hopefully the acting gets better this season, I def like the stories but the delivery not quite so much. At least my fiance will actually watch the show with me, even though he just wants to see Lisa Raye. She is his freebie! While mine is Idris Elba, where r u Idris?

Xenia

May 25th, 2012
12:17 pm

I CANT believe Stacy Dash will not be returning! And they replaced her with Denise Vasi?! Did the producers watch Denise on All My Children? HORRIBLE! She is just a terrible actress. Even watching her on AMC, I swear I used to cringe when her scene came up. Why the hell would you cast this girl? because of her “light eyes”? so big woop! Her look is not new, Vannessa Williams, Tyra Banks…There are others out there with “light eyes and dark skin” Nomatter how many acting coaches she gets, she will never be good. Your either born with it or your not. And she was clearly NOT! Stacyyyyy DASH needs to come back!

EA

May 25th, 2012
8:06 pm

well, it’s unfortunate that Stacy is not coming back. However, I look forward to get back to watching Single Ladies…with or without Stacy.

Annie

May 25th, 2012
9:57 pm

They let go the only person on the show who can act, and hired someone who proved to be a horrible actress at her last job. I really don’t know why Lisa Raye keeps getting hired. She bulldozes through every single line, in every single role that she gets. She needs to learn about subtlety, and how to effectively deliver emotion. I guess it doesn’t matter, because the only thing that’s a bigger problem than the acting is the writing.

Kaitlen

May 26th, 2012
1:07 am

Agree – The show was just getting into its “groove” so to speak.
I understand you can’t make someone stay, but Dash was the best actor by far. Replacing her with a younger “look alike” is lame to say the least. “But she’s her own character” Riiiight

bc

May 26th, 2012
3:08 pm

I can’t believe you get paid to write so poorly. There are so many grammatical errors in this article it is pathetic. It would take 10 minutes to proofread and fix this article instead of coming off as someone with a 3rd grade education.

Veronica

May 26th, 2012
3:13 pm

And Denise Vasi is in her 20’s, LisaRaye is 45 so how did they grow up together?? Same problem as season 1 – Stacey also in 40’s though looks great but she and LisaRaye are not 25 and the white girl is, on the show and you are suppose to believe they all went to college together!! Cmon!! I am sure LisaRaye will get rid of the other girls until the show is SINGLE LADY!!! I watched bc it is set here in the ATL but I wont watch this season. Too bad some of us have brains and lose interest when shows lack basic ability to make sense, do not appeal to our intellect and fail to even track storylines for plausibility.

atlantato seattle2015

May 26th, 2012
3:40 pm

another unrealistic show filmed in unrealistic Atlanta showing unrealistic living in Atlanta further hyping an already overated city with unrealistic expectations drawin folks from other parts of the country with unrealistic dreams to this poor,racist,uneducated,ghetto,ignorant southern backwater called Atlanta..spare me..

Wanda

May 26th, 2012
3:47 pm

For comments about age difference, that’s crazy I started college at 40plus & have some relationships that developed with my classmates. No none of them are that deep cause I have never been one to have many female friends or just friends in general but that how I live my life. I am excited to see how this plays out. It’s one few somewhat positive shows with women of color. I am going to hope for the best. Everyone have their ways and from all I heard is that Stacy just wasn’t happy and she wanted to go let her go that shows how little she values her fan base.

I work a Bravo

May 26th, 2012
4:02 pm

THIS STORY IS ABOUT 1 YEAR LATE.

squirrelly McCheesy Pon Pon Poin

May 26th, 2012
4:09 pm

Stare a minute at that girl on the right. It almost looks like her head and breast are on backwards and that she is some kind of zombie who is dead.

Bone

May 26th, 2012
4:29 pm

OMG!!!! Stacy Dash Is GONE?????? I can’t believe it! I mean, she was the show! What are they going to do without her?

BTW….Who is Stacy Dash and what in the world is this show? Waste of air!!!!

Ms. D

May 26th, 2012
4:32 pm

I wish single ladies the best this season. I really enjoyed the 1st season. I thought Stacy Dash and Lisa Raye were great together. As well as the other cast members. I agree that Lisa nor Stacy donot have the “chops” of say for example Nicole Ari Parker but there were good story lines – and I think they did them well. I will not continue to watch this season because I simply cannot understand how management can change a major cast when you are only entering your 2nd season . It will not be the show I look forward to seeing the 2nd season. I am not a soaps fan so I cannot speak positively or negatively about this new cast member who is replacing Stacy Dash. I wish her the best.

Fred ™

May 26th, 2012
5:03 pm

Who is the blonde chick on the left in that photo?

Dana

May 26th, 2012
5:16 pm

I’m going to still give it a chance, but it better be AMAZING without stacy. I know the new girl Denise from AMC, horrible acting even by bad acting standards. Girl sure does have connections in the industry.

Butter Pecan

May 26th, 2012
8:57 pm

I tried watching this a couple of times last season. This show is garbage. The excessive cameos are the equivalent to name dropping and we all know people who do that do it to stay relevant, when they have nothing to bring to the table. Cameos will not make this show interesting. The writing and the acting are awful. I don’t know how this got renewed…I will not be watching.

Annie

May 26th, 2012
9:02 pm

Wanda, it seems like the show wants us to believe that all of the characters are the same age, and that Lisa Raye’s character is a lot younger than Lisa is. The problem is that even though Lisa Raye is very beautiful, she looks like a 40+ year old woman, and given the timeline that was laid out last year, when would she have had time to go to school with this girl?

Jane

May 26th, 2012
10:16 pm

I can’t believe Lisa Raye thinks that she is a brand. I’m laughing my head off with that one. The new girl is even worse than Lisa Raye and Shea combined. It has an alright story line but the acting from Lisa and Shea in the first season was horrible. They should have replaced the two of them instead of Stacey Dash. The new girl sounds like a little girl instead of a grown woman. I was cringing when I saw the previews with her in them. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to watch her on the show because her voice makes my flesh crawl.

kris

May 26th, 2012
10:19 pm

WTF!!Sacy Dash was the only good thing on that Low Budget Show!!!All they wanna do is cheat,Get it on with who ever walks in the front door.That New Chick has horrible acting skills.Why dont they just get another trick like Kim K or Trina ,They have big asses to.

kee

May 26th, 2012
10:20 pm

Enter your comments here

kee

May 26th, 2012
10:23 pm

I think played major part in the show its just gne be different without her

Hmmm

May 26th, 2012
11:28 pm

Did you know 1 in every 16 black men now has HIV?

Kristy

May 26th, 2012
11:51 pm

Should have got rid of Lisa Raye she is a TERRIBLE actress.

bob@ajc.net

May 27th, 2012
12:25 am

“Who cares?” was not a choice. That’s one of the problems with these polls. Is SD cute? Yes. Beyond that, Meh….

LOL!!!

May 27th, 2012
1:11 am

It’s a television series not a life-changing event. Let’s give the show a chance without making disparaging remarks about the cast. People are hyper-critical online about celebrities. I wonder what they would say if they saw them in person? SMH

Creola Chick

May 27th, 2012
3:22 am

People have to remember “Single Ladies” didn’t leave Stacey Dash, she left “Single Ladies” so being so hard on the producers is unfair. As for acting, I think it is amazing that most of these comments appear to say Stacey Dash was the best actress on the show; I was just wondering if they were watching the same show I watched. In my opinion neither actress was outstanding, however, you have to give Lisa Raye some credit. The story line between her and Malcolm was unforgettable and I can’t wait to see what happens for the new season. I was a faithful follower last season and will continue to be one this season.

biancahill

May 27th, 2012
6:15 am

I tried watching the show 3 different times and could not get into this show. It is pure garbage. Lisa Raye has always been a horrible actor she sounds so uneducated when she speaks, not saying she is ignorant, but the voice just sounds so dry like she is reading a script she definitly need a acting coach asap. An if she has one she needs to fire tht acting coach an hire another one. An Stacy Dash is not a good actor as well these ladys got these roles because of the way they look. I would rather watch a unattractive person play a role an deliver it well oppose to seeing a pretty face delivering nothing…..

Electric_Pink

May 27th, 2012
8:43 am

Wait, I’m sorry. LisaRaye is a “brand?” Seriously? She needs a vocal coach to help her get rid of her annoyingly flat way of talking. Her voice grates on my nerves.

Lachacha

May 27th, 2012
8:54 am

It’s “Charity” Shea, Rodney.
“April” is her character name.

Thelma

May 27th, 2012
12:55 pm

I can’t wait to see single ladies tonight. I loved last season and hate that Stacy Dash left. When the season ended I was waiting to see what was going to happen with Val and her boyfriend after him catching her with her ex. But I am excited to see how Denise Vasi will fit in. I really liked her on All My Children. And think will will be a good addition to the show.

Nichole

May 27th, 2012
2:33 pm

They couldn’t find another beautiful African American woman that is in her 40’s that is an actress to replace her?? I find that hard to believe because there are plenty to find that are just as attractive as Dash and most likely, even a better actor and co-worker. I think they made a mistake by casting a woman that is in her 20’s even if it is a new character because I believe they need someone who can live up to Dash’s character and someone that is in their 20’s isn’t going to do that. I hate that Dash didn’t come back, but it is very immature and wrong of her to just leave the show like that and not suck it up for the show and the fans of the show. The world doesn’t revolve around her and she needs to learn how to work with others because she isn’t some A-list actress in the first place. If she were she would most likely have more say so, so she needs to get with the program.

Lj

May 27th, 2012
3:09 pm

It’s going to be a tough sale, but I wish the show good luck. Personally, I really liked Stacy’s character and what she represented. She was trying to hold out for marriage and her character reminded me of myself. I’m going to really miss her a lot. However I am going to give the new lady a chance because I like the show. Plus I do love the relationship between Keisha and Malcolm.

V

May 27th, 2012
4:35 pm

Im very very excited about the return of Single Ladies. Single Ladies was a guilty pleasure of mine last year and Ive been waiting to find out what happened with the characters especially the Keisha/Malcolm storyline. Ive known for awhile that Stacey Dash was not returning as Val, in the beginning I was a little skeptical but I am very glad that they are moving forward with season 2 and hopefully a 3, a 4, a 5… and so on. I cannot judge Denise Vasi because other than the previews I haven’t seen her act but I am eager to see what her character brings to the table. I too would’ve liked a woman who is close to LisaRaye and Shae’s age to be casted for Raquel like Kenya Moore but hey I see what they are trying to do. May 28th I will be tuning in

Bijou

May 27th, 2012
4:49 pm

Stacy Dash is why everyone I know watched that show. Lisa Ray is delusional. She’s not a brand unless its the “I stir up drama so I can get my name in the paper” brand. Stacy was wise to leave before it got any worse. The new girl is super pretty but her voice is nearly as annoying as Lisa Ray voice. At least she can act. Lisa Ray like watching church camp acting in high school. You have to feel for new girl cause people be like she always going to be a cheap knock off of Stacy. They should have hired that dark skinned sister from why did I get married with all the attitude. She could kick Lisa Ray back into the dumpster.

pebblebeach

May 27th, 2012
4:56 pm

I love Stacy Dash and will admit she was 80% of the reason I watched the show….I plan to give it a try this year, however, with the insert of so called celebrity guests will probably turn me off…I saw a promo with TI, Eve, Queen L, and here that Chilly still looking for a man who dropped in last year much to my chagrin will also guest star among others…

These so called celebrity folks with very little ability offer absolutely no continuity to the show and will simply be a momentary distraction and reason enough to exercise the mute button on my remote control…

caribourancher

May 27th, 2012
6:48 pm

I’ve never heard of this show.

Nyckat117

May 27th, 2012
8:32 pm

Let’s be real as the show is gonna have 3/4 American women with wettt panties as I do believe the hottest man in the game right now- William Levy is gonna put this show in the history books as it gets no better than having the absolutely perfection of a man in such a sensual show…..Please excuse me as I need to change my panty liner…..#teamWilliam Levy…………

Lady_Elle

May 28th, 2012
1:11 am

LisaRaye is too old compared to the other two… Her character may need to be replaced.

AngG

May 28th, 2012
2:22 am

I’m looking forward to Denise Vasi’s debut. I adored her on All My Children & White Collar. She’s a great addition to the cast.

mr_fucc_datt

May 28th, 2012
2:22 am

man yalls trippin the show is good so what that stacy dash left theres other people on that show she didnt make that show if u dont like the fact that stacy dash left then dont watch the sho peroid yalls not even tryn to give the second season a chance thats whats wrong wit people!!!!

SS_2300

May 28th, 2012
2:35 am

All of Yall r haters bc I’m pretty sure none of Yall
are makin that money for either 1 of them on the show…..
so the haten needs to stop until every last 1 of you can wright
a hit show or are given or taken a pay check to/from 1 of those
actors, but thnx for readin your all dollz……oh yea an ps..if stacy dash
wanted to leave it was her choice so get the stickz out of yallz
buttz and jst get over it……AND STOP BASHIN THE NEW GURL
(CUZ LOOK WHO GOT THE PART LOLZZ…..)

SS_2300

May 28th, 2012
2:46 am

And plz stop haten on my gurl Lisa Raye cuz she’s a great actress and I dnt think her age is a
problem………plus she’s a gorgeous woman doin her thing

troy ray

May 28th, 2012
4:10 am

I think that val should have just been replaced they do it all the time in soaps new characters come in and replace the person playing the character especially if she looks almost identical to Mrs Dash

Jballer

May 28th, 2012
2:08 pm

I’m a mid- forties married man with three kids ranging from college sophomore daughter to rising high school senior daughter to eight grader son. My wife hates “Single Ladies”, but I loved the first season. True, Atlanta is depicted on the show as overly glamorized though it’s down-home in reality, but then again Atlanta is a grab bag of dichotomies. Atlanta is racist and progressive, rustic and cosmopolitan, and there’s a dynamic juxtaposition of destitution and wealth. Similar contradictions reside in the characterizations.
Lisa Raye (and I like Lisa Raye) is not a good actor. Her technique is staggered, her delivery of lines is sticato and garbled, like she’s memorizing her words while talking with marbles in her cheeks, instead of just knowing her lines and breathing them. But she IS fine, edibly fine, foin. And her ass is an eye magnetic that you can’t pull your gaze from ( Am I lying fellas?). It is no secret that she’s not a good actor, but either you like her or you don’t. And I do.

Let’s be fair and stop hating’ on our own. Let’s be balanced with our honesty and admit that there are a lot of other non-Black actresses who get paid far more and are worse at acting, yet are more well known. Lisa ain’t no Angela Bassett or Halle Berry when it comes to acting, but her looks (including that phenomenal ass) are enough to suspend my disbelief.

As far as Stacey Dash is concerned, I’m sorry she left the show (for whatever reasons). Stacey is a little better at acting than Lisa. Stacey sort of overacts by hamming it up, especially during an emotional scene, but at least she can muster tears on command and emote. Killer body. Yeah, she’s even-complected, light-eyed, and small-waisted. Most heterosexual men like that–including moi. And I’m going to point out the elephant in the room– Stacey’s eye magnets are her nipple prints! Let’s be honest again– there ain’t no wardrobe malfunctions or accidents on the set; whoever controls wardrobe is purposely showcasing her nips, if she’s not doing it herself. Am I mad? C’mon, man!
As far as the girl who plays April is concerned, she’s about on par with her looks. Her bangs make her look about the same age as Stacey and Lisa, and she’s starting to get that gaunt, attractively sunken-in look that makes her cougarish. Her acting is mediocre, but it’s almost as if she is holding back in order to parallel Lisa’s and Stacey’s abilities. I am thankful that this white girl has a round butt. This helps suspend my disbelief when it comes to her acting chops. Good looks enhance.
I haven’t seen the new girl replacing Stacey, but I’ve heard a lot of negative criticism. I’m willing to catch the show and give her a chance. But if I want to see fine acting for fine acting’s sake, I’ll switch over to “Masterpiece Theatre”.

Isioma

May 28th, 2012
5:12 pm

This show is going to suck because they are trying too hard to replace Stacy Dash they basically made the new character just like Stacy Dash, but I’m going to watch the premier to see if it’s good.

BlackLikeMe

May 28th, 2012
5:49 pm

I like this show, but wish there was at least one Black woman on the show… More Gabby Union/Nia Long less Halle Berry/ Mariah Carey.

When I heard Dash would not be returning I thought for sure they would replace her with a Black girl, but nope a green eyed chick. I really hate not seeing Black represented on Black shows. I hate to say it but I do not think I will be watching this season. I want to see Black women represented, and by Black I do not mean mixed or high yellow. I mean the women you know are Black with Brown and darker skin.

MPTVFan

May 28th, 2012
9:20 pm

From what I heard, it was not as simple as Stacey Dash quitting after one season. I heard on the Wendy Williams show that Stacey and Lisa Raye had a fight, and that she wouldn’t be returning.

Banging

May 28th, 2012
9:45 pm

I’m really appalled at how bad the writing on this show has gotten. Last season was bad but it was enjoyable. the crappy storyline and less than mediocre acting on today’s season 2 opener is just sad. Back to reading. Got brain cells to save. Sigh.