The show did surprisingly poorly its first season, barely drawing 1.2 million viewers per episode, a far cry from the numbers of its other sitcoms “Let’s Stay Together” and “The Game,” also shot in Atlanta.
But BET, hearing enough positive feedback, gave it a second season anyway.
Ross’ surprise departure will force a major restructuring of the show.
Ross said “Reed Between the Lines” was a show “I believe in and care about” and that there was a “chance” she might return at some point. Loretha Jones, BET’s president of original programming and news, called Ross “an amazing talent,” adding, “We wish her nothing but the best and hope to work with her again in the future.”
Ross played Carla, a psychologist happily married to a professor played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner (best known for his time on “The Cosby Show”).
Her unexpected departure obviously throws a wrench in that set up. (It’s unclear why Ross, who was cast on an NBC pilot that was not picked up this spring, decided to go. Possibilities: she was unhappy with the scripts or the work environment, demanded too much money and/or didn’t like shooting in Atlanta.)
To get her off the screen, the writers have decided to ship her character off to Los Angeles for a new job opportunity while Alex chooses to stay in Atlanta with the kids. They effectively are separated.
To fill her comedic void, BET has hired three new cast members — Michole White, Tony Rock (Chris’ brother)and Charlie Robinson. As friends, White and Rock will help Alex deal with his marriage as he raises the three children solo while Robinson will play his dad.
A spokeswoman said Mara Brock Akil (”The Game”) will be coming in to help out as an executive producer.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk