'In Living Color' Returns to TV

Can the groundbreaking 1990s sketch comedy strike gold in the 21st century?

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The Wayans brothers (Getty Images)

Nellie Andreeva at Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Fox TV plans to bring back its groundbreaking 1990s sketch comedy series In Living Color with the series' creator and star, Keenan Ivory Wayans, on board as host and executive producer.

Fox apparently has asked Wayans to produce two half-hour specials to air as part of the network’s 25th anniversary "celebration in midseason with b a series option behind, meaning that in success, the reboot will join Fox’s schedule as a regular series next season," Andreeva writes.

Like the remake, the original In Living Color, which was produced by Ivory Way Prods and 20th TV, also launched in midseason, premiering on April 15, 1990. It broke stereotypes by employing a cast of mostly black comedians and introducing hip-hop and dancing to mainstream television. The show helped launch the careers of a slew of comedy actors -- its cast included Wayans; his siblings Damon, Shawn, Kim and later Marlon; as well as Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx and David Alan Grier -- and of course Jennifer Lopez as one of the Fly Girls. It spawned such iconic characters as "Men on Film," starring flamboyant film critics Blaine Edwards (Damon Wayans) and Antoine Merriweather (Grier); Homey D. Clown (Damon Wayans), a dour urban kiddie entertainer whose catchphrase was "Homey don't play that!"; streetwise scam artists "The Home Boys" (Keenen Ivory and Damon Wayans); and Fire Marshall Bill (Jim Carrey), a disfigured safety expert.

In Living Color gave its actors freedom to improvise and it skewered everyone, particularly black America.

Two snaps up for Wayans. In Living Color set a new standard for comedy sketches in the 1990s. The outrageous and politically incorrect routines helped pave the way for watercooler discussions across the nation about issues like racial injustice and homophobia.

But in today's politically correct society, it will be interesting to see if the program uses a new motif. We doubt it, but if Wayans clashed with television executives in the 1990s over inappropriate jokes, wait until he meets today's rights groups. All he has to do is ask Tracy Morgan.

Read more at Deadline Hollywood.

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