Philip Winchester and Wesley Snipes in The Player on NBC. Snipes is one of several black stars appearing in major roles in the upcoming season.

The big four broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox—made their “upfront” presentations last week to announce their fall prime-time lineups, as well as 2016 midseason replacements, which usually begin airing between January and March.

Although Fox’s megahit Empire arrived a little late in the season to have a huge effect on the upcoming season’s new shows, the networks did get a clue and continued the trend, led by ABC last season, of “diversifying”—or, as Shonda Rhimes calls it, “normalizing”—TV. The networks are showcasing more shows with Asian and Latino stars. Ken Jeong, Jennifer Lopez and America Ferrera will appear in new series next season.


There’s also a new trend toward black actors and actresses getting major roles in sci-fi, supernatural and fantasy series. You’ll also see more film stars, as well as black actors in roles previously played by white actors.

Here’s a look at the new dramas and comedies that have black actors and actresses as lead stars or co-stars and in some supporting roles. Note that there are no release dates, days or times for the midseason replacements.

Tisha Campbell-Martin in Dr. Ken, bottom (ABC); the cast of Uncle Buck (ABC)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Oliver Rix, Ray Winstone and Simone Kessell (ABC)
James Lesure, Sayeed Shahidi, Aalyrah Caldwell (front), Nia Long, Iman Benson and Mike Epps (ABC)
Melissa Benoist and Mechad Brooks in Supergirl, top (CBS); Code Black (CBS)  
Melissa Benoist and Mechad Brooks in Supergirl (CBS)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Jon Foo and Justin Hires in Rush Hour (CBS)
Philip Winchester and Wesley Snipes in The Player, top (NBC); Jimmy-Jean Louis (IMDb)
Jimmy-Jean Louis (IMDb)
Philip Winchester and Wesley Snipes in The Player (NBC)
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Morris Chestnut, top (Jemal Countess/Getty Images); Meagan Good (NBC)
Meagan Good and Stark Sands in Minority Report (Fox)
Morris Chestnut (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Elaine G. Flores is a New York writer, editor and bon vivant. She’s a hard-core shipper and excommunicated soap opera reviewer. Her fictional dinner-party guests include Omar Little, Buffy Summers, Abigail Mills and Ichabod Crane. You can visit her site, TV Recappers Delight.