The Hot List: summer TV shows featuring actors and actresses of color

​​Your definitive guide to summer TV programs featuring actors and actresses of color

Programs with a star next to the title are those that have received great popular or critical response or are breaking new ground in terms of representation. Happy summer viewing!

***Bookmark this page for updates as networks release more summer programming and casting news!***

May 30
Reverie (NBC) – starring Irani-American actress Sarah Shahi and TV favorite Dennis Haysbert.
A former detective specializing in human behavior is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)- featuring Titus Burgess
A woman is rescued from a doomsday cult and starts life over again in New York City.

Black Ink Crew: Chicago (VH1)
This reality series follows a passionate and ambitious group of tattoo artists and friends through the unforgiving streets of Chicago as they band together to create new identities for themselves, their families, and their business.

 

June 3
Pose (Fox)- featuring Angelica Ross
Set in the world of 1986, this show looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world. A breakthrough series that features multiple transgender actors.

June 4
Dietland (AMC)- featuring Tamara Tunie
A look at society’s obsession with weight loss and fashion as seen through the eyes of those who work in the beauty industry. Based on Sarai Walker’s book, Dietland.

Unapologetic (AMC)- featuring Aisha Tyler
Talk-show hosted by Aisha Tyler discussing topical female-centric issues as a complement to the & Dietland series.

The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas (Investigation Discovery)
Investigative journalist Maria Elena Salinas peels back the layers of national headline-making crimes in search of new evidence, unheard perspectives, and updates to the cases.

Evidence of Innocence (TVOne)
This show is in response to the national headlines regarding the racial injustice in America’s justice system. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects, the show will tell the story of how the wrongly accused maintained their faith while waiting for the opportunity to prove their innocence.

 

June 6
Condor (Audience Network)- featuring Christina Marie Moses and Mouna Traore
A young CIA analyst Joe Turner, whose idealism is tested when he joins the CIA hoping to reform it from within but stumbles onto a terrible but brilliant plan that threatens the lives of millions.

June 7
The Four: Battle For Stardom (Fox)- featuring Sean “P. Diddy Combs,” DJ Khaled.
As the title suggests, the show selects four finalists who then battle for stardom against new contestants each week. The winner is named in the season finale.

Marvels Cloak and Dagger (Freeform)- featuring Gloria Reuben, Aubrey Joseph,Miles Mussenden
Two teenagers from very different backgrounds find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers while falling in love. An interesting footnote is that this series was created by Joe Pokaski, one of the writers and producers of the brilliant, gone too soon WGN series Underground.

Just Another Immigrant– featuring Romesh Ranganathan
Romesh Ranganathan, one of the most popular stand-ups in the UK, uproots his entire family, his supportive wife, three kids, his Sri Lankan mother and his eccentric uncle, and immigrates to Los Angeles. It isn’t often we get a series showcasing a slice of Sri Lankan life. This sounds very interesting!

June 9
Big Hero Six The Series (animated, Disney Channel)- featuring Jennifer Lewis, Khary Payton, Jamie Chung
As the new prodigy at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, Hiro now faces daunting academic challenges and the social trials of being the little man on campus. Off campus, the stakes are raised for the high-tech heroes as they must protect their city from an array of scientifically enhanced villains.

Claws
Courtesy of TNT
​​June 10
Claws (TNT)- featuring Niecey Nash, Judy Reyes and Karreuche Tran
A glamorous, hilarious, suspenseful look at the life and crimes of five close friends with checkered pasts (and sketchy presents) who work at a Florida nail salon. The show is fun and outrageous but will also give you the feels.

 

June 12
The Bold Type (Freeform) featuring Aisha Dee
Inspired by the life Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles, this show offers a glimpse into the outrageous lives and loves of those responsible for a global women’s magazine. Their struggles are about finding your identity, managing friendships and getting your heart broken, all while wearing “the perfect jeans to flatter any body type.”

 
June 14
Marlon (NBC) featuring Marlon Wayans
A loving (but immature) father with a larger-than-life personality is committed to co-parenting his two kids with his very-together ex-wife but for Marlon family really always does come first — even if he’s the biggest kid of all.

June 15
Goliath (Amazon) featuring Morris Chestnut
A disgraced lawyer (Billy Bob Thornton), now an ambulance chaser, gets a case that could bring him redemption or at least revenge on the firm which expelled him.

Breaking Big (PBS) featuring Carlos Watson (host), Trevor Noah, Michael Strahan, Roxane Gay, Danai Gurira
Weekly documentary series explores how some of the world’s most influential artists, innovators, athletes and leaders pushed, prodded and cajoled the big breaks that would make their careers.

 

June 17
Shades of Blue (NBC) featuring Jennifer Lopez, Dayo Okeniyi
Harlee Santos, a single-mother New York police officer, is forced to work in the FBI’s anti-corruption task force whilst dealing with her own financial problems.

The Affair (Showtime) featuring Sanaa Lathan, Russell Hornsby, Ramon Rodriguez
A struggling novelist and a young waitress strike up an extramarital relationship that promises to forever change the course of their lives. This season, Lathan joins the cast as a recurring character Jenelle. She is the head of a school where main character Noah (Dominic West) has started working. Though Jenelle is already married, sparks look like they will fly between Jenelle and Noah. Hornsby plays Jenelle’s ex-
husband, Carl. Ramon Rodriguez also comes in this season as Ruth’s new love interest.

June 18
Bunk’d (Disney) featuring Skai Jackson
Emma, Ravi, and Zuri Ross head off to a rustic summer camp in Maine, where their parents met as teens. Along with their new friends, love triangle, and the fears of the camp, the trio tries their best to settle into their exciting and challenging new lives at Camp Kikiwaka

June 19
Love Is____ (OWN) featuring Idara Victor, Kadeem Hardison, William Catlett
Drawing inspiration from the real-life relationship between Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the project tells the love story of a contemporary power couple. In the world of Black Hollywood, they navigate a complex set of social codes, and this series will explore it all, from the good to the bad… to the ’90s, where the love story began.

 

June 20
Young & Hungry (Freeform) featuring Kym Whitley, Rex Lee, Aimee Carrero
A well-off young tech entrepreneur hires a feisty young food blogger to be his personal chef. Whitley is her usual hilarious self!

June 21
Shooter (USA) featuring Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Omar Epps
A conspiracy thriller that follows the journey of Bob Lee Swagger, a highly-decorated veteran who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the President.

June 22
Marvel’s Luke Cage (Netflix) featuring Mike Colter, Simone Missick, Alfre Woodard
When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem and must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.

June 24
*Preacher (AMC) featuring Ruth Negga
After a supernatural event at his church, a preacher enlists the help of a vampire to find God. Biracial (Irish/Ethiopian) actress Ruth Negga is amazing as the outrageous, yet lovable Tulip.
June 25
Raven’s Home (Disney Channel) featuring Raven Symone
That’s so… grown-up! Though Raven Baxter is psychic, she would’ve never guessed she’d be a single mother living in an apartment with her twins Nia and Booker Baxter and her best friend Chelsea and son Levi.

 

July 1
*Power (Starz) featuring Omari Harwick, Naturi Naughton
James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York nightclub owner who has it all, catering to the city’s elite and dreaming big, lives a double life as a drug kingpin.

 July 8
*Sharp Objects (HBO) featuring Barbara Eve Harris
A reporter confronts the psychological demons from her past when she returns to her hometown to cover a violent murder.

July 10
*No Passport Required with Marcus Samuelsson (PBS)
Calling all foodies! Enjoy a new cooking and lifestyle program hosted by the celebrated chef.

Heathers (Paramount) featuring Jasmine Mathews, Adwin Brown
TV version of a 1988 black comedy, where an outcast student plots to kill the cool kids.

Hit The Floor (BET) featuring Kimberly Elise, Logan Browning, Taylor Paige
Ahsha Hayes enters the wild world of professional basketball when she tries out for the elite L.A. Devil Girls dance team against the wishes of her mother Sloane, a former dancer herself.

Most Expensivest (Viceland) featuring 2 Chainz, Trappy
Rapper 2 Chainz looks at extravagantly expensive versions of everyday items.

 

Rest in Power; The Trayvon Martin Story premieres July 20 Courtesy of Paramount

July 19
*Snowfall (FX) featuring Damson Idris, Isaiah John. Created by John Singleton
A look at the early days of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles during the beginning of the 1980s.

The Grand Hustle (BET)
Contestants “hustle” through competitions in the streets of Atlanta with the winner earning a high-paying job at one of T.I.’s companies.

 

July 20
*Rest in Power; The Trayvon Martin Story (Paramount) featuring Tracy Martin, Sybrina Fulton.
Co-produced by Jay-Z
A powerful and heart-wrenching look at Trayvon Martin’s parents as they try to make sense of their son’s death. Also features a clear-eyed examination of the criminal case and political factors in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin.

Wynonna Earp (SyFy) featuring Shamier Anderson
Based on the IDW Comic, Wynonna Earp follows Wyatt Earp’s great-granddaughter as she battles demons and other creatures. With her unique abilities and a posse of dysfunctional allies, she’s the only thing that can bring the paranormal to justice.

 

July 25
Castle Rock (Hulu) featuring Andre Holland, Caleel Harris, Chosen Jacobs
Based on the stories of Stephen King, the series will intertwine characters and themes from the fictional town of Castle Rock.

Swedish Dicks (Pop TV) featuring Vivian Bang, Keanu Reeves
Two unlicensed Swedish private investigators try to make a living in Los Angeles.

 

July 27
Orange is the New Black (Netflix) featuring Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks
Convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting drug money to an ex-girlfriend, normally law-abiding Piper Chapman is sentenced to a year and a half behind bars to face the reality of how life-changing prison can really be.

August 1
*The Sinner (USA) featuring Dohn Norwood
Follows the story of a young woman who commits a horrific act of violence and rage, and to her surprise, has no idea why. The investigator becomes obsessed with the case and is determined to dig into her past and figure out “why” this is happening.
August 6
*Better Call Saul (AMC) featuring Giancarlo Esposito
Now in its fourth season, this spinoff of the hugely successful show Breaking Bad tells the trials and tribulations of criminal lawyer, Jimmy McGill, in the time leading up to establishing his strip-mall law office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Lodge 49 (AMC) featuring Njema Williams, Brent Jennings, Avis Marie Barnes, Celia Au, Jimmy Gonzalez, Long Nguyen
This show about a “loveable loser” highlights the importance of community and what it means to live on the fringe, as a young guy from Long Beach joins a local fraternal group, Lodge 49.

insecure
Issa Rae’s Insecure premieres August 12 Courtesy of HBO

 

August 12
Ballers (HBO) featuring Dwayne Johnson, John David Washington, Omar Benson Miller
A series centered on a group of football players and their families, friends, and handlers.

*Insecure (HBO) featuring Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis
Follows the sometimes uncomfortable personal and professional experiences and racy tribulations of a contemporary African American woman and her friends.

 

August 18
Copycat Killers (Reelz) featuring Russell Williams
We all love seeing movies — some people turn the fun into an obsession! This true-crime TV series that tells stories of real crimes that were inspired by major motion pictures and television.

August 22
Mr. Mercedes (Audience Network) featuring Jharrel Jerome
Tells the story of a psychopathic killer who drives a stolen Mercedes into a crowd and a recently retired detective who tries to bring him down.

 

August 24
*The Innocents (Netflix) featuring Percell Ascott
This teenage supernatural love story which revolves around Harry and June, who run away from their repressive family to be together. Due to the secrets kept by their parents, they are thrown into a journey of self-discovery, which tests their love. Besides this, their respective extraordinary gifts end up unleashing powerful forces, who are intent on dividing them forever.
August 28
*Greenleaf (OWN) featuring Lynn Whitfield, Myrle Dandride, David Keith, Deborah Joy Winans
A thrilling look into the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis megachurch, dark secrets, and lies.
​​
August 31
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Amazon) featuring Wendell Pierce
Up-and-coming CIA analyst Jack Ryan is thrust into a dangerous field assignment as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit.

 

August TBD
The Story of The Royals (ABC) featuring Duchess Meghan fka Meghan Markle
Four-hour miniseries exploring the British royal family, the arrival of a new generation of baby Royals, and the marriages that have captured the public interest.

About Nadine Matthews

Nadine Matthews is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. She can be reached at nmatthews@spokesman-recorder.com or on Twitter at @deeniemedia.

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