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TrekToday - UPN Goes Multicultural With 'Platinum'

UPN Goes Multicultural With 'Platinum'

By Caillan
March 18, 2003 - 12:56 PM

'Platinum' photo - copyright UPNUPN's attempt to attact younger, cross-cultural viewers will ramp up a notch in April when it launches its new hip-hop drama series, Platinum.

Described by UPN as "a sprawling family saga set against the backdrop of the glamorous hip-hop lifestyle", Platinum charts the highs and lows of the Rhames brothers and their record company, Sweetback Entertainment. The Enterprise network has ordered six episodes of the new show, which will premiere at 9:00 p.m. on Monday, April 14, before moving to its regular Tuesday 9:00 p.m. timeslot as the new lead-out series for Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

John Ridley, who co-created the series with Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides), said most networks wouldn't support a show like Platinum. "Hip-hop is very multicultural and we want to make the show multicultural, but it's still ingrained in black culture and there's just not a lot of venues serving people of color," he told the Associated Press. "It's a struggle. A lot of networks are just ignoring a segment of the population."

Ridley's credits include the television series Third Watch, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The John Larroquette Show, as well as the film Three Kings, for which he received a WGA Award nomination. With Platinum the writer aims to produce an honest, forthright drama series.

"When I write my script, I put everything in it," he said. "The language, the sexuality, I put in there and let the [network] censors dial it back. I'm surprised at the frankness they've allowed me. But I'm more concerned about having a deep show than saying dirty words."

The series stars Jason George (Barbershop, Clockstoppers) and Sticky Fingaz (Dead Presidents) as the Rhames brothers, Jackson and Grady, with Steven Pasquale as chief counsel David Ross, Davetta Sherwood as the Rhames' sister, Jade, and Lalanya Masters as Jackson's wife, Monica.

Masters highlighted the importance of a show like Platinum, pointing out the change modern culture has undergone in recent years. "There's been such a tremendous paradigm shift," the actress told the AP. "We're now in a society where the No. 1 golfer is African-American and the No. 1 rapper is Caucasian-American."

Ridley agreed with this sentiment, as he is aiming to produce a series that will appeal to people of all backgrounds. "I'm 36 years old and I want to write a show I might perchance sit down and watch if I wasn't involved in it," he said, adding, "My wife is Asian. She loves hip-hop."

The full article can be found here at Yahoo! News.

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