U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has made the first renewal from its groundbreaking Black to Front initiative in September, when all programs and commercials on the channel were led by Black talent.
Late-night chat show “Unapologetic,” presented by DJ Yinka Bokinni (pictured, right) and social media star Zeze Millz (left), which was piloted as part of Black to Front has now scored a six-part series order. The show will continue to be produced by SBTV and Cardiff Productions.
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“Unapologetic” is billed by Channel 4 as a show “where guests will be encouraged to say what they want to say without apologizing for it.”
“This isn’t a show about Black people, this is the show where Black people talk freely about everything. It will offer new views on existing subjects as well as bringing new subjects and voices to the table,” reads an official description.
The show’s pilot in September tackled everything from Black Lives Matter and football to racism and colorism in the U.K. Guests included Terry Crews, Troy Deeney and Gary Younge.
The new series will feature guests from the political arena and popular culture, as well as those who have been at the center of various controversies. The show will continue to challenge ideas of what Black people are allowed to say and what is off-limits.
The show was among the highlights of Black to Front, which took place on Friday, Sept. 10. Over 24 hours, Channel 4 programs, including “Celebrity Gogglebox,” “Countdown” and the Channel 4 News, featured an all-Black presenting and reporting team. The broadcaster also made a priority of carving out new programming, with an eye on amplifying fresh on- and off-screen talent that could grow careers at Channel 4.
A renewal for “Unapologetic” will go some way in quieting Black to Front’s critics, who argued that the initiative was more of a stunt when, instead, the broadcaster should be focused on bringing more diversity to its programs year-round.
A senior Channel 4 source tells Variety that more recommissions for original programs borne out of Black to Front will be revealed in the next month.
“Unapologetic” was commissioned by Channel 4 specialist factual commissioning editor Shaminder Nahal, one of the pioneers behind Black to Front alongside Vivienne Molokwu. Executive producers include Isaac Densu, Duncan Eaton, Pat Younge and Maxine Watson.
“The Black to Front project is about amplifying Black voices and talent in front of and behind the screen — and above all about making this part of an ongoing conversation. So I couldn’t be more delighted to commission a six-part series of ‘Unapologetic’ for Channel 4,” said Nahal.
“This thoughtful, energetic — and truly unapologetic — late-night debate and conversation show is an incredible showcase for two of the most exciting talents around — Yinka Bokinni and Zeze Millz. I’m so thrilled to be working with them, and with SBTV and Cardiff.”
Edwards, founder of SBTV, added: “Bringing through new talent is at the core of what we do at SBTV and as we increasingly move into the television production space we are grateful to Channel 4 for commissioning six new episodes of ‘Unapologetic’ thereby giving us the opportunity to showcase more new talent.”
Younge, head of Cardiff Productions, said: “‘Unapologetic’ is a rare space in U.K. television that allows Black voices on the right, left and centre debate the issues that matter to them with each other and on their own terms. I’m delighted that the potential of the pilot has been recognized by Channel 4, and really looking forward to working with SBTV, Yinka and Zeze to bring this series to air.”
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