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 African Americans

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I AM THE GREATEST: ADVENTURES OF MUHAMMAD ALI/NBC/1977-78
*(Cartoon Character) Muhammad Ali (as Himself), a black boxing champ travels the world battling evil.

I SPY/NBC/1965-68
*(Bill Cosby/costar) Alexander Scott, a black American secret agent who toured the world with his white partner in the guise of tennis professionals. Bill Cosby was the first black performer to have a starring role in a regular dramatic series on American television. Robert Culp appeared as his white partner, Kelly Robinson.

I'LL FLY AWAY/NBC/1991-92
*(Regina Taylor/costar) Lilly Harper, a black housekeeper working for a white southern lawyer's family in Bryland County during the backdrop of early 1960's civil rights movement. Also featured were Bill Cobb's as Lilly's father, Lewis; and Zelda Harris as Lilly's daughter, Adelaide. In the fall of 1993, PBS aired a follow-up "I'll Fly Away" TV-movie with now 63-year-old Lilly Harper reminiscing with her grandson. This Emmy-winning show ran for 38 episodes.

IN LIVING COLOR/FOX/1990-94
*(Keenan Ivory Wayans) Comedy variety program strong on satire and spoof featuring a cast of mostly black performers including Keenan Ivory Wayans, S.W. Shawn Wayans, Damon Wayons, Kim Wayans, Jamie Foxx, Tommy Davidson, David Alan Grier, T'Keyah "Crystal" Keymah; Marlon Wayans; Anne-Marie Johnson; and Kim Coles. One of their funny skits included Keenan Wayans and Damon Wayans as Tom & Tom, the Brothers brothers, two token black preppie, yuppie entertainers who acted like white people and laugh at such jokes as "How do you baby sit a little black kid ? (Velcro on the ceiling!).

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT/NBC/CBS/1988-95
*(Harold Rollins/costar) Virgil Tibbs, a black Philadelphia trained police detective who returned to his small southern hometown of Sparta, Mississippi to work as Chief of Detectives for a white police chief. Other cast included Anne-Marie Johnson as Virgil's high school teacher wife, Althea Peterson-Tibbs; Geoffrey Thorne as Deputy Wilson Sweet; and Crystal Fox as police dispatcher Lu Ann Corman. During the 1991 season white police chief Bill Gillespie began romancing black city councilwoman, Harriet DeLong played by Denise Nicholas.

IN THE HOUSE/NBC/1995-99
*(LL Cool J, a.k.a. James Todd Smith/costar) Marion Hill, a black NFL star and landlord who shared a Los Angeles house (he lived in the garage) with Jackie Warren (Debbie Allen) a divorced single legal secretary with two children (whom Marion often babysat). Also featured were Maia Campbell as Jackie's teenage daughter, Tiffany; Jeffrey Wood as Jackie's young son, Austin; and John Amos as Marion's trainer, Sam (Marion was a pro football player sidelined by an injury). Later in the series, the Jackie Warren character was written out of the script so Marion (still caring for Tiffany) spent more time at the sports rehab clinic that he ran with Maxwell Stanton (Alfonso Ribeiro), a Harvard-educated Doctor. Its staff included Kim Wayans as Tonia, the clinic's physical therapist. Phil Morris also appeared as Dr. Goldwire in a few episodes.

INK/CBS/1996-97
**(Charlie Robinson) Ernie Trainor, black journalist assigned to the police beat for a New York City newspaper.

THE INSIDERS/ABC/1985-86
*(Stoney Jackson/costar) James Mackey, a black streetwise, ex-con gone straight (and Prince look-alike) who helped a freelance writer with his various expose' assignments for Newspoint magazine.

THE INTERNS/CBS/1970-71
**(Hal Frederick) Dr. Cal Barrin, young black physician and one of five interns working at New North Hospital under the mentorship of crusty Dr. Peter Goldstone.

IRONSIDE/NBC/1967-75
**(Don Mitchell) Mark Sanger, an ex-delinquent black youth who became aide and bodyguard to wheelchair bound chief of detectives in the city of San Francisco. Later in the series Mark studied to be a lawyer. Joan Pringle appeared as Diana Sanger, Mark's wife.

IT TAKES TWO/ABC/1982-83
**(Della Reese) Judge Caroline Phillips, a black Chicago court official and friend of white female assistant district attorney, Molly Quinn.

IT'S A LIVING/ABC/1980-82/SYN/1985-89
*(Sheryl Lee Ralph/costar) Virginia "Ginger" St. James, a vampish outspoken, black aspiring fashion designer, who worked as a waitress at a roof top restaurant (Above the Top) in Los Angeles with a bevy of other beautiful colleagues. Ralph, who graduated from Rutgers in 1977 (their youngest female graduate) received a Tony Award nomination for the Broadway extravaganza "Dreamgirls". Ralph's character was introduced on IT'S A LIVING during the 1986 season. Also featured was Edye Byrde as Ginger's Grandmother.

IT'S SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO/USA/SYN/1987+
*(Sinbad) Sinbad, black host of this weekly talent program featured top black singers, dancers and comedians during the 1989-91 season. Other hosts included Steve Harvey; Rick Aviles (1977-91); Kiki Shepard; Rudy Rush; Mark Curry (1992-93); Howard "Sandman" Sims. Tim Gibbons produced the program. As of 2002 the syndicated show SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO has a new host (MO'NIQUE) and a new executive producer, Suzanne de Passe. The Apollo Theater is located in Harlem, in New York City. It's motto: "Where Stars are born and legends made."

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