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Tracee Ellis Ross Explains Her Sudden 'Reed Between The Lines' Departure

by Tambay A. Obenson
August 24, 2012 11:37 AM
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Cast Of 'Reed Between The Lines'

"It was that BET hadn't decided if they were picking up the show yet or not [...] During that time when they didn't know, I was offered a really amazing pilot for NBC, and BET graciously allowed me to go and do it [...] Then the timing got complicated and there was a need to move forward. [BET] had to figure out how to deal without me because I wasn't available. But it's not because I wanted to leave."

Words from Tracee Ellis Ross addressing her sudden exit from BET's Reed Between The Lines, in an exclusive with Essence magazine.

It was exactly 1 week ago when we confirmed that Ms Ross had left BET's freshman scripted series.

Specific reasons weren't given at the time, but, in a released statement, Ms Ross did express her love for the series and its cast, calling it one that "I believe in and care about."

My guess was that her casting in the in the new NBC women's prison drama Bad Girls, adapted from the UK ITV series of the same name, might have had something to do with it. And it looks like it did in some part; however, as Essence reports, NBC actually DID NOT pick up the pilot for Bad Girls, which means it's likely dead. But we'll see.

Recall that Kym Whitley and Jurnee Smollett were both cast in Bad Girls as well.

So what does this now mean for Tracee, since season 2 of Reed Between The Lines is moving on without her, as Tony RockCharlie Robinson and Michole White have joined the series' cast as regulars, with star Malcolm-Jamal Warner, AND, NBC didn't pick up Bad Girls

Her IMDB page doesn't list any upcoming projects (at least, non that's been announced); however, don't completely write her off Reed Between The Lines; don't be surprised if her character does return in the future - assuming the series is even still around if/when that happens.

When season 2 begins, the couple (as played by Ross and Warner in season 1) will be separated. In short, Carla (Ross) will be offered a dream job offer she can't refuse; she wants the family to move across the country with her so that she can take the job; but Alex (Warner) isn't feeling the idea, so he and the kids stay put.

Obviously the door is being left open for an easy enough return down the road, if that eventually happens.

As she said, "I love Reed Between the Lines, I believe in it. There is a chance I'll go back, always. There's nothing weird about it."

Alright. Case closed.

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  • Tiffaani Hamilton | September 11, 2012 1:09 AMReply

    First of all Reed Between The Lines IS a GREAT show and secondly Malcolm Jamal Warner CAN act so yall NEEDA SHUT THE FUCK UP .

  • ChgoSista | August 24, 2012 9:47 PMReply

    I agree with what everyone here said about Malcolm JW - he is just.... I have TRIED to look through/beyond his staleness but I can't.

  • JB | August 24, 2012 6:19 PMReply

    They need to end this debacle of a show and start fresh. The leads had ZERO chemistry and that killed for me from the start. Martin and Gina, Cliff and Claire, George and Weezy all had it and you rooted for them because of it. Just seemed slapped together cast wise and an insult to viewers looking for something that might resonate.

  • saadiyah | August 24, 2012 5:26 PMReply

    If they want to keep this show on the air, they need to get rid of Malcolm J-W. The man cannot act PERIOD, especially in a comedic role! He is corny as f***. He appeared on a few episodes of Community and even managed to dull up that hilarious show.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | August 24, 2012 8:33 PM

    I co-sign one hundred percent. He needs to be replaced, he just has no sex appeal and he could stand to hit the gym. I hate to go there but I will. His real life love interest Regina King doesn't even bring him out in public with her that should tell you he's corny right there and it definitely translates on screen.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | August 24, 2012 7:49 PM

    Ah, damn! LMBAO

  • Vann Digital Networks | August 24, 2012 4:17 PMReply

    lets get this out the way...RIP Reed Between The Lines 2011-2012

  • sandra | August 24, 2012 2:25 PMReply

    @Kenneth - was thinking the same thing. That doesn't sound like Careycarey. Back to the issue, I'm confused. They're filming now; she's available now - what's the problem? Why can't she be part of the show? Are they saying that they've already filmed another season? Given how unpopular the new direction is, they should reshoot - to save the series. They should have recast her role in the interim if they were leaving the door open. Overall bad planning!

  • CareyCarey | August 24, 2012 12:42 PMReply

    Stirring up a little mess. As I look at the picture of Tracee Ellis Ross, I wonder why she's even considered a lead character? I mean, what has she really done to be considered a lead? Well, is it because of her light skin or the fact that she looks like her daddy? Y'all know she was born Tracee Joy Silberstein. Yep, her daddy is a jewish fellow. Anyway, another look at the above picture and I see a woman who has been doing the damnn thang for nearly 35 years. The dark-black and HEALTHY Anna Maria Horsford has been in wonderful black sitcoms... putting in work as far back as the ground breaking series Amen (1986-1991). In the ninties she was a regular on the super popular Wayans Bros series (1995-1999). Also during those years, who can forget her characters in Friday and Set It Off and Friday After Next and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps? Come on now, Ms Horsford should be a case sturdy of perserverance and flying under the radar. ** I'm standing up and giving her a minute of applaush** OH... and btw, she's dark chocolate.

  • CareyCarey | August 25, 2012 12:44 AM

    @ STARRY118, I didn't mean to imply that he's doing something wrong. I was just trying to be funny. I guessed I failed again. And I'm sorry for using you as a vehicle for my nonsense. I'll try to do better next time. Hey, and btw, there's absolutely nothing wring with being a car salesman. I mean that. For many reasons he might have the best hand.

  • starry118 | August 24, 2012 11:36 PM

    @CareyCarey- Yes, I saw a Youtube vid of him being interviewed at the car lot...he's doing what he has to do- what's wrong with that? He guest-starred in several episodes of The Game last season, so maybe he's making a comeback. He's definitely better than many current sitcom actors, so I hope he succeeds in doing so.

  • CareyCarey | August 24, 2012 10:00 PM

    @ MJOHNSON, being in a successful sitcom for years, doesn't necessarily qualify a person to be the lead for another sitcom. I am thinking of the series "Friends" and "90210" and practically every black sitcom that has been on the air. A person may "star" in a sitcom and be fortunate enough (many do not)to get a leading role based on their participation, but success is NOT a given, nor is their receiving said role always warranted. As Janet Jackson said "What have you (they) done for me lately?" @starry118, Carl Anthony Payne's timing is so good that he's now a used car saleman who's apparently making enough cash to hold down the job of being the step-father of Bobby Brown's first son, Landon @ Nadine, let me count a few of the ways I love you and what you do. Your grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure is to be admired (if I had your skills I'd throw mine away). 2) You don't take sides (you don't hang in a "click"), you argue against the issue -- not the person, regardless of who they may be. 3) You're an intense debator ( You take the necessary time/words to frame your argument and then you give enough data/information to support your claim/opinion. I -- sometimes -- lack the patience (and skills) to do the same. If I had your hand... 4) You're secure about who you are and what you are, which allows you to admit that you may have spoken too soon or that you were "wrong". That's an uphill battle for most people. 5) You don't harbor "grudges" or ill feelings for another person -- too long. You and I have "argued", fought and suspended our conversations for a period of time, but you seem to be able to "exhale" and get back on the good foot. 6) You're able to give compliments when compliments are due, even if "that" person is not in the "good" crowd... or better said, even if "that" person is voicing or has been known to voice an opinion that's NOT shared by the "majority". That reminds me, thanks for the compliment "...a beautiful exchange" that you gave to SonOfBaldwin and me. Who would have thought that two men -- bitter "enemies" to some degree -- could end their disagreements on a positive note? See, I knew S'ofBld was a good guy because I read his blog. But for some reason -- which I didn't understand -- we always seemed to be at each others throats. But come to find out, we had more in common than we knew. He's the film snob of his family and so am I. He's single and so am I. Although I seldom write in mine these days, we both have blogs and thus are HIGHLY opinionated. He's a wordsmith and I'm a hack, but both of us are VERY passionate about what we say and do, which makes it very hard for us to "bend" or concede. But today -- in the end -- two men on different sides of the fence, laid down their arms, shook hands and had a nice man-to-man conversation. Maybe one day he will tell me why I irratated him so much... **shrugging shoulders**. Thanks again Nadine, you're the best -- and I get to say -- you're my friend -- even if you don't speak to me when others are around *LOL*

  • Mjohnson | August 24, 2012 6:08 PM

    I understand that colorism exists and affects people's lives and informs some people's decisions. However, Tracey Ellis Ross starred in a successful sitcom for years. If that doesn't qualify a person to be the lead for another sitcom...what does?

    And Reed Between the Lines is about a (relatively) young, modern couple. A darker skinned actress could've been used. But Horsford wouldn't fit the premise of the show as the lead.

    What this show really needs is new writers. Tracey can't even save it with the horrible writing that drags this show down.

  • starry118 | August 24, 2012 4:40 PM

    I agree...I've always wondered why Carl Anthony Payne didn't get more gigs...he's got good timing and is a natural.

  • Nadine | August 24, 2012 4:25 PM

    I'm no big fan of Girlfriends, but Tracee Ross, heck yeah! My writing too confusing, btw... I did not want to be mean re: Warner so I mention that I liked him as a human being, but my usage of "as well" was incorrect as it modified the wrong subject. I meant that Payne was a natural actor along with Ross. Warner... yeah... everything you said was completely correct... it would just hurt me to say so, though. Payne on Martin, eh... Payne on Cosby, yes sir. What a natural. That's why I mentioned that I thought he would work well in the mainstream. I don't think he, Payne, can work the "Martin" market, but I think he would be great on one of the major networks.

  • CareyCarey | August 24, 2012 3:05 PM

    @ Kenneth, it's me it's me it's me oh lord, standing in the need of prayer :-). If you've been reading along, you should know that I might say anything... without reservations nor regret. In this post, as I said, my intent was to stir a little mess while championing Horsford. Yes, the mess was light-skinned actress (with connections) vs a talented and proven dark-skinned actress, who appears to eat something other than green tea and salad. You know Kenneth, the blog has been featuring articles connected to "colorism" and all things related to "race", although for the most part I try to stay out of them, I couldn't resist throwing a little jab. @Nadine... Malcolm Jamal Warner AND Carl Anthony Payne... Huuumm. Malcolm Jamal may well be a good man, but a good actor he has never been. His comedic timing is off (he was fortunate to be in the Cosbys' )and in this series he remains dull, unfunny and seems to be a SLIGHT step above reading his lines. Martin (the series) is now playing on the MTV2 channel ( I just watched a few). Carl Anthony Payne was an excellent "sidekick" but seldom did he have lines longer than 10 words. The same can be said for Thomas Mikal Ford who played Tommy. Without Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell to play off, "Tommy" and "Cole" wouldn't have had a job. Their future endeavors or lack thereof will attest to that. And I still don't see what you see in Tracee Ellis Ross (I've never seen one episode of Girlfriends). I haven't seen enough of her to come to any conclusion, but what I have... I wasn't moved.

  • Nadine | August 24, 2012 1:55 PM

    Both women are IMMENSE talents. Horsford was THE Lucy Black television in Amen... what a talent (deserved an EMMY and was alaso brilliant on her guest spot on Grey's Anatomy), but Tracee Ellis Ross gets her fans by being a natural actress. A natural actress who is identifiable and realistic with dignity and humor. You can tell she acts from her core and that, for her, it is seamless. Her acting intelligence is just way above and beyond your average actress. You know what else, I like Malcolm Jamal Warner, the man, but Carl Anthony Payne was a natura actor as welll and I'm sorry he doesn't get more regular mainstream work. I could see him doing mainstream comedy and drama. Oh, Tracee has connections, but if I saw her at a casting, knowing nothing of her Ross pedigree, do her thang, I wouldn't hesitate to book her. Her look having nothing to do with anything but her personal story. I would be thankful she walked in through our doors.

  • Kenneth | August 24, 2012 1:24 PM

    Please tell me this is an imposter, a fake CareyCarey. The real Carey wouldn't say such dumb things.

  • ALM | August 24, 2012 12:27 PMReply

    Tracee proves once again to truly be a class act. BET continues to fumble around deciding on whether they want to renew shows or if they want to properly pay their casts. BET dropped the ball. Looks like the possibility of a return is there, but BET needs to be the one to make the move to bring Tracee back. Tracee shouldn't have to reach out to BET.

  • D.A. | August 24, 2012 12:14 PMReply

    Well that explains everything, I can understand not being 10 sure if a show is going to return. It just seemed out of character for Tracee to up and leave a projevt necuase her track record has typically been to focus on a project no matter what. It just didn't make sense to me. I do recall gossip where BET wasn't sure if they were going to bring it back, even.go as far as saying that it was cancelled. I hope the show lives long enough for us to see her return, becuase again, I felt it was way better than most of the crap on tv. IMO

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