By Courtney | Indiewire February 17, 2013 at 6:06PM
As Tambay reported last month, OWN's first scripted series from Tyler Perry are: a one-hour drama titled The Haves and the Have Nots; and a half-hour comedy series called Love Thy Neighbor, both shows set to debut on May 29, on OWN.
The Haves and the Have Nots will be a one-hour drama series that will follow the dynamics of the affluent Cryer family and the impoverished family of Hanna, their housekeeper, and the obstacles and secrets that exist within both families.
The cast of The Haves and the Have Nots will be headlined by John Schneider as the patriarch of the affluent Cryer family, Jim Cryer. The family is white, which is a depature from the original Tyler Perry play that the TV series is based on. In the play, the family is black.
In fact, both the affluent family and their housekeeper Hanna's family are black families. So this change-up is a notable one, because it changes the dynamics of the relationship between the "haves" and the "have nots." Whereas before, the play's conflict was strictly class, in the TV series, you can add race to that as well. That is, assuming Tyler Perry makes race a part of the story. But we don't see any other reason for why he'd change the race of the cast from what it was in the stage version, to what it's going to be in the TV series.
Or could it also be a move that they (Tyler and Oprah) hope will widen the show's audience? With half of the starring cast being white, that could attract white audiences, whereas, with an all-black cast, white audiences may skip it.
Of course, we're assuming that Hanna is a black woman. Despite the fact that the series is currently being shot, as the video teaser below indicates, there's still no word on who is playing housekeeper Hanna.
However, from a casting notice for the project that we got our hands on, we can confirm that Hanna is definitely black:
[HANNA] Lead / Female / late 40’s – 50’s / African American: Hanna is very attractive. She is an extremely virtuous woman who has worked as a maid for quite some time. She is the mother of two children, CANDACE and BENNY. Wardrobe: Casual.
No other casting on The Haves and the Have Nots right now. It seems like the project as well as the other series, are both being shot in secrecy.
And as for the other series, the half-hour comedy Lover Thy Neighbor, we know that Jonathan Chase, Palmer Williams, Patrice Lovely, Kendra C. Johnson, Andre Hall and Darmirra Brunson (who won Tyler Perry's talent search last year) have all been cast in a show that will be set at Love’s Diner, where every day the menu serves up good food, great laughs, valuable life lessons and a whole lot of love for its zany neighbors.
Lovely will play Hattie, the diner’s owner. Johnson will play her daughter who lives with her mother and works at the diner. Hall will play Linda’s son who moves back with his mother and grandmother after his marriage ends; Chase will play the son's co-worker and best friend. And Brunson will play Amber, a neighbor.
It's also an interracial cast.
More casting announcements, especially for The Haves and the Have Nots, should be forthcoming. May isn't so far away, so we should get our first look at both series within a couple of months or so.
OWN released the below short video tease, with Oprah hyping up both series, and giving us brief looks behind-the-scenes. And if I'm correct, I think I saw Tika Sumpter in there, which means that she's probably been cast in one of the shows. But if it's not Tika Sumpter, then who is it? You guys can help us out.
As for who the character is (regardless of what actress is playing her), looking over the casting notice again for The Haves and the Have Nots, our money is on:
[CANDACE] Lead / Female / mid 20’s / African American: Candace is an exceptionally beautiful medical school student living a very secretive double life. She is manipulative and scurrilous; she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Her mother, HANNA, is an experienced maid. They have an estranged relationship.
But you guys can watch the video and see if you learn anything about either show, casting, etc.