Young, Scripted, and Black: Regi Allen’s Quest to Make FunkTV the First Urban Alternative Network
Regi Allen pitched a program to Black Entertainment Television. They stopped him at the show’s name: Fried Chicken Cinema.
To hear Allen tell it, the BET executives weren’t interested in a show geared toward black audiences that was named with a persistent African-American stereotype in mind—never mind that the network itself frequently faces criticism for its negative portrayals of African Americans. And never mind that with his brainchild—an update of Mystery Science Theater 3000 for lovers of Blaxploitation films—Allen wanted to confront and dispel the stereotype, putting it in viewers’ faces and making it funny.
Allen says he was asked why he wanted to call his show Fried Chicken Cinema. “Because ‘Baked Chicken Cinema’ doesn’t have the same ring to it,” he quipped. He says the executives didn’t even bother watching the show’s demo.
What Allen knew even then was that Fried Chicken Cinema is probably too smart for BET. It’s definitely too weird.