Young, Scripted, and Black: Regi Allenâ€™s Quest to Make FunkTV the First Urban Alternative Network
Regi Allen pitched a program to Black Entertainment Television. They stopped him at the showâ€™s name: Fried Chicken Cinema.
To hear Allen tell it, the BET executives werenâ€™t interested in a show geared toward black audiences that was named with a persistent African-American stereotype in mindâ€”never mind that the network itself frequently faces criticism for its negative portrayals of African Americans. And never mind that with his brainchildâ€”an update of Mystery Science Theater 3000 for lovers of Blaxploitation filmsâ€”Allen wanted to confront and dispel the stereotype, putting it in viewersâ€™ faces and making it funny.
Allen says he was asked why he wanted to call his show Fried Chicken Cinema. â€œBecause â€˜Baked Chicken Cinemaâ€™ doesnâ€™t have the same ring to it,â€ he quipped. He says the executives didnâ€™t even bother watching the showâ€™s demo.
What Allen knew even then was that Fried Chicken Cinema is probably too smart for BET. Itâ€™s definitely too weird.