It can be hard for a child star to come into his or her own as an adult actor, but Tatyana Ali, with her TV One series, Love That Girl, returning with its second season TONIGHT at 9pm, proves it can be done with grace and dignity.
For those who may have missed the short first season, Ali stars as Tyana Jones, a recent young divorcee returning to Southern California in search of new independence, a new career and a brand new chapter in her life. After settling into her new condo, located in the hip NoHo discrict of Los Angeles, Tyana gets a surprise visit from her brother Latrell (Alphonso McAuley), an aspiring stand-up comedian, who insists he’s just there to stay “one night,” even though his bags suggests a much longer stay. Tyana’s tough-loving father, Delroy Jones (Phil Morris) is happy to have his daughter closer to home and ecstatic when he discovers that his “baby girl” is planning to follow in his professional footsteps with a career in real estate. That is, until he learns of her plans to work for his competition.
The sitcom has a throwback vibe to more traditional sitcoms of yester-year, both in style, tone, and imagery, though it features a strong combination of well-known talent and more up-and-comers, like McAuley, who knew Ali from a film they did together about five years ago (Glory Road). It was a conscious choice on the producers’ part, one producer including Ali who started a production company with her sister, in order to open their audience a bit wider.
TV One was launched seven years ago, with the mission statement to bring real life and positive entertainment directly to the African American community. Through their original programming, including an upcoming three week nostalgia talk show in February 2011 called Way Black When, they hope to entertain but also inspire. And they definitely take risks and chances; the first four episodes (a mini season) of Love That Girl were produced independently and the network purchased and aired the content without stepping in and forcing changes. So now that Love That Girl is back for a second season with the network’s help, it is only going to be bigger and better!
LA TV Insider Examiner had a chance to sit down with Ali and McAuley during the winter press tour in Los Angeles to get a feel for their relationship both on and off screen, why they feel the traditional sitcom deserves to be alive and well in today’s television landscape, and how it is to work within the creative freedom of TV One and cable television in general.
Check out our one-on-two video chat below and be sure to check out Love That Girl tonight (and every Monday) on TV One at 9pm.