While CBS has some diverse character threaded throughout a number of its primetime shows, it has yet to launch a series with characters and actors of color as the lead and focal point of the series. So, I came up three comedy spinoffs of series currently on the CBS primetime schedule.
“RAJ” (THE BIG BANG THEORY)
THE BIG BANG THEORY is the top rated comedy on television and part of the series’ appeal can be credited to Kunal Nayyar’s performance as astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali. When first introduced, Raj, who hails from New Delhi, India, was very shy around women and unable to speak to them. Over the years, his condition has improved and he’s even started dating a young dermatologist. BIG BANG has had fun playing with the idea that Raj has romantic feelings for his best friend Howard and usually brush it off to him being metrosexual.
CBS has the perfect opportunity to spin Raj off into his own series. BIG BANG should have Raj finally deal with the root of his feelings for Howard and come out. With Howard happily married, Raj decides he needs a fresh start and accepts a job at a new university in the San Francisco Bay area, where his sister Priya now lives. There, Raj experiences the ups and downs as dating as an openly gay man. CBS should take advantage of THE BIG BANG THEORY’S success and use Raj as an opportunity to showcase an Indian actor in a leading role on sitcom.
“CARL” (MIKE & MOLLY)
Reno Wilson plays Carl, Mike’s best friend on MIKE & MOLLY and often gets some of the best punchlines on the show. In early seasons Carl lived with his grandmother, played by Cleo King, who raised him. While they have a combative relationship it’s clear that the two share a deep love for one another.
My spinoff idea for Carl is that his grandmother wants to escape the cold Chicago weather and decides to move to small town in Arizona. Carl decides that he doesn’t want that amount of distance between them and gets a job as the captain of police in a small town. Carl would be surrounded by motley crew of officers under his command. He and his grandmother could share a house together with her commenting on his still often disastrous dates. Since Carl’s parents abandoned him when he was a small child the show could also introduce a younger sibling that Carl agrees to take in and act as a parental figure, just as his grandmother did for him.
Oscar winner Octavia Spencer has appeared in eight episodes of hit sitcom MOM as Regina, an embezzling money manager who’s also in AA along with series leads Christie and Bonnie. Regina was sent off to prison for her crimes but earned an early release. While in prison, she found religion and is now leading a more “righteous” life.
In her spinoff, Regina needs to rebuild her relationship with her family and find a new career. Regina, now separated from her husband, could rent an apartment nearby after getting a new job working at the church her family attends. Her husband and kids still attend the church and that’s where he agrees to let Regina spend time with her children. Her husband could have a new girlfriend by whom Regina feels threatened and she comes up with silly stunts to get time alone with her estranged husband in order to remind him why he first fell in love with her. The church setting also allows for some fun recurring characters including the Pastor, with whom Regina shares some chemistry.
CBS desperately needs more diversity in its lineup and by utilizing established characters on already popular sitcoms the network could quickly make strides in this area.