‘The Neighborhood’ Creator Leaves CBS Series Paving The Way For More Diverse Storytelling
Words by: Sentwali Holder
I think people are starting to understand the necessity to be authentic in the ongoing movement to empower voices of color. Jim Reynolds, the creator of the hit CBS sitcom The Neighborhood, who has served as its showrunner (head producer responsible for all aspects of production), for all three seasons, has just stepped down.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, The Neighborhood stars Cedric the Entertainer, Max Greenfield, Sheaun McKinney, Marcel Spears and Hank Greenspan with Tichina Arnold and Beth Behrs. “I am very proud of The Neighborhood and have given everything of myself over the last three years to make this the best show possible,” Reynolds said in a statement via Deadline. “I am so happy that the show has found such an enthusiastic audience and that it will live on. At this moment, in light of everything going on in the world, I had concluded that I am not the right person to continue to tell these stories. I am excited to see the show thrive and wish everyone involved the very best.”
Deadline reported that two Black writers departed the series after the third season wrapped production. “According to sources, CBS Studios opted for a leadership change on The Neighborhood based on feedback the studio had received on Reynolds regarding race-related issues over a period of time,” reads the report. “I hear that included feedback from two Black writers who recently left the show after finishing work on Season 3.”
The series is a certified ratings hit for CBS, as one of its biggest-performing comedies. But it has been critiqued for its tone-deaf approach to race. And that is a problem, especially during these times.
The official description: The series explores what happens when the friendliest guy in the Midwest moves his family to a neighborhood in Los Angeles where not everyone looks like him or appreciates his extreme neighborliness. Dave Johnson is a good-natured, professional conflict negotiator. When his wife, Gemma, gets a job as a school principal in L.A., they move from Michigan with their young son, Grover, unfazed that their new dream home is located in a community quite different from their small town. Their opinionated next-door neighbor, Calvin Butler, is wary of the newcomers, certain that the Johnsons will disrupt the culture on the block. However, Calvin’s gracious wife, Tina, rolls out the welcome wagon; their chipper younger son, Marty, thinks the Johnsons could be good for the community; and their unemployed older son, Malcolm, finds Dave may finally be someone who understands him. Dave realizes that fitting into their new community is more complex than he expected, but if he can find a way to connect with Calvin, they have an excellent chance of making their new neighborhood their home.