Amy Powell Opens Up About Her Paramount TV Ouster, Acknowledges Mistakes & Talks About Lessons Learned

Instead, I should have called our writers to listen, learn and engage in conversation.” As executives, we need to trust and listen to these voices," Powell said. “The team supporting the TV series never should have been white executives—and not just because of the optics Empowering writers to lead the creative process and speak to their own culture is what creates successful, authentic content. As a white woman, it wasn’t my place to give those notes, which were insensitive. "Of course it was uncomfortable for the only (assistant) of color on that call to have to listen to a team of white executives, led by me, give notes about black characters.
The notes in question reportedly suggested that one of the lead female character was coming across as too angry in a proposed storyline. When Powell found out that an assistant on the call had been made uncomfortable by the comment, I hear she immediately arranged for the woman to speak with HR.
Powell was let go last July over what was reported at the time as "racially insensitive" comments allegedly made by her during a conference call discussing characters and storylines in Paramount TV's First Wives Club comedy series, a reimagining of the 1996 movie with black leads. Powell adamantly denied the accusations and, weeks later, she reached a confidential financial settlement with Paramount.
The First Wives Club series, originally for Paramount Network and recently relocating to BET, has a writing staff consisted primarily of women of color, led by creator/executive producer Tracy Oliver. Meanwhile, the creative executives overseeing the show were all white.
She made the comments in a Forbes article titled From Pain To Purpose: Why We Need To Have Difficult Conversations, about the importance of difficult conversations for building a more inclusive work environment. Powell, who had kept a low profile while prepping the next chapter in her career, recently reflected on the events that led to her dismissal, giving a frank assessment of her actions and taking responsibility for them.
Nine months after Amy Powell's surprise exit as President of Paramount Television, she has spoken for the first time about the circumstances surrounding her firing.
“As a woman, I know you often have to fight to be seen and heard," Powell told Forbes. Instead, I will set up the creative team to protect, support and empower the writers’ voices.”” /> "I should have been more conscious of that issue on this particular project. I will never make that mistake again.
No one on the call used any such language. That was not the case. The problem was much larger than that: It was rooted in the more complicated, systemic issue of how we talk about race in the creative process and how that conversation is often uncomfortable.” On the other hand, it was deeply rooted in my failure to manage and lead the team through some difficult conversations surrounding race and identity. “The situation that led me to lose my job is both simple and complex," Powell told the publication. A lot of people assumed that I used a racial epithet on the call. "On one hand, it was the result of a single, short phone call about characters in a TV series.

‘First Wives Club’ Series Moves To BET As Paramount Network Reevaluates Dramedy Night

Moving the Paramount TV-produced First Wives Club to BET makes sense given the project's evolution. The reboot of the 1996 Paramount movie was first developed with a different writer at TV Land where it went to pilot starring Alyson Hannigan, Megan Hilty and Vanessa Lachey. While the network ultimately passed on the pilot, its head of programming Keith Cox left the project in redevelopment and took it with him when he added oversight of programming for Paramount Network.
It was be followed by Younger Season 6 and new series Emily in Paris, both from Darren Star, slated to debut on the same night in spring and summer, respectively. At Paramount Network, First Wives Club starring Ryan Michelle Bathe, Jill Scott and Michelle Buteau, was slated to launch the network's new Thursday dramedy night in January.
I hear the concept for a dramedy branded night on Paramount Network is now being reevaluated, along with the future of Younger and Emily in Paris on the network. The former had been a hit on TV Land for five seasons and, while the comedy-focussed Viacom channel recently canceled its last remaining original scripted series, Teachers, it left the door open to featuring such content in the future.
Meanwhile, Paramount Network, designated as Viacom's leading scripted programming brand, remains fully committed to scripted series with a number of projects in the pipeline.
The First Wives Club series, like the movie that starred Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn, is set in New York City. It follows Ari (Bathe), Bree (Buteau) and Hazel (Scott), who band together after their marriages fall apart and find strength in their sisterhood — and of course a little revenge.
Another Viacom series is switching networks — First Wives Club, which was slated to debut on Paramount Network in January, will instead air on sibling BET.
Tony Hernandez of JAX Media also serves as executive producer.” /> Oliver is writing the series and is executive producing along with Karen Rosenfelt and Scott Rudin, a producer on the First Wives Club movie that, in turn, was based on the 1992 novel by Olivia Goldsmith.
The concept she has for the series fits perfectly with our programming strategy of character-driven content anchored in the Black experience, and it aligns seamlessly with our core audience. “We are thrilled that Tracy Oliver and Paramount Television’s First Wives Club will be coming to BET Networks," the company said in a statement. "We have been big fans of Tracy, the project and its incredible cast all along. We are currently working closely with Paramount Television on Boomerang and are excited to continue working with them on this project.”
The project sailed through development, landing a 10-episode order. There, Girls Trip co-writer Tracy Oliver took a stab at the concept and reimagined it with African American leads, played by Bathe, Scott and Buteau.