As the creator of the Starz drama ‘Power,’ Courtney Kemp is one of the few women of color running her own TV show. Amid the push for increased diversity in the industry, she’s seen a lot of network executives talking the talk, but not too many walking the walk. Kemp tells us how she went from being Shakespeare-loving kid in affluent Westport, Connecticut, to running a gritty, violent drama with the rapper 50 Cent. And on the news banter--NBC News misses another sexual misconduct story.
FROM THIS EPISODE
- Bill Shine, the one-time co-president of Fox News who resigned in May 2017 in the wake of the Roger Ailes scandal, is now on track to become the head of communications for the White House.
- The new CEO of Fox News, Suzanne Scott, recently held a meeting with producers, telling them they need to be held responsible for what their hosts and guests say on air. This follows several recent inflammatory remarks from Fox News hosts and panelists, including Corey Lewandowski’s infamous “womp, womp,” in reaction to a child with Down syndrome being separated from her parent.
- NBC News dragged its feet on yet another sexual misconduct story. Sil Lai Abrams accused two men--Russell Simmons and A.J. Calloway--of sexual misconduct. Late last year, she took the story to MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who worked on it for months, before NBC ultimately pulled the plug on the story in April
‘Power,’ the most popular show on Starz, is back for a fifth season. Omari Hardwick plays James St. Patrick, or “Ghost”--a powerful drug-dealer turned nightclub owner who can’t escape his past.
In the beginning of the series, Ghost tried to go legit with his club, but no surprise, that proved to be easier said than done.
As season 5 begins, the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been--season 4 saw Ghost going to jail for a time and then facing the violent death of a family member. Now Ghost’s wife, Tasha, played by Naturi Naughton is at a breaking point.
Power was created Courtney Kemp. She started for writing for television a decade ago, and worked with showrunners Robert and Michelle king on the ABC series ‘In Justice’ and CBS series ‘The Good Wife.’
When Kemp was ready to strike out on her own, her agent set up a meeting with the rapper 50 Cent. He’s a producer on ‘Power,’ and also plays one of the series’ antagonists, Kanan.
50 Cent has faced some recent online backlash for tasteless Instagram posts mocking actor Terry Crews, after Crews testified at a Senate hearing on sexual assault. Crews has been one of the few men to speak up during the #MeToo movement, sharing his own experience being assaulted by another man.
We taped our interview with Kemp before 50 Cent put up those posts, which he has since deleted. Kemp declined to comment.
When Kemp joined us in the studio, she told us about her childhood in Westport, Connecticut, a world away from the dark underbelly of New York she now explores in ‘Power.’
She also gets real about the challenges of being a parent and a showrunner, and talks about how ‘Power’ has reached the masses--it’s the most-watched show on premium cable after ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Shameless’--but doesn’t get the attention of “buzzier” shows with much smaller audiences.
Photo: Courtney Kemp, creator of 'Power.' Photo credit: Starz
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