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Colored But Cancelled: "Out All Night" (1992)

3 December 2007 12 Comments

By now I’m sure you have all realized that I grew up watching a lot of television (latch-key kids, holla!), and because of that, the era where there was a new black sitcom premiering nearly every week was one of the best periods of my youth. The problem? There are SO many black sitcoms that didn’t even make it through a whole season that have been completely forgotten. Therefore, in accordance with the blackarchivist nature of this blog, I’m starting the feature “Colored But Cancelled,” highlighting black shows that only aired for two or fewer seasons.

Out All Night, 1992

The Premise: Patti Labelle played Chelsea Paige, a soul diva and owner of a hot LA nightclub. Her fashion designer daughter, Charisse, was played by Vivica Fox and the club was managed by the hunky Jeff, played by Morris Chestnut. Jeff shared a bachelor pad, owned by Chelsea, with the adorably goofy and troublemaking Vidal, played by Duane Martin.

How Did This Get On Televison?: I have to credit The Fresh Prince of Bel Air for creating the “black pop star sitcom” formula. Stars don’t get much bigger than Patti Labelle and she was basically playing herself, so as a producer I would have had high hopes for this show.

Why It Was Good: This show was actually pretty funny, Morris and Duane were so cute back then, and I could even take Vivica seriously. Of course, as a Philly girl, I have nothing but love for Ms. Labelle so her diva-sass was such a joy. The premise also allowed for numerous musical guests, such as Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Hammer, TLC, and Bobby Brown.

Why It Was Bad: Morris and Duane’s rayon shirts and flattops, Vivica’s early 90’s pouffy dresses and ridiculous hats, and the same tired plot for every episode – Vidal trying to ‘get over’, Jeff trying to restrain yet help him, and Chelsea trying to keep an eye on them all.

Best Episode: A Johnny Gill video was being shot at the club and Vidal, the video’s production assistant, gets all up in the sauce against the wishes of the Spike Lee-esque video director, Andrew Dean, who exclaimed in protest “This is an Andrew Dean production…AND I AM ANDREW DEAN!” (Big shoutout to Jippy). This episode just happens to be the only one YouTube, if you’re interested.

What Happened and Where Are They Now?: Out All Night only lasted through the 1992 season, but back when BET was actually worthwhile it ran the show in sydication. Out All Night simply couldn’t pull a large enough audience, and not surprisingly it is not available on DVD. The cast was actually star-studded and none of them are hurting too badly for work right now, (I’m going to leave the precarious state of Vivica’s career and plastic face alone), so clearly they went on to bigger and better projects after the show’s run. What I really want to know is who was the kid who played Shavonne, Vidal’s “little brother” through a youth program? If anyone remembers anything please let me know because I couldn’t find anything at all online.

12 Comments »

  • Malcolm: said:

    Excellent idea for a regular feature. I remember “Out All Night” came on back-to-back with the Malcolm-Jamal Warner sitcom “Here and Now” for most (if not all) of its run on NBC.

    I used to watch “Out All Night” quite a bit. The thing is, outside of Patti Labelle and the musical acts that the show featured every week, it was pretty much a run-of-the-mill sitcom in my opinion. Plus, Vidal’s antics grated on my nerves. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing an episode or two again for old time’s sake.

    I wonder if it’s a musical rights issue (because of all the recording acts that appeared) that is keeping “Out All Night” from being released on DVD. Although it only ran for a season, it has enough star power to warrant a DVD release. Esp. when you think of some of the obscure crap that does get released.

  • Cassandra said:

    Shavonne was played by Tahj Mowry

    http://imdb.com/name/nm0005254/

  • Thembi said:

    YES!

    Cassie…omg…I couldn’t take it…me and Julian were on the phone trying to figure it out and couldnt stop fixating on that boy from Thats So Raven. You’re amazing.

  • Cassandra said:

    Thembi, you are welcome.

  • Regina said:

    I remember and kind of liked that show. It was pretty much the same old same old though. In my mind right now all I can really remeber was the end of the show (the musical guests and of course Ms. Patti doing her Diva thing!

    It is a great ide to find and feature these shows1 Good Luck!
    Blessings!

  • Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said:

    Dang, talking about flash back, thats the year i got my phd and missed any of the show cause i nheaded to live in nigeria for a year and half to do my post doc

  • THE 78' MS. J said:

    Wow where does the time go…us latch key kids sure did watch a lot of tv.

  • THE 78' MS. J said:

    Wow where does the time go…us latch key kids sure did watch a lot of tv.

  • MrsGrapevine said:

    I’m a latch-key kid, as well, and tv was my sibling. So, I am sure I will know all the Colored But Canncelled Shows. Half the tme I was probably the only one watching. I remeber this show, It featured two of my then crushes, Morris Chestut and Duane Martin.

  • Julia_Claudine_Deveraux said:

    OH YESSS! I loved this show.Def Jeff played the DJ at the club and his short appearances were always funny. Every time I look at Vivica I wanna cry now, she was such a pretty girl on that show.

  • IVENTBYBLOGGING said:

    You took me wayyyyyyyy back! I just always believed the show was ahead of its time. I was upset when it went off the air…but that’s just me :)

  • theblackactor.com said:

    That’s an interesting and innovative category for your blog!

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