Bounce TV Brings The Funny & The Real With ‘Family Time’ & ‘Grown Folks’

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The Cast of Bounce TV’s Family Time & Grown Folks Are Keeping It Real and Keeping It Funny

In an age where ‘ratchet reality’ programming seems to be dominating the world of black television, it’s revitalizing to see a black-owned network, like Bounce TV, still producing clean, comedic content that also showcases a broad range of real-life situations within the black community. The renowned network just returned with the latest season of their record-breaking comedy series, Family Time, along with an all-new series, titled Grown Folks.

Created by honorable writer, producer, and director Bentley Kyle Evans, with iconic black family sitcoms, such as The Cosby ShowFamily Matters, and The Jeffersons, Family Time brings forth a modern-day twist, captivating audiences of all age groups. The Bounce TV exclusive series, which stars adept actor and actress, Omar Gooding and Angell Conwell, centers around the Stallworth family and their newfound lifestyle in the suburbs after hitting the lottery. Tony, a contractor, and Lisa, a homemaker, struggle to keep the family afloat, as they must juggle their two overgrown, teenage children, Ebony (Jayla Calhoun) and Devin (Bentley Kyle Evans Jr.). Debuting on June 18th, 2012, the acclaimed sitcom successfully brought in great ratings for the network, as it has, now, just approached its fifth season.

Gooding, who portrays Tony Stallworth, is most known for his memorable roles in the ’90s sitcoms, Smart Guy and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and 2001’s blockbuster film, Baby Boy, which starred esteemed actor and singer Tyrese Gibson. The 41-year-old actor holds over twenty-five years in the business, and he just keeps getting better and better, leading the series with his jocular way of delivering yet another lovable character.

“I think the fans are really going to enjoy this season. We’ve been getting a lot of great feedback, throughout the years. The dynamic between Tony and Lisa, it’s a lot more love this season, a lot more kissing. He’s not on the couch, as much! [laughs] She’s looking fabulous; he’s funnier than ever. The writing is excellent.” Gooding boasts, later revealing that he actually wrote one of the scripts for this season of Family TimeBounce TV

“We found our groove. In the wake of all of the tragedies going on in this country—don’t get me started on this president, all of the disasters and everything, people are lost. I think people need to laugh. If they tune into Family Time, season five, they will get that. This was the hardest season to not break character, during a scene. The outtakes are hilarious; the writing is fantastic—and I’m not just saying that because I wrote one of the scripts. [laughs] I think the chemistry built throughout season five really shows, really comes through, and really comes across. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

While talking with Gooding, he also hinted around to a season six of Family Time, and we couldn’t be more excited for that. Angell Conwell, who stars as Gooding’s wife, Lisa Calloway-Stallworth, shared the same excitement, as she opened up about her role on the show and her gratitude to be a part of something that has positively impacted today’s TV realm.

“I think it’s a really great time, for people to be able to tune in and laugh and be entertained. Family Time has pretty much kept the funny coming, in a major way, for the past five seasons. Nothing is going to change; it’s only going to get better this season. I feel like there is more involvement with all of the cast. The guest stars are all hilarious; we have Shirley Ceasar on the show this season. A lot of vets, but also a lot of fresh faces. Bentley Kyle Evans, our creator, producer, and director, is always good at having a nice mixture of all types of talent. So, yeah, I was really excited for the show. I love it! We’re back. We’re back in action!” Conwell rejoices.

As this season progresses, viewers will have the chance to see special appearances from Xscape’s Tameka ‘Tiny’ Cottle-Harris and TV host and former Puff Daddy wingman, Fonzworth Bentley, who’s been a prominent face throughout the entertainment industry since the early 2000s. Lynn Whitfield and Jackée Harry have made previous appearances, as well.

However, along with the series’ array of guest stars, it has also featured recurring cast members, Tanjareen Thomas, who takes on the character of Rachel Calloway, Lisa’s sassy sister who happens to be a lesbian, and Paula Jai Parker as Lori Calloway-Wilson, Lisa’s other sister who is the eldest sister of the bunch.

“My character kind of balance things out. I’m really sweet with Lisa, kind of crazy with Lori, but then really, really disrespectfully crazy with Tony. So, I have that whole little dynamic going on where I balance crazy an innocent.” Thomas expresses. “For season five, I’m going to continue to bring you the funny; I’m going to continue to bring you the insults. I’m going to continue to keep trying to one-up Tony in the scenes. [laughs] We have so much fun with our bickering and out fighting. The holiday episodes are different from any other holiday episodes on traditional sitcoms. I think we really step it up a notch.”

With almost twenty years in TV and film, Tanjareen Thomas continues giving us the ‘Tanjy’ we’ve always loved. Parker, on the other hand, holds twenty-five years under her belt, most notable for her role as the quotable Joi in Ice Cube’s breakout film, Friday, Adina in 1997’s Sprung, featuring Tisha Campbell-Martin and Joe Torry, and a plethora of others.

The Ohio native expressed that her favorite part about working with the cast is the authenticity that the show has kept throughout the last five seasons.

“I definitely see the growth in all of us, definitely our main couple, Tony and Lisa. They are like, literally, my favorite TV couple. It’s because they represent Black love. We don’t shy away from it. It’s just real. Our characters, we argue, we laugh, we tease, we joke. It all comes from love. At the end of every episode, you see that love. I’m a proud person to be a part of this. I thank Bentley and my whole Family Time family for embracing me and allowing me to do my thing.”

But, though the cast has done an outstanding job at bringing this amazing project to life, it all traces back to the man who even made it all possible, Mr. Bentley Kyle Evans. The 51-year-old is a veteran writer, producer, and director, who’s credible for his work on shows like Martin, The Jamie Foxx Show, and, more recently, Love That Girl. You may also remember him from House Party, which was actually his first acting debut.

Evans said his objective with Family Time was to craft a sitcom that could relate to today’s everyday black family, but, also, when it’s all said and done, depict the dynamic black family values and relationships, that are sometimes overshadowed, in 2017. The Family Time creator elaborated a little on how the show came together and what he draws from when coming up with the concepts each season.

“Art imitates life. I think that most of us come from some sort of family type of environment, and everybody’s got different stories to share. Writing, a lot of it comes from real scenarios that have taken place, in my family or from different conversations that I’ve had with people, and they tell me different things about their families. I think that you take that fiction, and you put a little bit of non-fiction stint on it, and you get these wonderful storylines. When we first started this show, as everyone knew, it was somewhat of an experiment.” Evans admits. “We were trying to get on TV; we were trying to take a show that was built with no real destination, and we just so happened to run into the Bounce TV network. We were able to make the perfect marriage. [laughs] So, going into season five, I think we have involved a lot. We’re able to take these characters and breathe life into them, in a lot of comedic ways, while adding a lot of truth. We’re not in the business of trying to teach people anything, but we do want to leave an everlasting impression on them when they see the episodes.”

However, if you thought that Bentley Kyle Evans had given you all that he could give you, you thought completely wrong. Evans has a brand new series, also exclusively on Bounce TV, titled Grown Folks.

The thirty-minute newly-debuted show, which premiered on October 2nd, coming along right after Family Time, focuses on two blue-collar couples, sharing a duplex, while they navigate life, marriage, and friendship. Grown Folks stars Gary ‘G Thang’ Johnson (Disaster Movie, Moneyball), Tracey Cherelle Jones (Don’t Be A Menace To South Central), Jay Phillips (Prom Night), and Caryn Ward Ross (The Game).

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“Putting the show together, Gary is the first person who came to mind. I said, ‘We have to do this thing.’ Gary and I had a little bit of history on trying to build a show for another network, BET, some years ago. We kept saying, ‘We have to do something together.’ Coming up with this concept, it was perfect for us to do something together. Me, I’m loyal to a fault. Jay Phillips is one of my good friends; we’ve known each other forever. He writes on a lot of my other shows, as well.” Evans reveals, explaining how the cast came together. “So, when the opportunity came up for another cast member, it was like, ‘Hey, I think Jay would be a good complement to go along with the Grown Folks. The loyalty goes deep with Caryn, too. We’ve been trying to figure this thing out forever. She knows that I just love her to death. I had to have her in place. Tracey and I have known each other since we were late teenagers. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for her and her craft. Soon as she walked through the door, I said, ‘Hey, guys, I think she’s the one for the role!”

Opposite to Family Time, Grown Folks aims to an older audience, capturing the day-to-day lives of conventional middle-aged married couples and the foundation of a pure union.

“It’s a really fun dynamic! This is giving you the real, the good, the bad, the ugly. This is strictly for the ‘grown folks’.” Evans says in closing.

Be sure to catch Family Time at 9/8c and Grown Folks at 10:30/9:30c, every Monday night, only on Bounce TV!

Join the conversation by using the #FamilyTime and #GrownFolks hashtags on Twitter!

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Ashley Blackwell
Ashley Blackwell is an entertainment writer and social media content creator whose only goals are to keep soaring for success. Born in the bible belt of the south, Alabama, her passion for writing rapidly grew at an early age. With a strong imagination and a love for the pen, Ashley used writing as a platform to express herself. Starting out doing freelance lifestyle blogging, Ashley soon discovered her love for entertainment and pop culture. She then went on to write for a variety of popular online publications such as Baller Alert, Kontrol Girl—a sister brand to Kontrol Magazine, and Polish Magazine. She is now a proud writer, celebrity interviewer, and editor for Parlé Magazine. Aside from writing, Ashley enjoys music, reading, all things beauty, traveling, and spending time with her family.