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TV has long adapted headlines of the week in an attempt to latch onto where viewers’ attention spans are turned outside of the idiot box, and Fox is betting big that audiences are just as interested in watching a show about a racially motivated murder as they are in talking about such instances on social media. The network has given the greenlight to the event series Shots Fired, which will blast its way to TV next year.
Shots Fired, a name that also conjures up images of a freestyle insult competition, will take place in a small town in Tennessee, and will center on the tumultuous aftermath of several shootings where race played a role. Luckily, the announcement also comes with the casting of one of the characters working through the series’ events.
Sanaa Lathan, most recently seen on the big screen in The Perfect Guy, will take on the role of an expert investigator who pores over the cases with a prosecutor sent by the Department of Justice specifically to handle the shootings. Together, the pair won’t just be dealing with solving the case, but they’ll also face a lot of media attention and a community that is starting to break apart at the seams over the murders. The small town seems destined for implosion unless justice is served.
Shots Fired is being put together by Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood, both of whom will write and executive produce along with 20th Century Fox TV. Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the features The Secret Life of Bees and Love & Basketball – which co-starred Lathan – and her husband wrote for A Different World and New York Undercover, as well as writing and directing the 2003 film Biker Boyz.
This is definitely material that will speak to a lot of viewers, considering how things are going around the country. Plus, serialized crime shows are all the rage these days, and if Shots Fired is a success, we could probably expected it to take the anthology route of American Crime and Fargo. And Fox is probably the most suitable of the broadcast networks to pick this up, since they’ve been pretty diverse over the years. I mean, they paired a white guy and a black robot together! Craziness!
It’s unclear what kind of a timeframe Fox will put Shots Fired on, but we’re hoping to hear more casting news soon. Otherwise, just expect to see the pointed drama on your TV in 2016.