For eight seasons Tracee Ellis Ross made us laugh and cry as one of our favorite characters on the hit comedy “Girlfriends.” Now, she’s back, and like her famous mother, she’s the boss. Ross teamed up with BET and Malcolm-Jamal Warner to produce and star in the new family sitcom, “Reed Between the Lines.”
ESSENCE.com caught up with Tracee to dish on the new show, a “Girlfriends” reunion and all those rumors about her love life.
ESSENCE.com: Tell us about “Reed Between the Lines” and how you got involved with the project?
TRACEE ELLIS ROSS: It’s is a show about a happily married couple trying to balance their careers and their children and loving each other. I play Dr. Carla Reed, a therapist, and I’m married to Alex Reed who is a stay-at-home NYU English professor, played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. I actually had a wonderful meeting with BET and my initial interest was piqued when Loretha Jones explained they were attempting to revamp BET. She said they had a show and thought that I could join early to help develop it.
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ESSENCE.com: People have been comparing it to “The Cosby Show,” how is it different?
TRACEE: We’re not in any way trying to be “The Cosby Show,” but we are trying to make good television. It’s a natural comparison. It’s the same way they compared “Girlfriends” to “Sex & the City.” The comparison is so flattering and, at the same time, a great incentive to do good work. If we could hold a candle to what Cosby did, we’re on the right track.
ESSENCE.com: How do you think the show will contribute to the way Black love is portrayed on TV?
TRACEE: Whether I were on this show or not, I feel like I would want to see it on television. I want to see a man like Malcolm-Jamal Warner on television. I want to see a couple that supports and respects each other and that finds joy in each other.
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ESSENCE.com: We loved you as Joan on “Girlfriends.” Will there ever be a Girlfriends reunion?
TRACEE: The fact that people fell in love with Joan is a wonderful thing. It’s like people saying you did your job well. I mean, they still see Ron Howard as Opie, and how long ago was that? So if anything, it’s a mark that you did something good. [A reunion] is not on the radar, but I would love to do a “Girlfriends” movie. How much fun would it be to see what happens between Joan and Toni? Does Joan ever get married? I want to know! “The Game” got back on the air because of the fans, so I don’t know what all you people are waiting for, we need you.
ESSENCE.com: There’s been talk about you dating Bu Thiam, Akon’s brother. What’s that about?
TRACEE: It’s kinda funny. I don’t really talk about my personal life. It’s a strange and funny and weird thing. Sometimes you have a conversation with someone and the paparazzi snaps a picture of you and people decide you’re dating. If I try to answer everything people say, I would be up all night. I would much prefer to be shopping, eating, or sleeping than trying to control what other think or say.
“Reed Between the Lines” premieres tonight at 10pm on BET.