How Tisha Campbell and Yvette Nicole Brown Pushed Kym Whitley to Board Alyson Fouses Act Your Age

Up against a ticking clock, Kym Whitley had to make a quick decision of whether she would join Alyson Fouse’s latest sitcom “Act Your Age.” She was on the fence as the final cast member to round out the trio — that is, until she received a call from her soon-to-be castmates and longtime friends Yvette Nicole Brown and Tisha Campbell.

The “Young & Hungry” alum hilariously recounted the story during the Bounce TV show’s red carpet premiere on Monday night at The London Hotel in West Hollywood.

Around the time of a Jewish holiday weekend some time ago, Whitley said she received a call from her agents asking her to give them a definite answer on Fouse’s offer. There wasn’t much time to consider the request as the show was scheduled to begin production the following week.

It wasn’t until she received a call from Brown and Campbell that she was able to finally say yes to the series.

“Honestly, it was about Alyson. It really was,” said Campbell of why they pushed Whitley to join. “The draw was that I knew that I could trust her. Her writing was impeccable, current. Sitcoms could’ve been this dying genre and it’s something that I love so much. I love doing multi-cameras. But I knew that if Alyson was at the helm, it would be current,” Campbell.

“The other side of it is you know, when do you get to come under a sister and support a sister?” Yvette Nicole Brown told moderator Tanika Ray during the premiere’s Q&A portion.. “We wanted to show up for our sister in her moment.”

“I didn’t even know what the script was about, but when they talked about the people that were on board, that was it,” said Whitley. “I went out on blind faith and when I tell you it has been one of the best experiences of my career, I’m so serious.”

As they play friends on-screen, there’s a similar relationship had in real life between the three women, who’ve known each other for decades throughout the course of their careers. That camaraderie immediately translated on the show, creating a sense of “kinship,” David Hudson, Scripps Networks’ head of original programming shared with Variety noting how their years of experience and ability to improv brought magic to the show.

In a refreshing spin bridging comedies of the past with details of the present – something Brown describes as “‘Golden Girls’ with melanin,” “Act Your Age” follows a trio of mature women — Bernadette (Whitley), Keisha (Campbell) and Angela (Brown) — as they navigate their love, family, and friendships after deciding to move in together. Bernadette is a successful, no-nonsense real estate developer. Keisha is described as “the wild card of the group who is always up to something.” Angela, the former First Lady of Norfolk, Virginia, is looking to redefine her life after the death of her husband.

“I think that it is a throwback to everything that was wonderful about TV back in the eighties and seventies, and I hope that people would tune in and celebrate everything that we’re bringing. It’s like ‘Girlfriends’ 30 years later,” Brown told Variety of the show.

It’s worth noting that in an era where many shows are getting greenlights for 8-10 episode orders, MGM Television and digital multicast and streaming channel, Bounce, made a 16-episode commitment — a significant lift for the FAST channel’s third original scripted comedy series.

“The thing about the brand itself, when it was created 11 years ago, there was always intent, that we would have an extended long term relationship, forever relationship with the black community. So, this brand is not just television, what you see is we’re in the community as well,” said Cheryle Harrison, Head of Bounce. “So when the decision was made to do this many episodes, it just aligned with the brand. And Alyson’s put together something pretty magical with the show. So, it was easy to do.”

Brown adds: “I think Bounce and MGM realized that we were making a show that is for everyone and they wanted to give us a real shot. When you do 16 [episodes], you really get to see the arc of the characters, to see where they’re trying to go and I love that they trusted us enough to kind of be the armor bearer for what Bounce TV could be.”

“Act Your Age” premieres March 4 on Bounce at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

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