Sinbad hopes to counter stereotypes

July 12, 1993|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

Los Angeles -- Come fall, more than a dozen new network series will feature single parents -- making it one of the upcoming season's big TV trends.

But Sinbad, the comedian, thinks his new Fox series about a single parent, "The Sinbad Show," will stand out in at least one way: The single parent is an African-American man.

"I think it's about time that we saw an African-American man raising a family on TV," says Sinbad during a press conference to promote his series.

"I'm so tired of reading all the negativity about black fathers running away and no black men as role models in society," he says. "I had a great father.

"Most of the guys I knew had great fathers. Some people think its'a reality that black fathers don't take care of their children, but that's not true.

"I'll tell you what's happening in America: There are a lot of fathers out there working hard to take care of their kids. But that's not what gets talked about," he says.

"Well, it will on our show."

The sitcom, which premieres Aug. 26, features Sinbad as a bachelor enjoying the good life that his success as a video game designer makes possible. Suddenly, though, he finds himself as a foster parent to a 13-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister. Sinbad's character, David Bryan, knows nothing about being a parent.

Sinbad says he had tried to sell the concept for several years without any takers.

"When I said it was about a single man with children, everybody looked at me like I was crazy . . . But, now, they know it's out there . . . Hey, man, we raise kids, too."

Besides race and gender, at least one other thing will make "The Sinbad Show" stand out from the pack of single parent shows this fall: Its time period. The sitcom will air at 8:30 on Thursday nights following "The Simpsons." It's one of the best time periods on TV -- so good that the show is being picked as a hit by some media buyers even though no pilot was made.

Sinbad says CBS also wanted him to star in a show, but that he picked Fox because the network promised him that his series would air in the time period following "The Simpsons."

"The time period clinched it," he says.

"Well, actually, my main decision came from talking to Bart. Yeah, talking to Bart and his dad."

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