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The Parkers aired from August 1999 until June 2004 on UPN.

Television's #1 ranked show among African-Americans during the 1999-2000 season, The Parkers was the only new sitcom that debuted in the fall of 1999 that returned for a second full season, forshadowing the sorry state of sitcoms in the new millenium. The series was a spin-off from the popular UPN sitcom Moesha in which Countess Vaughn had appeared as Mo's boycrazy best friend Kim Parker. In the spin-off, Kim and her large , loud single mother, Nikki ( Mo'Nique), were both enrolled as freshmen at Santa Monica College. Kim had the hots for fellow student T ( Ken Lawson) while her mother was obsessed with handsome but totally disinterested Professor Oglevee ( Dorien Wilson) who was mortified by her agressiveness. Nikki's friend and neighbor Desiree ( Mari Morrow) was the receptionist for the Artistic Endeavors talent agency but her character was dropped before the end of the year. In November T formed a singing group, Free Style Unity, with Kim as lead singer and their white friend, Stevie ( Jenna Von Oy) doing backup. After the first of the year Nikki's friend Andel ( Yvette Wilson ), who owned a restaurant ( she had previously been on Moesha) became a regular. In April Kim and Stevie got an apartment together, in Professor Oglevee's building. In the season finale Kim's boyfriend Jerel ( Trent J. Cameron), who had been offered a job as a music producer in Paris, proposed and they went to Las Vegas to get married.

That fall the marriage was annulled because Jerel was underage. He still went to Paris and Kim had to put her life back together. Nikki's romantic designs on Oglevee perked up after Veronica ( Paulette Braxton), his longtime girlfriend dumped him for another guy. Their proximity improved, at least, when she gave up her apartment and moved in with Kim ( Stevie had moved out). In November Kim and Nikki ran for student body president but both were disqualified for cheating and obnoxious serority girl Regina ( Kara Brock) won by default. In May Nikki was dating a friend of Oglevee's and the professor, who felt qualms about it , saw a psychologist who told him he was in love with Nikki.

As the 2001-2002 season began, Oglevee couldn't get Nikki out of his mind, despite Dean Toni Ross' ( Angell Brooks) aggressive eforts to have an affair with him. When he found out the psychologist was actually a janitor, he tried to get back together with Toni, but she had decided to take an extended leave of absence to get over him. In November, Andel reopened her restaurant as an upscale club. In the season finale Oglevee, fired because of budget cutbacks , got drunk and ended up in the sack with Nikki. The next morning he woke up mortified that he actually slept with her. Nikki did, however, help him by convincing the school's dean, whom she had caught in a compromising position , to reinstate Oglevee. In November T and Stevie started dating, which didn't last, and Nikki, after a stint as the chef at Andel's bistro, started a catering business.

At the start of the 2003-2004 season, Kim had moved to Boston with her psychologist boyfriend Regis ( Chuma Hunter-Gault), who had landed a teaching job at Harvard, but they broke up and she moved back to Los Angeles a few weeks later. Oglevee found out that all but two dollars of the $10 million he inhereted from a deseased uncle was owed in back taxes-leaving him in debt for all the purchases he had made in anticipation of the windfall. He moved back into his old apartment but, because he was strapped for money, he was forced to do maintenance to help pay for it. As The Parkers drew to a close Kim realized she didn't have enough credits to graduate and started her own design business instead. The series finale began with Nikki preparing to marry Johnnie ( Mel Jackson), a guy Andel had fixed her up with, but Oglevee, who finally admitted his feelings for her , showed up at the church, stopped the ceremony and proposed. Nikki accepted. Johnnie gave Oglevee the ring and the minister married them. After which Kim sang " At Last."

A Review from Entertainment Weekly

TV Review
Mo' and More

Brandy's winning sitcom launches a slapsticky spin-off, while Jaleel White is all Grown up and leaving Urkel behind.

By Ken Tucker

Anyone interested in examples of ignored black creativity in television need look no further than the almost complete lack of media attention paid to producer Ralph Farquhar, a TV stylist as assured as Steven Bochco or Chris Carter. Farquhar continues to oversee Moesha, starting its fifth-season run. He's also cocreated the new Moesha spin-off, The Parkers, featuring Moesha's wisecracking, booty-shaking best friend, Kim Parker (the pouty, prickly, peerless Countess Vaughn). Kim now attends Santa Monica Junior College -- along with her equally gaudy 36-year-old mom, Nikki, played by stand-up comic Mo'Nique.

The running joke is, of course, that mother and daughter are so alike they constantly cramp each other's flamboyant style. Some of the gags are predictable -- the first day of school, both wear the same garish outfit and want to pledge the same sorority. But Farquhar's series -- he was also responsible for the top-notch, short-lived 1994 Fox inner-city comedy-drama South Central -- are distinctive for the way they aren't so much interested in what's said as in how it's said and what it means. With Farquhar, tone is everything.

For Moesha, this has meant a sitcom about a strongly bonded family that manages to be funny while depicting middle-class black life in a far more problematic, enlightening way than, say, Bill Cosby has managed. Moesha's dad, go-getter Frank Mitchell (William Allen Young), owns a Saturn dealership, and we've seen him struggle with business downturns and ethical dilemmas. In this season's premiere, Moesha takes a job as a gofer at the hip-hop magazine Vibe (mucho product placement here) and wants her editor-boss to read an unassigned piece she's written on producer-performer Timbaland.

The plot turns on a comic misunderstanding -- she thinks she's in for sexual harassment when he asks her out to discuss her work; he just wants to proffer some chaste mentoring -- yet the episode manages to squeeze in a lot more insight about racial and sexual politics than most shows even attempt, and all without becoming pious or PC.

Farquhar's Parkers is meant to be a much more low-down, slapsticky sitcom -- both Vaughn and Mo'Nique are graduates of the Jackee Harry school of Sassy Black Women Comedy, in which attitude frequently provides the humor that the script does not. (I invariably laugh, for example, every time Kim does her trademark shtick, which is to give an ordinary word what she thinks is a classy pronunciation: ''parties'' becomes ''pour-ties,'' for example.) Even when she was a second banana on Moesha, there was something sweetly poignant about Kim's attempts to transcend her up-from-the-ghetto roots, and the college setting of The Parkers, combined with the comic combustion Kim has with her equally ambitious and argumentative mother, promises good, raucous fun.

UPN and The WB are, for the moment, the primary locations for black comics to display their talent, in sitcoms ranging from the lame (Malcolm & Eddie) to the weird (The Jamie Foxx Show -- is there a more peculiar collection of eccentrics, Foxx included, on TV?) to the supple (dumb as the lines on The Steve Harvey Show can be, the star is always razor-sharp). Another new UPN show, Grown Ups, is a vehicle for Jaleel White, a legend in his own time for portraying mega-nerd Steve Urkel on Family Matters for nine seasons. The creators could have called this new show Pumped Up: White displays his physique at every chance; a recurring setting is a neighborhood basketball court, where the short-sleeved White, a well-known hoops devotee, sinks rocks with debonair ease.

Central to the show's concept is the notion that White's character, J. Calvin Frazier, should play less B-ball with his pal Gordon (Dave Ruby) and spend more time carving out a career. If we didn't get the point, J. pauses mid-jump-shot to announce, ''We're grown-ups.'' Oh, then why are you squandering your charm with trite plotlines such as J. and a potential roommate (Punky Brewster's Soleil Moon Frye) each thinking the other is gay?

Both Moesha and Grown Ups debuted Aug. 23 to strong ratings (see ''Winner,'' on page 133). Unlike Farquhar's show, Grown Ups may feature a black star, but it doesn't evince any insight into or enjoyment of the black experience -- not surprising, given that White's role was originally conceived for a white actor. That in itself could have proved interesting (most often, producers don't think of black actors stepping into roles written as ''white''), but all it results in here is a vague blandness: A show and its star in search of a point of view. Moesha: B+ The Parkers: B Grown Ups: C


UPN The Parkers 8:30 PM MONDAYS


An Article from Media Life

Blacks overwhelmingly favor
shows on UPN and the WB

Offer 19 out the top 20 most popular shows

By Dave Lindorff

African-Americans continue to be significantly larger consumers of television than whites or Hispanics, representing 14 percent of the total primetime audience for the sixth straight season, according to an in-depth study released by TN Media.
But after long favoring the Fox network, black viewers this season have turned to the WB and UPN.
According to the TN study, which is based on Nielsen Media Research data, four of the top-ranked shows in terms of their percentage of black viewers were UPN programs.
These were "The Parkers," with 80 percent black viewers, "Malcolm & Eddie," with 79 percent black viewers and "Grown Ups" and "Moesha," each with 76 percent black viewers.
The fifth-ranked show, with a black viewership of 72 percent, was the WB's "Steve Harvey Show."
Of the top 20 shows in terms of black viewership, 19 were either on WB or UPN.
The only other network on the list was CBS, which carries 16th-ranked "Cosby" with its 19 percent black viewership.
Stacey Lynn Koerner, vice president of research at TN Media and author of the new study, says that black viewers have shown a marked preference for programs that feature black casts.
Of the top 10 programs in terms of black viewership, nine featured black casts or black leading characters.
The exception was the ninth-ranked program, UPN's animated "Dilbert" show, which had a black viewership of 49 percent.
Looked at by households, CBS had the highest rating among African-Americans during the fourth quarter of 1999, with a 9.8, meaning that 9.8 percent of black households using televisions were tuned to CBS during primetime.
UPN came in second with an 8.9 rating, followed by ABC with an 8.3. The lowest rated network among African Americans was the WB at 5.8.
In terms of demographics, UPN led among black men aged 18-49, and among children and teenagers. CBS was first among black women aged 35 and older, and among all blacks aged 50 or older. ABC led among black men aged 25-54, while Fox led among young black women.
"Clearly," says Koerner, "black viewers are no longer flocking to a single network."
She attributes this to a recent trend that has seen a number of broadcast networks offering more multi-ethnic casts in their programs, which can both appeal to a wider variety of ethnic groups and to different demographic elements among the black viewership.
"Two years ago, 14 of the top 20 shows favored by black viewers were not even on the top 100 list among white viewers," says Koerner. "Now that number has been halved." She says that this season, the six broadcast networks offered 24 programs that featured multi-ethnic casts--the largest number of any season in the past five years, and a 100-percent increase over 1995.
Only Fox and WB decreased the number of shows they were running this season that had black casts or lead characters. "The result has been that black audiences have begun to sample and return to programs being offered by a greater variety of networks," says Koerner.
The six-broadcast network average for black viewership was 8.0, compared to 7.1 for whites.
Koerner found that while blacks and whites have distinctly different preferences in programming, there is also a growing degree of commonality.
Looking at primetime ratings among whites and blacks, she found that during the fourth quarter of 1999, six network programs shared space in the top-20 list for both blacks and whites. Those shows were "E.R.," "Monday Night Football," "60 Minutes," "Touched by an Angel," "The CBS Sunday Movie," and "The Practice."
As recently as 1998, she says, the only shared program on those two lists was "Monday Night Football."

Top 20 Primetime Programs
with Blacks versus Whites


The Parkers

NFL Monday Night Football


Grown Ups

Malcolm & Eddie

Steve Harvey

60 Minutes

WWF Smackdown

Touched by an Angel

Walker, Texas Ranger

For Your Love


Wednesday Movie

Sunday Movie

Diagnosis Murder

The Practice


Jamie Fox Show

The Simpsons

48 Hours

Chicago Hope


An Article from The New York Times

Business People; H.I.V.-Positive on TV

Published: January 18, 2004

Next month on ''The Parkers,'' a comedy on the UPN network, one of the lead characters will meet the girl of her dreams, only to find out that she's H.I.V.-positive. The story may have been dreamed up by the show's writers, but they got a little nudge from Mel Karmazin, president and chief operating officer of Viacom Inc., which owns CBS, MTV and Showtime, as well as UPN.

The show's theme is part of an effort by Viacom and the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, which provides information on health issues, to foster awareness of H.I.V. and AIDS. The linchpin of the effort is a push by Mr. Karmazin and Sumner M. Redstone, the chairman and chief executive of Viacom, to have its networks broadcast shows with H.I.V. story lines.

''We realized that, as a media company, we may not be able to sit at a lab and cure cancer, but we had tremendous power to educate people,'' Mr. Karmazin said.

Last Monday night, in a meeting with MTV's sales staff of about 500, Mr. Karmazin rattled off names of dozens of television programs that would use H.I.V.-related plots this year. He said he received a standing ovation. ''It was the only thing they applauded me for,'' Mr. Karmazin joked. "When I started talking about what I expect in revenues and cash flow for the year, they became very quiet." Melinda Ligos

Here is Yvette Wilson's Obituary

Yvette Wilson of 'The Parkers' dead at 48
Updated Jun 15, 2012; Posted Jun 15, 2012

Yvette Wilson played Andell in both "The Parkers" and "Moesha."

Yvette Wilson, an actress known for her roles in the TV series "The Parkers" and "Moesha" died Thursday, according to various reports. She was 48.

News One says Wilson, who played Andell Wilkerson in "The Parkers," had been battling stage-4 cervical cancer as well as kidney trouble.

One of Wilson's friends had been making an online appeal to help Wilson pay her many medical bills.

That friend, Jeffrey Pittle, spoke to E! News:

"Unfortunately I can verify Yvette's passing yesterday," he said. "She was a good friend, a talented actress and a very funny lady, both onscreen and off."

Wilson first portrayed her Andell character in 1996 on UPN's "Moesha," a series that starred the singer Brandy. From 1999 to 2004 Wilson brought Andell to the spinoff show "The Parkers," alongside Countess Vaughn, who played Kimberly Ann Parker, and the actress-comedian Mo'Nique, who played Nikki Parker.

The actress, who started as a stand-up comedian, is also known for roles in the movies "House Party 2" (1991), "House Party 3" (1994) and "Friday" (1995).

To watch clips of The Parkers go to

For more on The Parkers go to

For the Official Website of Jenna Von Oy go to

To watch the opening credits go to For more on The Parkers go to
Date: Wed June 23, 2004 � Filesize: 30.8kb � Dimensions: 284 x 350 �
Keywords: Mo'nique, Countess Vaughn,and Dorien Wilson


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