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One on One aired from September 2001 until September 2006 on UPN.
Flex ( Flex Alexander), a sportscaster for TV station WYNX in Baltimore, had been living the good life-junk food, strange hours and a lot of women-and then everything changed. When his ex-wife Nicole ( Tichina Arnold) left Atlanta to study Marine life in Nova Scotia, he became the custodial parent to their teenage daughter , Breanna ( Kyla Pratt). Flex was used to his bachelor life, and there had been few rules when she visited her dad. Now she chafed at the more restrictive environment he attempted to maintain as a responsible father. Since he was not always successful, Flex's parents , bossy Eunice ( Joan Pringle), and meek Richard ( Ron Canada) were concerned about the lack of control he had over Breanna. Duane ( Kelly Perine), a fast-talking car salesman at Big Sal's Used Cars, was Flex's skirt-chasing buddy; Spirit ( Sicily) was Breanna's confidant and best girlfriend, and Arnaz ( Robert Ri'Chard) was a friend with ambitions to become a rap star. He was unaware that Breanna had a big crush on him. In November, Flex's girlfriend Tonya ( Tamala Jones) broke up with him because he refused to commit, and the following spring -when he thought he was hitting it off with his boss, Stacy ( Holly Robinson Peete)-he found out she was secretly dating Duane.
In the fall of 2002 Flex had a short-lived tryout with the NBA-he had once been a promising basketball star-but didn't make it as a 33-year-old rookie. When he returned to Baltimore he found out Nicole had decided to move back too, to be close to Breanna. He went back to work at WYNX and Nicole moved in with them while she looked for a job and her own apartment. Since Arnaz , who now knew Breanna loved him, was involved with someone else, she dated Josh ( Josh Henderson), who was white. Meanwhile, Flex went out with Breanna's art teacher , Natalie ( Melissa De Sousa) and, despite his fear of commitment , got pretty serious. In February he took over his father's barbershop , initially causing some friction with Malik and Walt( Omar Gooding, Rashaan Nall), two of the barbers with whom he had previously been very friendly. Duane , who had moved out of his mother's place and into an apartment across the hall from Flex, was dating Candy ( Shondrella Avery), the sharp-tongued manicurist at the barbershop.
In the fall of 2003 Natalie broke up with Flex after he told her he didn't want any more kids. Meanwhile Breanna was fed up with both Josh and Arnaz, who were vying for her affections, and wouldn't date either of them, although she did remain friends with Arnaz. Late in the year, when the ratings for The Flex Files began to decline, he was subjected to a goofy but sexy cohost named Holly ( Jenny McCarthy) and found that, despite his misgivings they made a good team. In March he was trying to take his show national and by the end of the season had sold the family barbershop. ( A spin-off series featuring that barbershop premiered that spring as Cuts). In the season finale Flex and Holly were offered a deal to syndicate their show, Breanna ran away to New York with Arnaz and Spirit and Duane lost his job when the dealership went out of business and he broke up with Cindy.
At the start of the 2004-2005 season Flex, Duane and Spirit's mother , went to New York to bring the girls back home. When Arnaz returned to Baltimore he moved in with Duane and was finally dating Breanna, which made Flex uncomfortable. After being out of work for several months, Duane opened a tire rim/sandwich shop. Meanwhile, because an accident had sidelined Holly , the syndication deal was in jeopardy. It eventually worked out but he had problems because his new cohost , Ranya ( Ivana Milicevic) was having an affair with the syndicator, Matt ( Curtis Armstrong). In the spring Flex started dating Danielle ( Saskia Garel), the sexy therapist who had moved into his buiding. Breanna went to her senior prom with Arnaz and was planning to go to school in California , but moved in with Arnaz instead.
That fall the focus of One on One shifted as Breanna and Arnaz moved to Los Angeles where she was going to Chaplain School of the Arts and he was looking for his big break as a musician. They moved into a crowded apartment in Venice owned by former child star Manny Sellers( Kel Mitchell). Their four new roommates were Lisa ( Camille Mana), a spoiled Chinese girl struggling in school; D-Mack ( Ray J. Norwood), a black guy from the suburbs addicted to hip-hop; Cash ( Jonathan Chase), a white paparazzi photographer and aspiring filmmaker; and Sara( Nicole Peggi), a stereotypical rich blond girl , looking for a rich husband so she could quit working. Flex got a job doing sports news for ESPN in Los Angeles so he could keep tabs on them but by year's end he had been phased out of the show. After the first of the year Breanna and Arnaz concluded they were complete opposites after taking a compatibility test and decided to stop dating. Things got uncomfortable when Arnaz connected with D-Mack's visiting older sister Michelle (( Brandy Norwood). In the last episode Arnaz went after Michelle , Lisa and her friend Benjamin ( Ernie Grunwald) made love and Breanna , who had broken up with her latest boyfriend , was in bed with D-Mack.
Flex's real last name was Barnes, but he used Washington as his professional name.
A Review from the LA Times
UPN Comedy 'One on One' Takes the Low Road
September 03, 2001|HOWARD ROSENBERG | TIMES TELEVISION CRITIC
The largely promising fall prime-time season is off to a minimalist start tonight with the UPN premiere of "One on One," another of those contemporary broad comedies that exhume rotted-through old stereotypes by defining African American males by their sexual appetites.
Created by Eunetta T. Boone, it centers on heavily libidinous divorced sportscaster Flex Washington (Flex Alexander) and his wisecracking, highly sexualized 14-year-old daughter, Breanna (Kyla Pratt), who has become his responsibility now that his ex-wife has taken a job out of the country. He's emotionally unsuited for the role, his guy impulses tonight superceding his love for his daughter.
"One on One" is wedged into UPN's Monday night black comedy ghetto at 8:30, making it highly accessible to young kids. Beyond being oppressively witless, the premiere has the man-child Flex slobbering over every attractive female he encounters, and the admiration being mutual, one of these lookers even scrawling her phone number on his bare chest in lipstick.
The social urge is just as intense in Flex's clownish little pal, Duane (Kelly Perine), who worries that's Breanna's arrival will interfere with their action: "We're in our sexual prime, and that little girl's gonna bust up our flow."
Much of the suggestive interplay takes place in front of Breanna. Unaware Breanna is listening, Flex whispers into the phone to his girlfriend: "When my daughter's in town, my pants aren't down."
Breanna: "I'm behind yo back, and all your pickup lines are wack." In the idiom of this comedy, Breanna is a 14-year-old with attitude.
In most cases, Flex's instincts fall short of paternal. When Breanna frustrates him by hanging around after his new girlfriend shows up, he tells her: "You know what a buddy would do for a buddy who got a date? She just go!"
Just going is an appealing option. "Amos 'n' Andy" is looking better and better.
"One on One" premieres tonight at 8:30. The network has rated it TV-PG (may be unsuitable for young children).
An Article from People Magazine
October 06, 2003 12:00 PM
The green fairways and swaying palms of the Valencia Country Club in Southern California look like a swath of heaven to One On One star Flex Alexander. “It’s a long way from The Bronx,” says the former crack dealer as he hits a ball toward the 18th green. “A long way.”
His odyssey began on the streets of New York City, where, at 15, a gun-toting Alexander sold drugs. Scared straight at 18, he turned a talent for break dancing and stand-up comedy into a Hollywood success story. As creator, star and producer of UPN’s One, one of the highest rated sitcoms among African-American viewers, Alexander, 33, is getting high marks from critics for his socially conscious show. On one episode, inspired by his brother Dwayne, who died of AIDS in 1997, Alexander’s single-dad character was tested for HIV before getting serious with a new girlfriend. “Bill Cosby showed a father who was a married man who cared for his family,” says actress Vivica A. Fox, a longtime friend. “Flex’s show portrays a single father in a positive light, and it is refreshing.”
“I didn’t conceive this show just to be funny, but to show young African-American men that they need to be there for their children,” explains Alexander, a born-again Christian who has an infant daughter with his wife, pop singer Shanice. “I had a drifter as a dad and I know what it is like. To make this show real, I couldn’t make it another Leave It to Beaver.”
And definitely not Father Knows Best. The youngest of four children born to Alethia Knox, 62, and Robert Whitehead, a bass guitarist who died in 1989, Alexander (whose given name is Mark) remembers seeing his father three times in his life. “Papa was a rolling stone,” he says. “He was a guy who was searching, but I don’t think he knew what he was searching for.”
With his mother working three jobs and brother Dwayne hooked on crack, Alexander left home at 15 and became a street hustler, sleeping on subways and selling drugs. “I wanted to be on my own,” he says. “But I know I put my life in jeopardy and I hurt the people I sold drugs to.” In 1988, after a friend was murdered by a rival drug dealer, Alexander himself was nearly killed by another dealer. “He put a gun to my head and began pulling the trigger: click, click, click. It wouldn’t fire,” he says. “I knew then that I really ought to get out of this business.”
He began to make money dancing in New York clubs, where his acrobatic skills earned the 6’4″ break-dancer his nickname. Discovered by Salt-N-Pepa deejay Spinderella, Alexander toured with the group’s dance troupe for three years (and later choreographed for such singers as Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige). Recalls Spinderella: “He was always the comedian”—doing impressions of everyone from Jesse Jackson to Homer Simpson. Encouraged by his pals, he developed a stand-up act. “I killed them,” he says of his 1989 comedy-club debut. “When the crowd went wild, I said, ‘Yeah, I like this.'”
Soon Alexander was performing at top comedy clubs. And after moving to Los Angeles in 1995, he caught the acting bug, appearing in a series of failed pilots, including 1996’s best forgotten Homeboys from Outer Space, before inspiration struck. After seeing LL Cool J in a soft-drink ad, tenderly combing his daughter’s hair, Alexander says, “I thought, ‘That’s a show.'” Hiring a writer, he produced a pilot in 1997. Two years later UPN picked up the show, and it quickly became a hit.
At the same time Alexander’s personal life was clicking: He began dating singer Shanice Wilson, 30′, who lived in his San Fernando Valley apartment building. “He was very respectful and never came on to me,” she recalls of their courtship. “We did hold hands and talk a lot, though. We have a common spirituality.”
So much so that they vowed to remain chaste until their wedding day, in February 2000. “Not too many guys are on the same page about this,” notes Shanice. Daughter Imani, 1, was born a year later. Fatherhood, of course, is a subject dear to his heart. “I want her to have all the things I didn’t have,” says Alexander, who is raising his daughter a long way from The Bronx, in a plush Italian-style villa in Santa Clarita, Calif. “That’s every parent’s dream.”
Frank Swertlow and Monica Rizzo in Los Angeles
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on March 31, 2006
Is The Black Sitcom Dying? -- What the demise of UPN means for shows like ''Everybody Hates Chris'', ''Girlfriends'' and ''Eve''
By Lynette Rice
A couple weeks back, against a montage of mostly white models who looked like they were answering a casting call for J. Crew, Dawn Ostroff, entertainment president of The CW (that new UPN-WB mash-up) proclaimed: ''We will stay in touch with the [minority] market.''
It was a somewhat ironic, bold promise and one the former UPN entertainment chief may have trouble fulfilling. Her old network always featured black actors more prominently than any other broadcaster (see: Girlfriends, One on One, Everybody Hates Chris, and Eve) . But with only 13 hours of primetime programming to fill and 7.5 hours of returning shows virtually locked in there are signs that black-produced and -fronted shows, particularly comedies, may be virtually absent from the CW slate.
''I wouldn't say because of the merger that black sitcoms are dead,'' says Eunetta Boone, the creator and exec producer of UPN's One on One and Cuts. ''But they're definitely dormant.''
And to African-American writers who could be out of a job, it might as well be the same thing. Unfortunately, they've been through this rigmarole before twice. Executives at both Fox (with In Living Color and Roc) and The WB (The Jamie Foxx Show, The Steve Harvey Show) built their nascent networks with shows that catered to African-American audiences. Once they realized the limits this strategy imposed on ratings and profitability, they broadened their programming slate. Only UPN, which never found a breakout program that established another identity like The Simpsons for Fox and Dawson's Creek for The WB remained true to its African-American base.
So why is it a problem that these shows are disappearing? Because aside from gigantic hits like American Idol and CSI, white and black viewing preferences continue to be polarized. Read the ratings list in reverse and you'll get an idea of the top entertainment programs among blacks: Girlfriends (No. 165 overall; No. 3 among black households), All of Us(166; 4), Everybody Hates Chris (146; 5), Half & Half (167; 7), and One on One (170; 11). ''If we lose Half & Half and Girlfriends and end up with more How I Met Your Mothers as successful as that show is it's a great loss,'' says Vic Bulluck, executive director of the NAACP's Hollywood bureau.
It's of even greater concern to black writers, who, generally speaking, are only hired to work on shows that feature largely black casts. (The notable exception is Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of ABC's Grey's Anatomy.) If those shows go away, the thinking goes, so will the jobs. ''When we got the news about the merger, it was a little heartbreaking,'' says Antonia March, a writer on the Fox comedy The Bernie Mac Show, the last remaining sitcom with a black lead on a Big Four network. ''There are, like, five or six black shows. There are going to be some black people out of work.'' March has reason to be concerned herself. Mac's chances of renewal next fall are iffy at best: Because of preemptions and time-period switches, the show doesn't even rate in the top 20 among black audiences.
Ostroff isn't saying which UPN shows will make the CW cut, although sitcoms like Chris, All of Us (executive-produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith), and a Girlfriends spin-off called The Game have been touted as potential pickups for the fall lineup. But so have Smallville, Supernatural, and a handful of shows in development that feature mostly white actors, including an Aquaman adaptation and serialized dramas from Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek) and Aaron Spelling.
''If Dawn goes through with her promise of shows that feature young, multicultural casts, then I feel good about One on One [getting picked up],'' says Boone. Ostroff, who will only say she wants The CW to become ''a melting pot'' and ''an expert on the young generation,'' declined further comment, waiting for the official unveiling of its fall lineup to advertisers on May 18 in New York City. Until then, a Hollywood community waits. And frets.
''I think we've all gone through the five stages of grief with this merger,'' admits Boone. Acceptance, as always, will be the toughest.
WILL UPN'S COMEDIES FADE TO BLACK?
The future of Everybody Hates Chris on The CW is Rock solid; other sitcoms, we think, are on less sure footing
PERCENT CHANCE OF SURVIVAL
70 - GIRLFRIENDS
50 - ALL OF US
20 - EVE
30 - ONE ON ONE
60 - HALF & HALF
10 - CUTS
100 - EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130102114019/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/oneonone.html
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DUbwIC-HHA
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Keywords: One on Cast