BET's 'Soul Train'-Inspired Scripted Drama Adds 5 Regulars Including Jelani Winston, Iantha Richardson And Christopher Jefferson

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September 11th 2018

American Soul continues to fill out its cast.

Joining series lead Sinqua Walls as Don Cornelius, five more series regulars have been added, including Jason Dirden, Iantha Richardson, Christopher Jefferson, Katlyn Nichol and Jelani Winston.

American Soul, inspired by the personal trials and professional successes of young, ambitious and troubled impresario Don Cornelius, offers a 10-episode dramatic and unflinching look at the entrepreneur, his Soul Train dancers, crew and musicians in a cutthroat Hollywood in the 1970s and how they work, play, rise and fall against the backdrop of the show most responsible for the way the world perceived African-American culture. Jesse Collins, Jonathan Prince and Devon Greggory executive produce. Don's son, Tony Cornelius, will co-executive produce alongside Andy Horne. Greggory will pen the pilot, and Jesse Collins Entertainment will produce.

Dirden, who has appeared on Greenleaf, plays Gerald Aims, “an established gangster and club owner who hasn’t lost the hustle. Aims becomes Don Cornelius’ close associate – perhaps his only friend – introducing Don to the decadent world of LA."

Richardson, who appears as Adult Tess on This Is Us and is set to recur in the upcoming The Fosters spinoff, is Tessa Lauren, “the fearless dance coordinator for Soul Train.

Jefferson, a former Vine star who has since appeared on SWAT and Black-ish will portray Julius “JT” Tucker, “a natural-born music producer who can play everything from Bootsie to Bach, and holds his own in rising music trio with Simone and Kendall. But his complicated home life may threaten his musical aspirations."

Nichol, a singer once signed Mary J. Blige's Island Def Jam imprint, Matriarch, will play Simone Clarke in her first major acting role. “Enormously talented and ambitious, Simone is a wide-eyed dream-chaser who’s bound and determined to find fame in the world of music. She’s the driving force in music trio, Encore, with her brother, Kendall, and JT. Luckily this young star has everything it takes to make her dreams reality, but may not be ready for the heavy price of success."

Winston, a relative newcomer and a 2017 Shuler Award recipient (and also the older brother of Jahi Winston), is Kendall Clarke. “Growing up as the lone son of a military man, Kendall is a teenaged dad toeing the line between being a player and the responsibilities of adulthood. A true talent, with mad dancing skills and a powerful voice, Kendall finds himself longing for success as part of music trio Encore, but growing jealous of his sister, Simone, as she gets everything he wants."

A premiere date has not been set yet.

The series was announced as a part of a new 2018-19 programming slate for the network featuring several new scripted projects.

Deadline first reported this casting news.

by Trey Mangum on September 11th 2018
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