From The Young And the Restless To The Rich And The Ruthless
Ursula V. Battle | 9/20/2019, 6 a.m.
Victoria Rowell Continues Soap Success While Opening Doors of Opportunity
Bringing more meltdowns, mischief and masterful manipulation, Victoria Rowell’s Daytime Emmy nominated soap opera comedy series “The Rich and the Ruthless” returned for a third season on UMC (Urban Movie Channel). Season Three of the series followed the cast as they prepared for their “Destination: Nowhere” cruise to thank their loyal soap fans with some exclusive, over-the-top entertainment.
But with Rowell, who portrays “Kitty Barringer” and her husband “Augustus Barringer,” played by Richard Brooks at the helm, and their crew of eccentric cast members, the claws were back, and calamity on the high seas was inevitable.
The series stars Rowell— best known for her role as “Drucilla Winters” on The Young and The Restless. Rowell also executive produced Season Three along with Sarah Snow in association with Days Ferry Productions, LLC.
“The Rich and the Ruthless” is a behind-the-scenes soap opera that follows the fictional story of the first run daytime drama in the industry.
“Everyone knows me as Drucilla, and I never took that footprint for granted,” said Rowell. “The legacy of soup opera is incredible, and our fans are loyal. No matter what I did, that character was strong. However, in my role as an executive director, I have been able to collaborate with black writers who I knew and had not been given parody in daytime drama.
“I have been ready for this moment for a long time. Writing rooms are still 60 percent white males. Robert L. Johnson has given me creative license. In my role, I have been able to hire department heads to do hair and makeup. This is also part of being a producer. I am also able to hire qualified people who have been denied an opportunity for decades. I am able to bring forth talent and original content that deserves to be seen and heard.”
Rowell was referring to Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). Johnson owns RLJ Entertainment Inc., who launched UMC, the first and largest subscription streaming service dedicated to Black film and television.
Just before the release of its second season in 2018, “The Rich and the Ruthless” received a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama Series for Brooks’ performance, along with seven Indie Series Award (ISA) nominations, taking home the win for Best Ensemble cast in a comedy series. Earlier this year at the 2019 ISAs, the series won the award for Best Ensemble Cast in a Comedy Series for the second year in a row, and the show’s Alesha Renee won Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
“I always knew there was an African-American female audience out there, and I wanted to cater to that audience,” said Rowell.
Rowell played “Drucilla Winters” on “The Young and The Restless” for 14 years and won a Daytime Emmy for her performance on the show, but spoke candidly about what she felt was the lack of opportunities being offered to minorities.
“There are zero African American producers and zero executive producers on the Young and the Restless in decades of existence,” said Rowell. “When you look at those numbers it’s unconscionable. I spoke broadly about it, and went to court about it.”
Rowell was referencing a lawsuit she filed against Sony Entertainment and CBS Corporation in 2015 for harassment and discrimination. The case was settled out of court.
“It was a good fight and a necessary fight,” said Rowell. “All of those things inspired me to create The Rich and the Ruthless. I saw the disparity. I also saw the loss of careers and revenues of people who lost their careers. We forced Sony to hire the first black writer in the show’s 37-year mark.”
Rowell is the author of a New York Times bestseller The Woman Who Raised Me.
“I also star in Lifetime’s Pride and Prejudice Atlanta,” said Rowell. “I’m involved in quite a few projects, and my plate has been very full. I am very grateful. With all of that comes responsibility, and is a part of my legacy.”
The cast of “The Rich and the Ruthless” also includes Dawnn Lewis (A Different World), Robert Ri’chard (Coach Carter), Michael Colyar (The Princess and the Frog), and Valencia Algarin (Black Jesus).
“We have such a wonderful cast,” said Rowell. “It‘s thrilling to have a hit show on a black-founded, streaming company. How fitting that Robert Johnson would give me the opportunity to present original content like The Rich and the Ruthless.”
She added, “The Rich and the Ruthless is his first original series and most watched. I am very proud. This is a great time for black females.”
For more information about the show, visit: www.therichandtheruthless.com