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Blair Underwood TV Project Update

Blair Underwood. Photo courtesy of IMDB.com.

What’s going on with Blair Underwood’s foster care and social work television project?

SocialWorkersSpeak.org caught up with Rob Woronoff, who is a screenwriter for the project, at the Voice Awards in Los Angeles on Aug. 24. Woronoff had bad news and good news.

The bad news — a major network passed on the project. The good news is that Underwood and his team will continue to pitch the program to other networks, including cable networks that could give them freedom to bring grittier yet more realistic and heartfelt plots to the small screen.

Rob Woronoff

Woronoff,  a former Child Welfare League staffer who studied drama with Underwood at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, also gave us a glimpse of the plot of the proposed TV series.

One of the central characters of the series will be “Derrick Jackson,” a 40-something African American male who was successful in the corporate world but decides he wants a more meaningful career so becomes a social worker helping foster children.

Jackson will go to work for a female licensed clinical social worker who runs a small, non-profit foster care agency.  “Shannan Marsh” has been in the business for 25 years and knows the ropes.

The fresh newcomer and experienced social worker will pool their talents and resources to find good homes for vulnerable foster children. The episodes will be based on true-life incidents in the social work and foster care field.

Woronoff promised to keep us abreast of future developments. We will be checking back with him in weeks and months ahead.

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7 Comments

  1. I have some good stories that would make good episodes! This looks like a very interesting show concept. Exciting!

  2. Great idea….

    Another suggestion is to broaden the vision and address ALL the various situations social workers deal with in society: drugs, teen age pregnancy, homeless, school, clinical, pyscho-social issues, disabilities, developmental delayed, cultural, disabled, geriatics, Alzheimers, hospice, grief, etc. (just to name a few issues.) The subject matter and material is endless and demonstrates America society in the current day. A Boston Legal of sorts: a show that thru the legal system was not afraid to address any topic.

    All the best, Jill

  3. I agree with Jill. I think it’s time that our country move beyond the stereotype of the social worker as foster care worker or child protective services worker. We social workers can be found everywhere on myriad system levels. Social workers work with families, in hospitals, with the homeless and severely mentally ill, policy, program development, etc.

    I think the project provides at least some visibility for the social worker, but it’s the same, stale stereotype. How will our field ever advance if we’re only and always seen as working to protect the rights of children?

  4. Social workers have always had a role in TV and most of the time we were shown in a bad light (removing children from homes or being very judgmental) which is very unfortunate. A true social worker is solutions focused, wants hands on in helping people while working to reunify families. I am so pleased to hear that Blair Underwood is taking on this project. Funny, I was talking with some friends that are also so social workers and said we need a reality show based on the life of social workers and not just the bubble gum and flowers but the transference and countertransference issues social worker experience as well as wanting be hands on with people when you are force to push paper to make the numbers look good. Also maybe a reality show about the children that have aged out of foster care and when they no longer have the State support or no family involvement the social worker who had their case for years is the only consistent thing in their life. Thanks for letting me know this project is out there, I would love to help and get involved.

  5. If there is anything needed to get this program started let me know. I have lots of experence on the subject matter (Foster Care) and I am willing to help this program. Email me if you are interested in my help. I am bilingual with a Masters Degree in Social Work. I have professional experience and personal experience. Perhaps the fact that I have empathy and compassion for this population is an asset.
    My professioanl experience that I am most proud of is when I was able to translate the Foster Parent training from English to Spanish. As a result foster children were place in homes with FP of the same Ethinic back ground. The best Foster Parents at the agency are the ones I trained at the agency.
    I was trained for 6 weeks to become a Senior Case Manager @ Westchester Department of social Services. I have a passion to help this population move forward.
    If you are interested in my participation please contact me at my email address, mirach72003@aol.com.
    Thank you
    Nancy Mirach MSW

  6. This story almost seems like what I am going through when I left my job in 2009 to pursue my career in Social work. My first internship was with young adult transition out of foster care. Soon I will be working for a non-profit to place children in functional homes according to their needs. So if there a prospective you would like to get from a black male in his forties, please contact me.
    cnawillis@yahoo.com
    201-237-9208

    I would love to help, cuz that’s what social workers do

  7. This project has nuances that ring true of my personal life. I come from a wealthy family from India-my father served as a high ranking government official and diplomat. After procuring my first Masters in Political Science ( International Affairs), I realized that serving others in a different capacity would not only be more internally gratifying but perhaps more useful vis a vis assisting the disadvantaged. I returned to school obtained my MSW and have been a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker for the past 15 years, in addition to working for the Governments of DC and Maryland.
    The epitome of being a social worker is the ability to enhance the quality of lives of those we serve–compassionately, ethically, respectfully and with a commitment to our profession.
    I would be honored to assist with this project.
    Please feel free to contact me at bharatyv@msn.com.
    Regards,
    bharaty venkatanarayanan MA., MSW., CSAC.,LICSW.

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