The upcoming third season of The Chi won’t feature one of the series’ leads, Jason Mitchell, who was let go in May over allegations of inappropriate behavior.
The abrupt exit after Season 2 already had been finished did not allow for Mitchell’s character, Brandon, to get a proper ending. When asked by Deadline after the network’s TCA executive session, Showtime’s President of Entertainment Gary Levine confirmed that Brandon is being killed off.
“There is a lot of great life in The Chi, and there’s also death in The Chi, and that’s how we’ll be dealing with it,” he said.
During the executive panel, Levine and fellow Showtime President of Entertainment Jana Winograde addressed the allegations against Mitchell and the decision to sever ties with the actor.
As Deadline reported, Mitchell had previously been under scrutiny over an alleged inappropriate behavior situation on The Chi involving a female co-star, Tiffany Boone, which had been resolved with him undergoing training. The new alleged incident, which was off-set, led to his dismissal from the Showtime/Fox 21 TV Studios series The Chi, a Netflix movie he had been cast in, Desperados, and his agency, UTA.
“We were made aware at the time that the allegations were made,” Winograde said. “We are not the lead studio, the lead studio is Fox, but even when we are not lead studio we tend to be involved and were made aware of the allegations. They (Fox 21) conducted thorough investigation. After that investigation, we all made the decision together that it was appropriate at that time to give him some training and guidance on appropriate behavior on set.”
Mitchell’s dismissal comes months after Showtime opted not to renew SMILF following accusations against young creator/star/showrunner Frankie Shaw that had been investigated by that series’ lead studio, ABC Studios/ABC Signature.
“There is a learning curve; one can play it safe and go with the tried and true, but you are never going to get new voices,” Levine said about the controversies affecting two of Showtime’s rising stars. “We are proud of the new voices we have cultivated.”
The issue goes beyond Showtime.
“We are all figuring this out in the industry and trying to put the right support mechanisms in place with more experienced people around them, above, below as needed,” Levine said. “These are delicate situations; we are dealing with young, talented people’s careers. We investigate thoroughly and confidentially and we act appropriately. That series (SMILF) is no longer on air, and Jason is no longer on the show.”
As for the upcoming third season of The Chi, in which creator/executive producer Lena Waithe will have a role, “I think it will be our best ever,” Levine said. “The stories remain incredibly vibrant.”
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