The series, which streams on the Urban Movie Channel, stars Rowell as an aging soap star named Kitty Barringer who's trying to make a comeback as Blue Sylla (loosely based on Drucilla, or so it sounds). In addition to classic soap staples, The Rich and the Ruthless also focuses on a lack of diversity in the genre -- something Rowell is no stranger to, having been an active vocalist about the matter since joining Y&R in 1990 and having brought and then settled a lawsuit against the soap's producers on the very subject.
"The lack of diversity behind the camera was never lost on me," Rowell told ABC News. "It inspired me to write two novels [Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva: A Novel and The Young and the Ruthless: Back in the Bubbles] from a black perspective behind-the-scenes."
The result is the industry's only black-owned soap opera, based on the novels Rowell wrote. And it's the only show, according to insiders, that delves deep into important storylines involving black characters.
"Each soap [currently on the major networks] has three to four black characters in play but they never get the strong, meaty stories that their white counterparts get," points out Jamey Giddens, co-founder of the Daytime Confidential web site. "These characters will get serviced, then back-burnered for say, six months."
As such, Rowell has brought in a multicultural cast, including Law & Order alum Richard Brooks, to the "black-owned, black-led and black-streamed" Urban Movie Channel series, and each character gets ample story.
"I am very, very grateful to the fans and the supporters who never stopped encouraging me to create my own content, especially in this genre," Rowell says. "Why shouldn't we have our own content?"
For more information on The Rich and the Ruthless, check out the show's official website here.
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