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TV One network focuses on missing blacks

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The Washington Times
David Bauder
January 14, 2012

PASADENA, CALIF. (AP) – After 16 years playing a police lieutenant on “Law & Order,” actress S. Epatha Merkerson is turning to some real-life crime stories.

Merkerson is the narrator for “Find Our Missing,” a series that debuts Jan. 18 on the TV One network. It tells stories about black Americans who are missing, hoping to turn up clues that can solve some of the cases.

The series was born out of a pervasive feeling among many blacks that their missing-person cases don’t get as much attention as missing-person cases involving whites, particularly attractive young white women.

“The local and regional press does a good job,” Wonya Lucas, president and CEO of the cable network aimed at black viewers, said Saturday. “The national press doesn’t really cover these stories to the extent that they should, and that’s a void that TV One will now fill.”

Each hour focuses on two separate cases. Besides Merkerson’s narration, producers fill time by re-enacting some scenes with professional actors.

Two people missing since 2009 are featured in the first episode: Pamela Butler, an employee of the Environmental Protection Agency who disappeared from her Washington, D.C., home; and Hasanni Campbell, a 5-year-old boy with cerebral palsy from Oakland, Calif.

“We are painfully aware that these are not just stories,” said Donna Wilson, executive producer of the series. “These are people’s lives.”

Photo credit: The Washington Times

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