21George Lopez is best known for his eponymous ABC show, where he provided one of the only representations of Latinos in a prime-time sitcom. Named one of “The Top 25 Hispanics in America” by Time in 2005, the comedian recently debuted the trailer for an upcoming sitcom for TV Land, titled Lopez.
Despite a similar title to ABC’s George Lopez, the show will have a very different format. A single-camera production, the show seems closer to Louie than Everybody Loves Raymond, but the trailer makes it clear the show isn’t designed to be nearly as white as those two. Let’s look at how Lopez’s career has evolved to the point where he has become such an icon of Latinos in America.
George Lopez was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, the son of Mexican migrant workers, who abandoned him to be raised by his maternal grandparents in San Fernando.
Los Angeles is the largest radio market in the United States, so when George Lopez was made the host of a morning radio show in 1999, it was a big deal. He was the first person who identifies as Latino to have a morning radio show on an English station in LA. Around this time, he was also performing stand-up around LA, which caught the attention of actress Sandra Bullock.
Bullock approached Lopez, suggesting he produce and star in a comedy. She was concerned by the lack of Hispanic-oriented programming on mainstream American television, and was pushing multiple networks to consider adding something to their programming.
ABC, criticized for decades as the whitest broadcast station, was quick to pick up the show. George Lopez first broadcast on March 27, 2002, produced by Lopez, Bullock, and a team imprint from Warner Brothers. The show followed a traditional studio format for sitcoms, with the plot of each episode mostly focused on the interactions between Lopez and his fictional family.
The show was notable for many reasons, such as using an almost entirely Latino cast. Despite it’s clear representation of a non-white culture, the show was well received by general audiences, despite changing its broadcast time almost every season it aired.
The show was eventually cancelled, with Lopez being told that the show was costing ABC money. Lopez was heavily critical of the cancellation, blaming it largely on the shifting timeslot, which frequently led to it having to compete with shows like American Idol. Others also noticed that ABC renewed several shows which did even worse than George Lopez.
After the cancellation, Lopez tried to focus on the good his popularity had enabled. During the show’s six seasons, Lopez had participated as a celebrity golfer in multiple tournaments for charity. He also founded his own charity, The Ann & George Lopez Foundation, and used his popularity to raise money for victims of multiple international natural disasters. He also integrated his physical health problems into George Lopez, with one of his character’s sons living with a kidney disease similar to Lopez’s own.
Although ABC chose to cancel the sitcom, George Lopez remains in syndication even today, continuing to be the highest rated series on Nick at Nite. In 2007, after the show’s messy end, Lopez was the star and focus on Brown is The New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream. The documentary, produced for a PBS miniseries, examined how media and marketers shape Americans’ perception of Latinos, and how it is used to promote a specific version of the “American Dream.” The film was nominated for an ALMA (American Latino Media Arts) Award in 2008, and won that year’s Imagen Award for Best Televised Documentary.
In November 2009, George Lopez became the host of his own late-night talk show, Lopez Tonight, which aired on TBS. The show did well, but was cancelled after two seasons due to the overhaul of late-night talk shows that occured in the early part of this decade.
From 2011 until 2013, Lopez focused on his humanitarian efforts, continuing to compete in celebrity golf tournaments and working to raise awareness of Latino culture among general American audiences.In 2011, the elementary school George Lopez attended honored his charity efforts by dedicating their new auditorium to him. Lopez has become a hometown hero in San Fernando, after donating to his high school’s baseball team, and distributing Christmas presents to every student at his elementary school.
In 2014, George Lopez became the star of Saint George, a sitcom produced for FX. Network executives were hopeful for the show, guaranteeing a 90-episode order if the first season was well-received. Unfortunately, Saint George failed to hit those numbers, and the show was cancelled after one season.
What is George Lopez Doing Now in 2018
It’s been nine years since George Lopez ended, and let’s just say there hasn’t been much Latino representation on television. Clearly that’s going to change with TV Land’s Lopez, which is set to air on March 30, 2016.
The trailer makes the show’s focus on culture clear from beginning to end, showing two scenes from the upcoming show. In the first, George Lopez is confronted about having “white man problems,” and in the second his agent expresses concern about relatively low ratings among white and Asian audiences. (If you click through to the Youtube video and read the comments, you can confirm these concerns.)
Lopez will serve as one of the executive producers, in addition to Michael Rotenberg from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Troy Miller from Arrested Development, and Silicon Valley‘s John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky. The last two are also set to be writers for the show. TV Land is clearly anticipating the show to be successful, as a full 12-episode season was already ordered.
Lopez will premiere March 30, 2016 on TV Land, airing each Wednesday at 10pm.