Courtney B. Vance Drama ’61st Street’ Picked Up by The CW After Being Dropped by AMC


The CW has picked up both seasons of the Courtney B. Vance and Aunjanue Ellis-led drama 61st Street, four months after AMC Networks canceled the series in January.

The dramatic thriller was originally ordered as a two-season pickup with both seasons being shot simultaneously. But only its freshman installment aired in its entirety on AMC last spring. With the CW pickup, season 1 will air this fall followed by season 2 making its debut in 2024.

The hard-hitting drama tells the story of Moses Johnson (Tosin Cole), a promising Black high school athlete who is swept up into the infamously corrupt Chicago criminal justice system. Taken by the police as a supposed gang member, he finds himself in the eye of the storm as cops and prosecutors seek revenge for the death of an officer during a drug bust gone wrong. The series dives deep into the dark heart of the infamous Chicago criminal justice system as the death of an officer threatens to unravel the police department’s code of silence.

From Peter Moffat, J. David Shanks and Outlier Society, 61st Street features Vance and Ellis as Franklin and Martha Roberts, respectively, alongside Mark O’Brien, Holt McCallany, Tosin Cole, Andrene Ward-Hammond and Bentley Green.

“There was a lot of love and hard work that went into making 61st Street,” Vance said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that The CW has enthusiastically given all 16 episodes of 61ST STREET a network home. With The CW, I’m confident that we will engage a universe of viewers who will celebrate the series with us. My cast, crew and I can’t wait!”

The pickup marks the first of a U.S.-made scripted series for the new CW regime.

61st Street is a gripping, star-studded premium drama led by a powerhouse performance from Courtney B. Vance and featuring an incredibly talented ensemble cast and creatively brilliant team of producers,” Schwartz shared. “We are proud The CW is now the broadcast home of 61ST STREET and cannot wait to introduce this series to a whole new audience.”

ET previously spoke with Vance about his role in the drama, which he shared was particularly affecting to him as a father of Black children. 

“As an honest man, you get to see how broken the system is for beige, brown and Black [folks]. It just doesn’t work. We have to have those talks with our children about encounters with the police, you know? And people will see in this series, eventually, I cross-examine the lieutenant on this show and I ask him, ‘Have you had that talk with your children? Your sons?’ And he said, no. I asked, why not? He said, ‘It’s not necessary,'” Vance recalled.

“There it is, right there. That we have to, in 2022, still have to have the talk,” the actor added. “‘Cause, the issues are still the same as they were when I was growing up, when my father was growing up [and] my grandfather was growing up. The police can do what they want and there’s no excuse.”

The actor shared that although he believes there are “great policemen and women” who do their job, he feels that nothing can be changed until “a trust can be built.” 

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