American Soul, a new scripted drama series about Don Cornelius and his creation of the groundbreaking music and dance show Soul Train, is set to make its anticipated debut.
The series premieres with its first two episodes on Tuesday, February 5, at 9 p.m. ET on BET. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the show live or on-demand on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
BET is included in Philo’s main 43-channel bundle, which is the cheapest among all streaming services if you plan on keeping it long-term.
You can start a free 7-day trial right here, and you can then watch the show live on your computer via the Philo website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Philo app.
If you can’t watch live, Philo also allows you to DVR programs and watch them up to 30 days later. And even if you forget to DVR something, Philo also comes with a 72-hour rewind feature, which allows you to watch any show and episode within three days of its last airing.
BET is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package.
If you can’t watch live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.
DirecTV Now also offers four different channel packages, all of which include BET. You can sign up for a free trial right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the show on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
If you can’t watch live, DirecTV Now includes cloud DVR.
‘American Soul’ Preview
As Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press put it, American Soul is what would happen “if Empire married This Is Us and invited Nashville and the movie Sparkle to the wedding.
The show tells the story of Don Cornelius (played by Sinqua Walls) and his creation of Soul Train, one of the most important shows in the history of television. At a time when African-Americans were relegated to not much more than guest roles on TV shows, Soul Train provided an opportunity for young, talented black artists to take center stage and show off their musical and dance skills.
“The show mattered so much,” said R&B star Kelly Price, who plays the role of Brianne Clarke in the new series. “It was black and not watered down or dumbed down. It was cornrows and bold colors and afros and bell bottoms and stacked shoes. That’s what we wanted. Don presented us in our rawest, uncut, purest forms.”
While the show serves as a Cornelius biopic, it also goes beyond that with fictional elements. Price plays the overprotective mom of Simone (Katlyn Nichol) and Kendall (Jelani Winston), who hope to become famous singers, while Iantha Richardson (This Is Us) plays Tessa, a dance coordinator who experiences disrespect from her superiors.
“My assistant said, ‘Make it ‘Mad Men with music,’” co-creator Devon Greggory said. “That show wasn’t just about Don Draper. That opened up my mind on what this could be.”
Another compelling element, American Soul is home to a number of star artists playing legendary figures in history. Destiny Child’s Kelly Rowland takes on the recurring role as Gladys Knight, while her former colleague Michelle Williams plays Diana Ross. K. Michelle plays Martha Reeves, and Bobby Brown plays Rufus Thomas.
The first season is scheduled for 10 episodes. It’s executive produced by Greggory (who also wrote the pilot), Jonathan Prince and Jesse Collins, while Tony Cornelius–Don’s son–also serves as a co-executive producer