"Raisin in the Sun" Boosts ABC to Win Monday Night TV Ratings

News   "Raisin in the Sun" Boosts ABC to Win Monday Night TV Ratings ABC's television adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun averaged 12.7 million total viewers over its three-hour run, according to published reports.
Sanaa Lathan, Phylicia Rashad, Sean Combs, Audra McDonald and Justin Martin in the Emmy-nominated
Sanaa Lathan, Phylicia Rashad, Sean Combs, Audra McDonald and Justin Martin in the Emmy-nominated "A Raisin in the Sun." Photo by ABC/Peter Stranks

Audra McDonald, Sean Combs, Sanaa Lathan and Phylicia Rashad starred in the ABC TV event that aired Feb. 25 at 8 PM (ET). The three-hour show helped the network win the night in the ratings. The first hour was bested by NBC's "Deal or No Deal," but the final two hours increased in viewership and won in the 9 and 10 PM timeslots. *

Kenny Leon, who staged the recent Broadway revival, directed his original stars for the ABC-TV movie, which also features Bill Nunn, Ron Cephas Jones, Sean Patrick Thomas and John Stamos.

"The ground-breaking drama portrays a brief period of time in the life of the Younger family as they anxiously await the arrival of a $10,000 life insurance check," reads an ABC release. "Everyone in the family has their own ideas about how they plan to use their new-found wealth and are eager for their new lives to start."

The film features the cast of the 2004 revival, including Combs as Walter Lee Younger, McDonald as Ruth Younger, Rashad as Lena Younger and Lathan as Beneatha Younger. McDonald and Rashad earned Tony Awards for their performances; Lathan was Tony-nominated.

Stamos (Nine, "ER") takes on the role of Karl Lindner, Jones (Gem of the Ocean, Our Lady of 121st Street) appears as Willy, Thomas ("Save the Last Dance," Much Ado About Nothing) plays George and Nunn ("Do the Right Thing," "Spider-Man") reprises his role as Bobo. The ensemble also features Justin Martin (The Lion King) as Travis and David Oyelowo ("The Last King of Scotland") as Asagai.

The three-hour, small-screen version utilizes a script penned by Paris Qualles, based on the original Hansberry play. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (the TV versions of "Cinderella," "Annie" and the films "Hairspray" and "Chicago") produced the work for Sony Pictures. The work made its world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.