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Banished show returns to Houston airwaves

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

It was banished from television decades ago for its racist depiction of African Americans, but the TV show "Amos N Andy" is back on the air, here in Houston.

It is broadcast every weeknight by the Rejoice TV Network on digital channel 43.4. The station bills itself as positive, family-friendly programming for Houston's black community.

And its owners say "Amos N Andy" has gotten a bad rap as being behind the times. But as the first broadcast network show featuring an all-black cast, said Crystal Dillard, it was in some ways ahead of its time.

"Absolutely every situation, at the end of that show, there's a moral to that story," explained Dillard, who runs Rejoice TV along with her sister Kim.

The two debated long and hard before putting "Amos N Andy" on their station, since the TV show was a direct descendant of the popular - but blatantly racist - radio show in which black characters were portrayed by white actors.

In the end, they decided the show's stereotypes were outweighed by its depiction of pre-integration black America.

"We saw black doctors and judges and lawyers and police officers," said Kim Dillard.

While they understand why the show came under fire when it originally aired between 1951 and 1953, the sisters say times have changed. And so has the portrayal of black life.

"For every basketball wife out there, there's an Oprah," said Kim Dillard. "For every Flavor Flav, there's a Barack Obama."

The Dillards say "Amos N Andy" is the most popular show on Rejoice TV and they've never gotten a single complaint about it.

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