'Single Ladies' returns for third season in January

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VH1’s hit show Singles Ladies is back, with the third season premiering early next year on January 6.

The popular, scripted hour-long TV series, which has amassed a loyal following, promises more shenanigans and goings on in the lives of best friends Keisha, Raquel and April.

Set and shot in Atlanta, Single Ladies is one of the few television shows with leading African-American characters, without an exclusively black cast.

And with the recent buzz over the upcoming season, theGrio’s Kunbi Tinuoye caught up with the cast on set in Atlanta to find out what the forthcoming dramedy has to offer.

Actress LisaRaye McCoy, who plays Keisha, says this time around her character is more “vulnerable” as her relationship with Malcolm, (D.B. Woodside), stabilizes.

“She’s in love, there’s no back and forth,” says McCoy. “She’s got her man and her man’s got her and they’re happy.”

Though, unsurprisingly, domestic bliss does not last forever. Their union is threatened by sudden tragedy, a mysterious woman named Naomi  (Lesley-Ann Brandt), and other unexpected secrets.

“He’s keeping secrets from me, deep and dark secrets,” says McCoy. “As a woman you know how you get that intuition.”

“I feel it but he’s not being honest,” she adds. “She’s supporting him but something just blows up.”

In the new season, Raquel, played by actress-model Denise Vasi, refocuses on her boutique.

“She’s going to decide that I need to focus on my career and with that is going to come a lot of challenges with her and her store,” says Vasi. “Now we’re going to see trials and tribulations about what it is to be a store owner.”

But the quest for love and meaningful personal relationships continues to be a central theme on the show.

“Along the way she’s going to meet a few men who might want to trip her up, of course,” says Vasi. “And which man is she going to entertain, the one who might be quote, unquote, right for her or the one she’s passionate about.”

Still, in real life Vasi is excited to talk about officially being off the market. She tied the knot with her long-term boyfriend, video director Anthony Mandler, on Oct. 12, 2013. “I’m over the moon, so excited. He’s a talented, genius man.”

April (Charity Shea) is also on the move. In a mayor story arc she secures an opportunity of a lifetime working for one of Atlanta’s most powerful music managers, Felicia Price, played by former Destiny’s Child singer LeToya Luckett.

The singer-actress has landed a recurring role. Talking about her character Luckett says, “she’s a ‘don’t take no stuff’ kind of exec. Her name is Felicia Price and she runs a company by the name of Price Management.”

“She expects the best, she’s a little hard on them, she’s actually super hard on them. I try to bring that comedic side as well. She’s a lot of fun to play because she’s very different from my character.”

Set in the world of fashion, music and celebrity, Single Ladies has gone through significant change.  There was the unexpected departure of Clueless actress Stacey Dash and then Stacey A. Littlejohn, the creator and head writer, stepped down at the end of season two.

Woodside says the new team of writers is doing a great job. “This season we have probably finally found our groove,” he says.

He says that it generally takes time for television shows to develop but by the third season “you really find out your personality.” He adds, “this season we’ve really figured out who and what we are.”

“The new writer Dayna [Lynne North] is absolutely fabulous and unbelievably talented. She’s been able to not only transition very nicely in what Stacey was able to do but she’s been able to build on that and make the characters, I feel, a lot deeper.”

“We had to adjust to the writers switch, new scripts, to make sure it maintained the characters that we’d already developed, still answering the questions from last season,” says Travis Winfrey aka Omar. “They’ve done a good job.”

“In the show in general you can expect a lot of change,” says Winfrey. “We’re stepping outside the shop a lot more and interacting with different circles of people.”

“So there [are] a lot of new guest stars coming on. Expect the Keisha, Raquel and April and Omar clique to be broken up and separated. We get to explore new worlds, new sets, a lot of new storylines.”

Damien Dante Wayans  also joins Single Ladies as a new supporting cast member.

Single Ladies premieres on VH1 on January 6 at 9PM ET/PT

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti