Brandon Micheal Hall of CBS' "God Friended Me" on Making an Impact

By TV / Video Download Archives
Cover image for  article: Brandon Micheal Hall of CBS' "God Friended Me" on Making an Impact

When ABC canceled his critically praised but ratings-challenged sitcom The Mayor at the end of 2017 after only 13 episodes, Brandon Micheal Hall found himself at a crossroads in life. Disillusioned, the actor wasn't at all sure what his next move might be.  But that changed when CBS, and God, friended the actor, putting him on a new, albeit initially uncomfortable career path.  In God Friended Me Hall plays a podcasting atheist who is forced to re-evaluate his beliefs after receiving a social media friend request from an entity known only as God.  Turns out going against his actual beliefs was a blessing. "This project came at a time when my faith was lost after The Mayor," Hall told MediaVillage.  "I was disillusioned with the industry.  How does [a network] take an amazing, impactful show and say, 'Now we don't want that?'  Kids would come up to me and say, ‘I want to be like you.  I want to be a mayor.  I have these ambitions.  I see myself represented on the screen.’ The Mayor was impactful.

"[Now] it's a blessing to be working on [another] project that is impactful to the community," he continued.  "I'm excited that young black atheists or Christians or whatever it may be, can come up to me and say, ‘We are having conversations about what religion or spirituality is to me.’"

For Hall, the uncomfortable aspect of embarking on God Friended Me was personal.  Like his character, Miles Finer, Hall was raised in a religious household, which made embodying an outspoken atheist something he had to come to terms with.  "I never take on projects that I don't feel uncomfortable with," he shared.  "Although this was very uncomfortable for me coming from a Christian background.  I don't do projects that aren’t original.  You got Search Party, The Mayor and now this, so the trajectory is longevity.  When I told my mom (who is a preacher) I was playing an atheist she was like, ‘Oh. All right. Enjoy yourself.'

“I didn't fill her in on anything other than I was playing an atheist and I find my own relationship with God,” he explained.  "My grandmother once told me an old southern prayer that says, 'You can only ride on your grandmother's prayers for so long'.  She passed a while back, God rest her soul, but now I'm in the perfect place.  [Starting the series] I was on the other end of the spectrum, while Miles is on this end, so in almost a spiritual way we are balancing."

Hall did indeed land in the perfect place.  Since its September 2018 premiere the show has performed well on Sunday nights (averaging 10 million viewers) and was one of two freshman CBS series (Monday’s The Neighborhood being the other) to be granted an early full-season pick-up and a second season renewal.

"We are really thrilled about Season 2," said executive producer Bryan Wynbrant of the series. "This show is about inclusion, hope, love and the human spirit, and I think it's needed more than ever in the times that we live in.  We're excited to continue to tell these stories."

That's something Hall couldn't agree with more.  "At the end of the day [the show] is about people," he said.  "I wasn't born a Christian.  I was baptized into the church and I often wonder what would've happened if my mom had let me pick which is my own.  She said, ‘This is your opportunity to gain your own relationship.’

“So, what the show has done, and this is a testament to CBS and their diversity in pushing forward, is now we're talking about African-Americans and atheism,” Hall continued.  “We haven't seen that.  It's always African-Americans in the church, preaching in the church and that's been oversaturated in a way.  What if they didn't believe?  We have those feelings and conversations, so let's talk about it. Let's raise awareness.  I have a lot of friends that aren't always in church, so let's have that conversation.  I feel honored to, I guess, and I'm still working it out in my head, if there was [ever] an African-American atheist [on TV]?  This may be a first and that's an honor."

For Hall, the opportunity to make an impact is something he relishes.  "I've had a lot of being at the right place at the right time situations," he offered in closing. "Where three years later someone will hit me up and say, 'Hey, that word of encouragement you gave me, I left Georgia and am in New York now and I'm starring in Hamilton.  It may not be that God friended you on Facebook -- because it's TV we have to make it pop -- but we have all had those moments when you stop and say, 'Did I do that?' Or did something else impact that?’”

God Friended Me is telecast Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Click the social buttons above or below to share this content with your friends and colleagues.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this content are exclusively the views of the author and/or subject(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of, Inc. management or associated writers.



Copyright ©2024 MediaVillage, Inc. All rights reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.