Showtime’s president of programming Gary Levine boasted about the show’s great critical and audience reception: “From viewers and critics alike, the response to The Chi has been so enthusiastic from the very start that our decision to renew the series was an easy one.” According to Deadline, the ratings for the fourth episode were 41 percent higher than the premiere’s. “We love the vibrant characters and the nuanced world that Lena has created,” Levine continued. “Her vision for The Chi has clearly struck a chord, and we know she has many more moving, personal and resonant stories to tell about her beloved hometown.”
The Chi comes from Lena Waithe, a Chatham native who recently won an Emmy for her work on Master Of None. The series offers an all-too-rare glimpse into life in an underserved neighborhood, which is a far cry from the glossier depictions of the Second City we usually see in pop culture. But it also doesn’t reduce its characters to appearances on a police blotter—under Waithe and her co-EP Common’s guidance, The Chi examines the characters’ motivations and dreams, the latter of which the show acknowledges are too often thwarted. The show also has a stellar cast that includes Jason Mitchell, Sonja Sohns, and Alex Hibbert. And though the first season has struggled with its many storylines, it’s definitely ambitious.
There’s no word on a production date for season two, but Hannibal alum Ayanna Floyd Davis is taking over for Elwood Reid, who co-executive produced season one, as showrunner.