All American | Wednesday, 9 p.m., The CW
It’s a circuitous route from the stadium playing fields to the TV studio control room but Robbie Rogers, who played professional soccer for 10 years, is now a producer on The CW’s “All American.”
Rogers met Spencer Paysinger, a former NFL player, through a mutual friend and helped bring his story to the attention of Greg Berlanti, Rogers’s husband and the most prolific scripted TV producer of all-time, with 15 current shows to his name. Among that group, Paysinger’s own story is closer to the grit of “Black Lightning” than the campy histrionics of “Riverdale.” On “All American,” his name has been changed to Spencer James, a rising star at Crenshaw High in South Central, LA. He is recruited by a coach at a Beverly Hills high school, transfers and then encounters enough class conflict and racism to fill two Spike Lee movies.
Rogers, 31, spoke to The Post about his role on the show from the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
What made you transition into this completely different life?
About four years ago, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron came to me with an idea for a half-hour comedy. We worked on this project that turned out to be about this gay man in sports. I loved the process. Working with writers, working on the [unsold] pilot.
Did you know Greg Berlanti at that point?
Greg and I were dating. We started working on things, developing others. We optioned a book. Ron Nyswaner wrote a script for us. I was introduced to Spencer through my friend Dane Morck. And we sat down and started talking about sports. Injuries and pre-season. That kind of stuff. Spencer started talking about commuting in high school between Beverly Hills and South Central. And being an outsider — both in Beverly Hills and when he went back to South Central — that I very much related to being a gay man in sports.
Did you go to South Central with Spencer?
Yeah, we did. There’s a stereotype of South Central being dangerous and from my experience it felt very friendly. People stop when we’re shooting in Venice Park and ask what we’re doing and talk about their experiences. It’s much different than what I thought it would be growing up in Palos Verdes. Of course there are a lot of gangs in LA. There’s a huge drug problem. Spending time in South Central I’ve also seen the people side of it.
Let’s discuss your duties on the show. How many producers are there?
There’s Greg, April [Blair], Rob [Hardy] and Sarah [Schechter]. Greg’s very much helping break stories and give notes in that way. When we have an emergency, we definitely go to Greg. If we need help casting something he’s the master of that kind of stuff. I help April whenever I can. I give little story pitches because I was an athlete. I try to speak to stuff I’m familiar with. So I try to go where I’m needed.
What is it like working with the young actors on the show?
We’re very lucky to have such an amazing cast. The casting process was exciting because you fall in love with people, and then it’s scary because you want to get the deal done. It’s very competitive out there. Working with a young cast is very exciting because they all love each other and I hope it stays that way forever.
Are there going to be any gay characters on “All American”?
I can’t say “yes” for sure. But I will be pushing for that. And April will be discussing that.
And here’s what else to watch this week:
God Friended Me | Sunday, 8 p.m., CBS
Miles (Brandon Micheal Hall) gets the opportunity of a lifetime when a satellite radio company wants to put his podcast on the air, and the God Facebook account suggests that he befriend a single mother. Meanwhile, Cara (Violett Beane) tries to build a relationship with her estranged mother.
The Haunting of Hill House | Friday, Netflix
Series premiere: Shirley Jackson may have died in 1965 but her renaissance continues with this adaptation of her classic novella about siblings who return to the haunted house they grew up in.
Manifest | Monday, 10 p.m., NBC
Ben (Josh Dallas) and Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) investigate a shocking murder, fearing that it’s connected to Flight 828.
New Amsterdam | Tuesday, 10 p.m., NBC
Dr. Max (Ryan Eggold,) helps find a solution for a patient in a tough spot, while continuing to act on his diagnosis.
Shark Tank | Sunday, 10 p.m., ABC
Season premiere. Entrepreneurs from Santa Fe, NM, and LA, have created an alternative to plastic straws and want Barbara Corcoran and the other sharks to suck responsibly.
The Romanoffs | Friday, Amazon
Series premiere. Imperious Paris recluse Madame Anushka (Marthe Keller) claims to be related to Russia’s Romanoffs. Madame’s American nephew Greg (Aaron Eckhart) tries to keep her happy; he hopes to inherit her apartment. Then Madame meets her match in nursing student and caretaker Hajar (Ines Melab), who endures racist remarks while giving her what she has wanted all along: company. Which prompts Madame to change her will.
Riverdale | Wednesday, 8 p.m., The CW
Season premiere. As the jury begins deliberations in his murder trial, Archie (K.J. Apa) makes a surprising request. Veronica (Camila Mendes) pleads with Hiram (Mark Consuelos) to step in and help him before a verdict is announced.