Creator of local TV show celebrates its debut on Amazon Prime

Celebrating local television: From left, Athena Johnson and Colette Ellis, a panelista on “Brooklyn Savvy,” celebrated the program’s move to Amazon Prime Video at a bash at Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Billie Holiday Theatre on Oct. 30.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

She’s ready for Prime time!

The creator and host of a talk show produced in Kings County will debut the program on digital-streaming service Amazon Prime Video this month, and celebrated the series’ arrival on the platform with pols and local leaders at Tuesday bash in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Crown Heights resident Antonia Yuille Williams — whose “Brooklyn Savvy” series currently airs elsewhere online and on city-operated television station WNYE, or channel 25 — said the current-events-focused program’s Nov. 15 debut on Amazon’s streaming website will help it reach more viewers in the borough and beyond.

“It broadens our audience,” Williams said. “It’s New York centric, but now people in California might watch it.”

Pols including Bedford-Stuyvesant Councilman Robert Cornegy joined cultural leaders such as the executive director of do-good creative group the Brooklyn Arts Council — where Williams serves as chairwoman — to toast the local television luminary at Fulton Street’s Billie Holiday Theatre, where around 100 well-wishers came out to celebrate the show and its new distribution scheme.

The head honcho of the borough-based Black and Latino Filmmakers Coalition hosted the event — and helped Williams secure the deal to bring two seasons of her show to Amazon, she said, after the cinema organization honored her with an award for “Best Unscripted Televsion Series” at its Black and Latino Film Awards in April.

“He really fell in love with the content,” Williams said of the film group’s head honcho Babatunde Odesanya.

Williams called her series a mix between ABC’s daytime talk show “The View” and television-journalist Melissa Harris-Perry’s eponymous MSNBC program, which Harris-Perry stopped taping in 2016.

Each episode features conversations between the host; a different guest whom Williams described as an expert in his or her field, such as Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D–Manhattan), who will appear on a future intallment; and a rotating group of co-hosts she calls “panelistas,” whom she selects based on episodes’ topics, which have included issues related to estate planning, social justice, criminalization of poverty, voting, and relationships, she said.

“It’s very diverse, and appeals to wide audience,” Williams said. “We aim to inform, inspire, and activate the viewer.”

“Brooklyn Savvy” is funded in part by cash from some corporations, according to its creator, who said she ponies up some of her own cash for the series, episodes of which are filmed on location.

Those without television who don’t subscribe to Amazon’s Prime service can catch the program on website Vimeo, and on www.brooklynsavvy.tv, Williams said.

Growing her audience: Crown Heights resident and creator and host of “Brooklyn Savvy,” Antonia Yullie Williams, was all smiles at the bash to celebrate her series’ forthcoming debut on Amazon Prime Video.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

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