Tonight, TV Land is airing the 10th Anniversary TV Land Awards where Fox’s In Living Color is recognized with the Groundbreaking Award. But you wouldn’t know from it that Damon Wayans was a part of the iconic sketch comedy series. There were two members of In Living Color‘s core cast who were no-shows at the TV Land Awards ceremony, which took place on April 14 in New York: Jamie Foxx and Damon Wayans. Foxx couldn’t attend because he has been in New Orleans filming Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, in which he plays the title role. The absence of Wayans, who told organizers he was unavailable, was more puzzling.
Wayans, who is credited as co-creator of In Living Color with his brother Keenen Ivory Wayans, was a key In Living Color writer-performer and played some of its most memorable characters. Sources close to the actor say he declined to attend the ceremony “because it just wasn’t his thing.” But while Foxx (as well as every other In Living Color alum) allowed TV Land to use ILC footage on the awards special, Damon Wayans declined the network’s request for permission to use any scenes with him. Clips with Damon were shown at the event but, as a result of his decision, such classics as Men on Film and Homey D. Clown had to be cut out of the TV special.
While he is a member of the Wayans brothers clan, Damon Wayans has largely gone his separate way after he and brother Marlon joined Keenen in his public exit from In Living Color at end of 1992. Damon Wayans has never been a part of Wayans Bros. Entertainment, the company of Keenan, Marlon and Shawn who frequently collaborate together. The only time Keenen and Damon have worked together in the past 20 years was when Keenan made a guest stint in an episode from the first season of Damon’s ABC sitcom My Wife and Kids in 2001. (They have made a handful of joint appearances at events alongside other siblings.) On Fox’s 25th anniversary special last week, In Living Color was represented only by Keenen, Marlon and Shawn. (Damon was featured prominently in the clips used on the special but they’re owned by Fox’s sibling 20th Century Fox, which produced the original series and the upcoming reboot.) The Fox and TV Land Awards In Living Color reunions come as Keenan is working on that In Living Color reboot for Fox, which will premiere as two specials featuring all new cast of young performers. Keenan is hosting and executive producing the reboot, which is being done without Damon’s involvement. That fact as well as long-running speculation about friction between the two oldest Wayans brothers have sparked rumors about a more serious rift between Keenan and Damon. Sources close to the two dismiss any talk of friction between them as “absurd,” claiming that Keenen and Damon have remained close and that Damon was present for some of the editing of the new ILC specials earlier this week. In fact, Damon’s son, Damon Wayans Jr., makes an appearance in the specials, and the actor has a strong relationship with Fox, which cast him as one of the leads of New Girl. But he had to pull out of the series when his other show, ABC’s Happy Endings, was unexpectedly renewed. “They make fight like any family, but nothing gets between the Wayans brothers,” one source from the Wayans bros. camp said.
In addition to Keenen, Shawn and Marlon and their sister Kim, on tap to accept the Groundbreaking Award at the TV Land Awards were ILC co-stars Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier, Tommy Davidson, Kelly Coffield Park and T’Keyah Crystal Keymah as well as former fly girl dancer Carrie Ann Inaba, now a judge on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. Fellow former fly girl Jennifer Lopez did not attend, reportedly citing her duties on another talent reality show, Fox’s American Idol though the TV Land Awards were held over the weekend when there are no Idol tapings.