‘The Game’ star Hosea Chanchez: ‘The odds were always against us’

Hosea Chanchez is one of the only actors to appear in all nine seasons of football dramedy “The Game” as well as its revival on Paramount+.

“Wendy Raquel Robinson I are the only two people that have done every single episode of the show from the inception to now,” Chanchez, 40, told The Post on the phone from Atlanta, where he’s currently filming the show.  “It really is a full circle moment for me in growth as an artist and as an actor.” 

Now on Paramount+ (with new episodes out on Thursdays), “The Game” follows a large cast of characters in the world of professional football. Among others, there’s sports agent Tasha Mack (Robinson), her quarterback son Malik Wright (Chanchez), undrafted free agent Jamison Fields (Vaughn Hebron), and new character Colonel Ulysses S. Thatcher (Tim Daly).

Set in Las Vegas (even though it’s filming in Atlanta), the revival follows Tasha through her struggles to balance her family life with her professional life and Malik through mental health issues caused by head trauma due to his football career. 

Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) looking serious in a Season 9 episode of "The Game."
Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) in a Season 9 episode of “The Game.”
©BET/Courtesy Everett Collection

“The biggest arc for Malik is dealing with mental health issues,” said Chanchez. “In today’s time after Covid, everybody understands what mental health is. I’m excited about playing him in this way in these circumstances — because I too have learned a lot about the traumas that we’re all experiencing today.” 

“The Game” originally premiered on the CW in 2006 before that network axed it in 2009 and it moved to BET from 2011-2015, where the Season 4 premiere drew in 7.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched sitcom premiere in cable history.

Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) stands in front of a crowd smiling with his hands in the air.
Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) enjoys life in Las Vegas in the new version of “The Game.”

“We’ve always labeled it as the little engine that could,” said Chanchez. “The odds were always against us, honestly. We were the only show [on the CW] that had an all-Black cast. There was ‘Gossip Girl’ and some other shows there at that time, but we were a fish out of water. We felt hidden a bit. I think we could have done more collectively to make the show more visible. The reason we know that to be true is because after we got cancelled on the CW, we became the highest rated sitcom in cable history. 

“But we never had a clean shot to just go. There was always an obstacle in the way the entire time. I feel like this is the first time we’re not racing uphill. We’re not trying to catch up or prove something. Now, we get an opportunity to just tell a story.”

Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) looks happy while getting a haircut in "The Game."
Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) is living it up in Las Vegas in “The Game” revival.

Although TV revivals are a dime a dozen (others include “Saved By the Bell” on Peacock and “Walker” on The CW), Chanchez said that “The Game” is especially positioned to be relevant today. 

“We’re dealing with the world of the NFL, and what’s more American than football? The players are on the forefront of all of these things that we are experiencing with the fabric of our country. That’s what makes the show so relatable. It’s about the players but also their lives, their wives, and their partners at home.”

Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) with Jamison Fields (Vaughn Hebron) in "The Game."
Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) with Jamison Fields (Vaughn Hebron) in “The Game.”

In addition to staring in the show, Chanchez is also a producer and will also direct at least one episode this season. 

“I’m a really fortunate guy to have this world support my dreams,” he said. “Coming back to it as a producer, director, has really allowed me to grow as an actor and an artist all the way around. Because I built this house and I have a stake in it.” 

source: nypost.com