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RonReaco Lee Talks About Season 4 of ‘Survivor’s Remorse’
August 20, 2017  | By David Hinckley

When NBA veteran Stephen Jackson volunteered that he loves Survivor’s Remorse, RonReaco Lee (top) figured the show must be getting something right.

Lee plays Reggie Vaughn, cousin and agent of hot young hoops star Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher, top) on Survivor’s Remorse, a nicely nuanced dramedy that launches its fourth season Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Starz.

While shows about sports have a mixed record on television, this one at the very least has an impressive cheerleading section.  

“I was having breakfast with my wife at a restaurant when Stephen came over and said he loves the show,” says Lee. “Then I ran into Grant Hill, and he said the same thing.

“I was hanging out after an Atlanta Hawks game when Dwight Howard told me he wanted to do the show.

“I’m a fan first, so it’s beyond rewarding when people you grew up admiring say they love something you’re a part of.”

Reggie (left) isn’t on the court in Survivor’s Remorse, but he’s essential to the team. He must inject reason into an exuberant and impulsive extended family that has no experience with the kind of fame and fortune Cam’s talent has suddenly showered down on them.

Reggie doesn’t always make perfect decisions, but without him, the Calloway family would make some really, really bad ones.

And yes, it’s a premise ripe for laughs.

“The first scene I read for the show was where Cam wants to put rims on an Aston-Martin,” says Lee. “Reggie is appalled.”

Lee gets uneasy, though, when Survivor’s Remorse is labeled just a comedy.

He notes that Cam’s situation, and the Calloway family’s in general, can often lead to personal and professional situations that are anything but funny – and one of the things Lee likes most about the show is the way it acknowledges that.

“As an actor, it’s great,” says Lee. “I love the range, and I sometimes get frustrated when the show is promoted as comedy. I’m not comfortable being put in a category with someone like Donald Glover, who really is a comedic actor.

“I don’t think a category exists right now for a show like Survivor’s Remorse because we don’t give ‘em comedy in the way they’re used to seeing it.”

Lee knows about traditional sitcoms, having been a regular on the ABC/WB Sister, Sister and BET’s Let’s Stay Together.

“If you do a four-camera sitcom on BET, it’s 13 to 22 weeks of happy,” he says. “Doing Survivor’s Remorse is like 10 weeks of going to war. You never know what you’re going to see in the next script. You might get a four-page monologue, and you know there’s going to be some heavy s--- in there.”

He sees Reggie as a man with the tough job of sometimes telling a hot young star, who is used to having everybody bow in his presence, that off the court Reggie will be calling some of the plays.

“Reggie isn’t a wet blanket,” Lee says. “More like a damp blanket.”

He points to a scene late last season when Reggie tells Jimmy Flaherty (Chris Bauer), owner of the Atlanta team for which Cam plays, that Cam wants a renegotiated contract with a big raise or else he will walk.  

Flaherty replies okay, Cam, maybe I’ll just ship you off to, say, Milwaukee.

It’s a chess match, which Reggie understands and the Calloways do not. All they know is that they rule Atlanta and they have zero interest in relocating to icy Wisconsin.

“It’s a big test for Reggie,” says Lee. “He’s trying to talk the family into going along with this bluff and, typically, the family’s response is we don’t want any part of it. They think he’s screwing up.

“Then when it works out, the family realizes that no matter what they think, he knows what he’s doing.

“And for Reggie, it’s a step in his growth. He learns from his mistakes, and he learns from his successes.”

At the same time, Survivor’s Remorse doesn’t let a victory relieve Reggie of all his own problems. His wife Missy (Teyonah Parris) has felt increasingly shut out from his Cam-focused life, and in the final episode of season three, Reggie had an emotionally draining sit-down with his estranged alcoholic father.

“For the first time, he addresses their lack of a relationship,” says Lee, in the process showing the audience more of the reason Reggie became what he did.

“A 30-minute show has to cover so much real estate that it can’t always get to scenes like that,” says Lee. “But as we have more seasons, the writers have a chance to do that. They’ll test your capabilities.”

The Illinois-born Lee, who turns 41 this month, admits he had a head start on Reggie from his own life.

“The guys I grew up with, they always called me the Reggie of the group,” he says. “I was the one who would say look, we’ve had a lot to drink, let’s not drive. Let’s get a hotel room.

“So Reggie was totally relatable to me. The difference is I wasn’t brokering huge sneaker deals.”

Reggie is, however, and that’s one reason Lee likes the idea that kids who don’t have the talent to become Cam might aspire to the more attainable goal of becoming Reggie.

“When I was young, we didn’t think much about sports agents,” he says. “But that’s changed. You look at someone like Drew Rosenhaus or Rich Paul.”

Or Maverick Carter, an executive producer of Survivor’s Remorse and a business partner who has put together a lot of deals for one of the show’s other executive producers, a guy named LeBron James.

“Being an agent today isn’t just about landing a big contract,” says Lee. “A good agent in a boutique situation can craft a career that includes endorsements, philanthropy, investments, all of it.

“I think it’s coming that kids are going to want to grow up to become Reggie.”

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