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As a comedienne with experience on Broadway, Sherri Shepherd knows a little something about performing live.

So it’s only fitting that she fall back on those times as she returns to “The Soul Man,” which kicks off its fourth season Wednesday (March 18) with a live episode. According to Shepherd, she’s in good company as her castmates have also earned their stripes going live.

“We’ve all, Niecy [Nash], Cedric [the Entertainer], me, we’ve all done stand up comedy live. I’ve done Broadway. We got Wesley Jonathan, Mr. [John] Beasley. They’ve done theater. So we’re used to doing stuff live,” Shepherd told EURweb.

While she’s comfortable with the live aspect, Shepherd admits being a bit nervous about the upcoming “The Soul Man” episode.

“I do have to say it is a little bit nerve-wracking because it’s a lot of lines and there’s no do overs,” she shared. “So I think if you weren’t nervous, you should be a little scared. We’re a little nervous, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Shepherd’s return to “The Soul Man” comes after she debuted as Rev. Boyce (Cedric) “The Voice” Ballantine’s cousin Nikki in the show’s first season. This time around, the character will be more of a fixture as she finds herself in the same city as Boyce.

“I’m coming back to actually live in the same city and work with Boyce at the church. So I was really honored when they asked me to come back. I’ve known Niecy and Cedric for over 15 years so it is really just pure joy to work with my friends,” said Shepherd, who relished the chance to play Nikki again as part of the show’s cast.

“It’s really fun. I love playing Nikki because she’s very irreverent. She doesn’t care. Her and Boyce get on each other’s nerves but they’re cousins so they do love each other and the hijinks and shenanigans we get involved in are just very, very funny. I love playing this girl because she keeps a smile on my face with all the trouble she gets into.”

As the small screen embraces more diversity in programming, Shepherd applauds the action as a positive while noting how the increased presence of black female entertainers showcases the opportunity for them to showcase their talent and ability tackle meatier roles.

“I’m loving seeing my sisters on TV. I’m loving seeing more black people on TV. But not only that, I’m loving the fact that these women are getting more than a few lines and then they exit the show. I love that they’re getting roles that they can sink they’re teeth into, that we are getting to see these women, with all of their flaws and imperfections,” she stated. “And I love that more than black people are watching these people. The people I bought my house from in New Jersey, they are full on Italians…They are addicted to ‘Scandal’ and ‘Empire.’ I love that. It is not just about their color. They are involved in the story lines.

“And that is what I love. People are watching ‘Black-ish’ and they’re not just black people. So I love it,” Shepherd continued “They’re just writing good stories and you have these wonderful actors and actresses who are able to sink their teeth into some stuff and now they get to show what they’re made of.

Regarding whether the diversity surge has been long overdue, Shepherd stated that while she thinks, “it’s been long overdue,” the situation is now is “one where its like I don’t know if networks were so much behind it.

“I think it took off and it just was like ‘Oh shoot. This has taken off do now we got to do this. Oh wow. This has taken off. So now because it’s taken off they’re seeing the viability of our dollars and now they’re creating more opportunities,” the former daytime TV fixture said while dropping clues of a new avenue networks can take while capitalizing on the trend.

“Now we need another black talk show host. Hello! Hint, hint, hint, hint.”

The season premiere of “The Soul Man” will air live at 10:30PM ET/PT Wednesday on TV Land.

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(Photo Source: Sherri Shepherd Instagram)

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