WJBFAll American has been deemed “the flagship franchise” on the CW, according to the president of entertainment at the CW in Variety.

This hit show has touched the hearts of viewing audiences all across the country as it has already received an early season 6 renewal back in January.

Kareem Grimes, who plays Preach on the groundbreaking drama, talks with WJBF about what makes All American the must-see series that has everyone glued to their television or computer screens.

Thank you, Kareem, for joining us today. The first question that we like to start off with is, how did you get into acting?

As a young kid, I was doing extras work; it was something that I wanted to do. I found myself on the set of Boyz-N-The-Hood, and John Singleton singled me out in front of kids and was like, “Yo, I’ma give you some lines. Are you cool with that?” From that point on, that was the spark that I needed to take on this career and take on this path. So big shout out to John Singleton – may he rest in peace – for giving me the opportunity and the shot to live out my dream.

Now, you are currently playing the role of “Preach” on the hit series All American. For anyone who has not seen the show, can you please tell us about the show and the character you portray?

All American is based on a true story: Spencer Paysinger, who was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles and gets the opportunity to go and play in another school district: Beverly Hills. With that, you get both sides as far as the good and bad; there’s both good and bad in South Central and Beverly Hills as far as dealing with friends and location and things of that nature. Now, they are on to college. My character came in on the first season, and my storyline was kind of with Coop, who is played by Bre-Z. I came in as this guy who was really watching her as she was getting into mischief. Their relationship grew because he saw something in her and was kind of trying to steer in another direction because he’s down that route before. Preach is a smart dude; he just made a couple of bad decisions. He definitely means well. Here we are… fast forward, he is now a teacher at South Crenshaw; he’s getting custody back of his daughter. So, you see that aspect of him being a single father, and you see him wanting to be a father to his daughter and wanting to provide for her as well. So, that’s where we are right now with Preach; he’s now a full-time teacher at South Crenshaw and providing for his daughter.

Now, we have to talk about the big game changer that surprised all of us: Billy Baker was killed off the show. So, it was big shock when Taye Diggs made that announcement that he was leaving the show. What was your initial reaction when you read the script and you knew this was happening?

I kind of knew it was happening… Bre-Z and I were just talking, and she was telling me what was going on, and I was just in shock. But at first, I didn’t believe it until the script. But just leading up to it because most of my scenes were with Taye Diggs. Just having conversations with me were “how I enjoy being on set” and the people of that nature. He didn’t really tell me that he was going. It was kind of like an unspoken thing until I did read the script, and I was like, “This is really happening. This thing is really happening.” So, you know, it’s always bittersweet. This is somebody that I grew up watching, and actually had the opportunity of being on camera with him and having scenes with him. So, it was a lot that I learned from him with great conversations, and as you guys see, Taye Diggs is very, very funny, and that’s not just when the cameras on. It was bittersweet, and there were things that I learned. That’s just part of the business. I try not to get into the personal aspect of it. I definitely wish him well. Like I said, the show is amazing. We keep this thing rolling. Thanks to the fans for making this the #1 show on the CW. People really love the characters and what we bring to the show. So, we take what he [Taye] has given us and keep on building on top of that.

All American returns on Monday, March 13th with all new episodes. What can we expect for the rest of the season?

I think just entertainment. I think with the passing of Billy, we kept under wraps, so people were very shocked. So, we want to keep pulling out surprises on this show. I will say this… Daniel Ezra, who plays Spencer, directed this episode coming up. So, that’s all I can tell you. This will be the second episode that he’s directed. This coming episode on Monday is definitely one for the books. I will say that so you definitely don’t want to miss it. It’s definitely going to be entertaining that’s for sure.

How is it as an actor working with your co-star and they’re directing. How is that experience?

I think it’s really interesting, and it’s fun because now the person who was in front of the camera is now behind it. So, with them knowing how we operate as actors, there is a different type of dialogue and set-up because they know what that feels like. So, it’s fun. I think any time I’m able to work with Daniel because we don’t have a lot of scenes together. This was my second time working with him, and Daniel is an amazing director. He definitely brings the best out of all of us. We’re just super excited. We’re such a close-knit family. We just champion for each other in whatever aspect we have happening on the show whether we’re writing or directing. So, we just make sure that we’re behind him or her 110% and make this episode amazing.

What advice can you give someone who wants to break into acting or the entertainment business?

It’s interesting because everybody has a different path. I always tell people to at least get into an acting class to just kind of build a foundation, and that’s just learning about the craft as much as you can. So definitely get into an acting class, and from there on, I’m pretty sure your teacher will definitely help along as far as things that you can do. Now, we have digital everything. So, you can be your own agent; you can direct and put out your own content on your computer or your phone. So, learn the craft and just go for it.

All American airs on Mondays at 8 PM EST on the CW Augusta.