It was just Friday when BET revealed that Kelly Rowland had signed up to star in a comedy pilot exec-produced by The Bernie Mac Show's Warren Hutcherson, and written and co-executive produced by Julian Breece.
Earlier today, the network added to its upcoming slate of original scripted works by greenlighting what Deadline calls "a two-hour backdoor comedy pilot/original movie" starring Daniel Dwayne Simmons, aka Diggy Simmons (son of Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons) that will be executive produced by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, who are already behind 2 other BET products - the hit comedy The Game, and the upcoming drama/comedy series Being Mary Jane, which stars Gabrielle Union.
Currently untitled, the Diggy Simmons project is described as,,,
... a fresh and edgy look at Diggy Simmons, his life as a blogger, and the close group of loyal friends who hold him down on his rise to the top.
The scripted series will reportedly have an Entourage vibe to it, with Allen Maldonado (as Diggy's character's best friend Manny), Teyana Taylor (as Diggy's character's ex-GF), Chris Brew (as Dot, a tech geek, and childhood friend), Bria Murphy (as Manny’s girlfriend), and Stephanie Charles (as Sheri, Dot’s ex-girlfriend), all co-starring.
Salim Akil will direct the film/pilot episode, which will shoot later this year.
Joining the Akils as executive producers are Kenya Baris, Chris Lighty, Laurie Dobbins, and James Dubose.
Obviously, depending on reactions to the pilot movie, BET might pick up the the untitled Diggy Simmons project as a series.
I'm enthusiastic about the continuous push for original scripted content by BET; this is what we've all been asking for over the years, and the effort is clearly being made; so I'd rather get behind them in encouragement, and hope for the best, than continue to criticize.
There hasn't been this much of an investment into original scripted programming at BET since... well... maybe ever! So if you think about it, the last and upcoming season represents what I'd say is a radical shift from where the network was just a few years ago.
I've interviewed both Julian Breece and Kenya Baris in recent years, and I'm pleased to see BET utilizing their talents.
Let's see how the upcoming season eventually shakes out...