HOLLYWOOD — Writer-producer Yvette Lee Bowser (“For Your Love,” “Living Single”) is off to a running start on development for the 2000-01 season, having bagged an hourlong pilot order from the WB network and a half-hour pilot commitment from NBC.
Meanwhile, Bowser’s romantic comedy “For Your Love,” heading into its sophomore season on the WB, is due for a renewed promotional push from the weblet as the show moves to its new Friday 8:30 p.m. timeslot this fall.
Describing “Love” as a “a very funny, very smart show” that keeps getting better and better, WB Network entertainment prexy Susanne Daniels told reporters at the Television Critics Assn. press tour last month to take another look at it. Speaking of Bowser, she said, “I really admire this woman.”
A truly integrated series
Amid the headlines in recent weeks about the lack of minority actors in primetime and the trend toward segregated programming strategies, “For Your Love” stands out as one of a handful of truly integrated comedy series on the air these days. The show revolves around the love lives and friendship of three couples — two black, one white — living in the Chicago area.
Bowser, 34, said she’s wary of efforts to plug minority characters into existing shows in response to the outcry over a fall sked labeled a “whitewash” by NAACP prexy Kweisi Mfume and other civil rights activists.
“I don’t think the problem is going to be solved by peppering in a few black and brown characters. We really need to look not just at the quantity of faces and shows but also the tonal quality of the shows,” said Bowser.
“And when people do start to integrate their shows, maybe they should look around at our country. (Minority characters) shouldn’t always be relegated to the goofy sidekick or the sassy secretary,” she said. “We’ve seen that over and over again.”
Bowser, whose SisterLee Prods. is based at Warner Bros., earned her place in showbiz history as the first woman of color to create and produce a primetime hit, “Living Single,” which ended its four-year run on Fox in 1997.
“The Miseducation of Piper Fein,” Bowser’s next project for the WB, promises to feature an ethnically diverse cast as the show will be an autobiographical portrait of her multicultural upbringing in Los Angeles. Bowser is of white and black parentage and was raised by her white mother and Japanese stepfather.
“This show is so hyper multicultural that people may think it had something do with some network agenda,” Bowser said, stressing that the project has been in the works on and off for the past three years.
The NBC project is still early on in the development stage, and Bowser declined to offer a premise.
Although Bowser has worked elements of her own life into “Living Single” and “For Your Love,” the upcoming “Piper Fein” for the WB promises to be her most “deeply personal” work yet.
The show revolves around a woman who wakes up one day at age 33 and “realizes that life is not at all what she imagined it would be,” Bowser said. Flashback sequences will show Piper at 15 and sometimes younger. Bowser’s aim is to show that childhood experiences often dictate how people live their lives as adults.
“It will really speak to a very common dilemma of Generation X. We’ve got a lot of high-powered women who are failing to find true happiness and rewarding, loving relationships,” Bowser said. “It also speaks to the first generation of adults who were raised as latchkey kids. I think a lot of people will be able to plug into it from some different angle.”