Network makes 'Friends With Black People'
President-elect Barack Obama is already bringing about change — to the world of network TV development, at least.
NBC is developing a comedy based on the book “Making Friends With Black People,” a buddy comedy that will focus on the state of race relations in the U.S.
Show isn’t specifically about Obama’s rise as the nation’s first African-American president — but “Making Friends” hopes to capitalize on how Obama’s success has changed the nation’s dialogue on race.
“From time to time, race bubbles up in the consciousness of the country and then dissipates,” said “Making Friends” author Nick Adams. “Now, with Obama, people are talking about race a lot more. We hope to capitalize on that and not let the dialogue die down. … It seemed like a good opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.”
“The Game” exec producers Mara Brock Akil (who also created “Girlfriends”) and Salim Akil will write the script and serve as exec producers on the project.
“Making Friends” will center on two guys — one African-American and one white — who become close friends, but who don’t necessarily see things the same way.
Universal Media Studios is behind the project, along with Industry Entertainment.
The “Making Friends” book was penned in 2006 by Adams, a standup comic who took a humorous look at how people dance around issues of race.
Adams will serve as a co-producer on the project, while Industry’s Dianne Fraser and Eryn Brown will be co-exec producers.
“Making Friends” could rep the latest in a long line of laffers conceived to reflect, in part, a societal shift in the U.S. In 1982, for example, “Family Ties” bowed in the midst of the country’s move toward a more conservative era under Ronald Reagan. Before that, 1970s sitcoms like “All in the Family” highlighted the nation’s generational culture clash, while “Maude” embraced the women’s movement.