The acclaimed series creator, writer and producer has entered into a network-direct script deal with Fox Entertainment, under which she will develop and write a scripted series to air on the Fox network, with Fox Entertainment producing.
“Mara is a truly gifted writer, with a strong point of view. From ‘Girlfriends’ to ‘The Game’ to ‘Being Mary Jane,’ she’s a proven hitmaker with the unique ability to write both comedy and drama. Since the formation of Fox Entertainment, we’ve said we want to be in business with the best and the brightest, and no one exemplifies that more than Mara Brock Akil,” said Michael Thorn, president of entertainment, Fox Entertainment.
Although Akil is best known for creating such series as the aforementioned “Girlfriends,” “The Game,” “Being Mary Jane” and “Love Is,” she got her start writing on a Fox series (“South Central”) in the 1990s. From there she also went on to work on “Moesha” and “The Jamie Foxx Show” before creating “Girlfriends” in 2000.
“Girlfriends” was one of the highest-rated scripted series among African Americans in the 18-34 demographic during its eight-season run on UPN and then the CW. “The Game” was created as a spinoff of “Girlfriends” in 2006 for the CW, but when the CW canceled it in 2009, BET swooped in to save the show and aired an additional six seasons. Currently, the CW is developing a new version of “The Game.”
“Being Mary Jane” aired on BET from 2013-2019, with the final seasons of that series being worked on simultaneously with “Love Is,” which Akil created for OWN and which aired in 2018, and the CW’s “Black Lightning,” on which Akil is an executive producer.
Akil has also stepped behind the camera to direct a few episodes from her series (“The Game” and “Love Is”). She is repped by attorney Stephen Barnes of Morris Yorn.
This news comes out of Fox’s Television Critics Assn. press tour event. At the most recent one during the summer of 2019, Fox said it would be increasing buys from non 20th Century Fox TV entities during the upcoming development season. While that includes looking to other studios, it also includes deals with specific writers, such as this one.
“We’re being really strategic about looking for smart ways to develop the best content without the extreme overhead that comes with a big studio,” Thorn said at the time.