BET+ Nabs 'Birth of Cool' From Macro and Lena Waithe's Hillman Grad

Lena Waithe
Tommaso Boddi/FilmMagic

BET is adding a third original series from Lena Waithe's prolific Hillman Grad Productions, its first just for streaming platform BET+.

Birth of Cool, a half-hour dramedy, is a partnership between Charles D. King's Macro Television Studios and Hillman Grad and was created by writer-director Juel Taylor and scribe Tony Rettenmaier. The pair most recently collaborated on They Cloned Tyrone, the upcoming Macro sci-fi comedy feature starring  John Boyega, Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Parris. Birth of Cool centers around Crispus Attucks High, a predominantly Black school in Los Angeles' Compton neighborhood, and follows the misadventures of both the school's students and teachers as they navigate a year that is both hilarious and sobering.

“We are excited to continue Macro's commitment to excellence in content creation and to be partnered with Juel and Tony and help bring their unique vision to the screen,” said Marta Fernandez Macro Television Studios president, embarking on the young company's first collaboration with BET.  “Along with our partners at BET+, Hillman Grad and Endeavor Content, we passionately support their voices and dedication to telling authentically Black stories.”

Lena Waithe on Hollywood Lessons Learned and Lifting Up Long-Ignored Talent

Hillman Grad president of film and TV Rishi Rajani added: “Our goal at Hillman Grad is to find the next generation of visionary filmmakers who challenge the ways in which we typically represent characters of color on screen. Juel and Tony are exactly that. We’re so excited to have been on this journey with them and can’t wait to introduce the world to the brilliance, humor, and depth of Birth of Cool.

Penning the script together, as they did on They Cloned Tyrone, Taylor and Rettenmaier will serve as executive producers alongside King, Fernandez, Waithe, Rajani, Aaliyah Williams and David Morris. Taylor will also direct the pilot.

BET+ has been bulking up on streaming-exclusive originals, with drama Ruthless and comedies Bigger, First Wives Club and Bruh joining the ever-growing BET library of scripted projects that also get a run on the platform. For her part, Waithe's Hillman Grad also has the TV reimagining of Boomerang and passion project Twenties on BET's linear network.

“BET+ continues to be the home for best-in-class creatives to tell their original stories about the Black experience,” said Devin Griffin, EVP and GM of BET+. “We appreciate Lena’s creative vision and continued trust and are thrilled to partner with a skilled group of creators from MACRO Television Studios and Hillman Grad to bring this series to life.”

Taylor and Rettenmaier are repped by WME and The Gotham Group.