4:30pm PT by Kate Stanhope, Lesley Goldberg
HBO Gives Series Order to Comedy From YouTube Star Issa Rae
Issa Rae is bringing her misadventures to HBO.
Insecure, the YouTube star's comedy pilot, has been picked up to series at the pay cabler, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The half-hour comedy examines the friendship of two modern-day African-American women and their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.
Rae stars as Issa Dee opposite Yvonne Orji (Love That Girl!), who will play Issa's best friend, Molly. Although she is very successful professionally in the corporate world, Molly is not so successful in her love life.
Jay Ellis (The Game) also stars as Lawrence, Issa's depressed and unemployed boyfriend who has been trying to get his act together for the past four years. Lisa Joyce (Boardwalk Empire) rounds out the ensemble as Frieda, Issa's liberal and empathetic co-worker at an educational non-profit firm.
Prentice Penny (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) will serve as showrunner on the series, exec producing with Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry. Rae and Larry Wilmore co-created the project and the wrote the pilot together. She will co-exec produce, while he will serve as a consultant. Wilmore is now behind the desk on Comedy Central's The Nightly Show, which came after Insecure was put in development at HBO in 2013.
Melina Matsoukas directed the pilot.
Rae is known for her award-winning web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which has helped her amass 200,000 subscribers and 20 million views on YouTube. She is repped by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment and John V. Meigs Jr.
Insecure's series pickup comes as part of television's continued efforts to increase diversity, which have proved successful for networks like Fox (Empire) and ABC (Black-ish).
Insecure joins HBO's expanding comedy slate that includes Girls, Veep, Silicon Valley, Togetherness, Ballers, The Brink, Doll & Em, the upcoming final season of Getting On and the TV movie finale of Looking.