9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Lena Waithe Comedy 'Twenties' Nabs BET Series Order
Lena Waithe's Twenties is moving forward — at a different network.
The comedy, originally developed at WarnerMedia-owned TBS as a pilot, has been ordered to series at Viacom's BET. Twenties extends Waithe's relationship with BET, for whom she exec produces the recently renewed reboot of Boomerang.
Twenties was created and written by Waithe was she was in her early 20s. The eight-episode, half-hour series follows the adventures of a queer black girl, Hattie, and her two straight best friends, Marie and Nia, who spend most of their days talking ish and chasing their dreams. The comedy, based on Waithe's YouTube series of the same name, explores friendship, finding love and messing everything up along the way. (Watch the first YouTube installment below.)
The series will be exec produced by Waithe, co-showrunner Susan Fales-Hill (A Different World), Rishi Rajani and Waithe's manager, Andrew Coles. The series is produced via Waithe's Hillman Grad Productions banner.
"BET Networks is thrilled to partner once again with the creative visionary Lena Waithe on both Boomerang and Twenties, as she is without a doubt a leading relevant voice of our generation and a disruptor in her own right," said Connie Orlando, head of programming at BET Networks. "BET is committed to the elevation of inclusive and authentic storytelling that viewers continue to expect from the brand."
The deal for Twenties arrives as Waithe has become an in-demand voice thanks to her Emmy win for writing the "Thanksgiving" episode of Netflix's Master of None, which followed her character's coming out over multiple years. With the win, Waithe became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing. Waithe's Showtime drama The Chi, which she created, recently launched its second season on the premium cable network.
"Twenties has been a project I’ve been dreaming about for as long as I can remember. I think a lot of people were interested, but didn’t see the vision," Waithe said in a nod to how the comedy moved from TBS to BET. "I'm so grateful Scott Mills and Connie Orlando did. I couldn’t be more excited to deepen my relationship with BET. I know audiences have been waiting a long time for this one."
Twenties joins a BET roster that includes recently renewed American Soul, which with Boomerang were the first two new shows to be ordered by Mills after he was tapped to take over the cabler from Debra Lee in December 2017. His goal has been to increase originals by 21 percent with new scripted series and movies, while also leveraging relationships with prominent African-American writers and producers as well as Viacom's corporate siblings. BET's originals also include the upcoming series finale movie of Being Mary Jane, TV Land and Paramount Network transplant First Wives Club, In Contempt and Peachtree Place, among others.