10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Mara Brock Akil Inks Netflix Overall Deal
Mara Brock Akil is moving her overall deal to Netflix.
The Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane and Black Lightning exec producer has inked a multiple-year pact with the streaming giant and will develop new scripted and other creative projects for the company. She previously was housed at Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind The CW's DC Comics drama Black Lightning.
"It is a dream to partner with the force of Netflix, for we have the same goals — telling human stories for a global audience," Akil said. "I’m excited to have a home that allows me the creative freedom and support to do what I do best — paint portraits and murals of women, Black people and anyone else whose story is missing from this golden age of television. Representation matters and so does who you build with — I can’t wait to work closely with Channing Dungey and her team to launch some great stories."
Akil joins Netflix as the streamer recently licensed UPN-turned-The CW's Girlfriends, which she created. The series is marking its 20th anniversary this month and all eight seasons of the sitcom starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White and Jill Marie Jones will begin streaming on Netflix on Sept. 11 and join The Game on the platform. The date marks the 20th anniversary of the show's original series premiere. Akil and Netflix will celebrate the anniversary with an Instagram Live via Netflix's @StrongBlackLead handle starting at 5 p.m. PT on Friday, followed by a Twitter watch party at 6 p.m. PT.
"We are thrilled to welcome Mara Brock Akil to Netflix. Her signature storytelling, authentic perspective and captivating characters have long entertained audiences and proven to be relevant, timely and endlessly engaging. We look forward to bringing her distinct voice, vision and passion to our global members,” said vp originals Dungey.
Akil had been based at Warners under a pact with her husband, Salim Akil. The latter was investigated by Warner Bros. TV after he was sued for domestic violence and breach of contract actress and writer Amber Dixon Brenner. He denied the allegations and remains on Black Lightning, though his former OWN drama Love Is was canceled as part of the fallout. Salim Akil is not involved in the Netflix pact.
Mara Brock Akil becomes the latest showrunner to sign with Netflix and joins a roster that also includes Shonda Rhimes, Kenya Barris, Ryan Murphy, and the creators behind Stranger Things and Game of Thrones, among several others.