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HBO is reteaming with Lorne Michaels and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon duo Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin for another comedy pilot.
After passing over the duo’s Michaels-produced reporter comedy, the network is moving forward with Brothers in Atlanta, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The new pilot is described as a comedy about struggling entertainers and best friends Langston (Riddle) and Moose (Salahuddin) trying to navigate relationships and life in the black mecca of Atlanta. In addition to starring — with Jaden Smith and Maya Rudolph recurring — the pair will again pen the script and exec produce alongside Michaels and his Broadway Video banner. The shingle’s Andrew Singer will also exec produce, while Field Entertainment’s Jeff Field and The Story Co.’s Doug Griffin will produce with Anna Dokoza. Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Think Like a Man, Ride Along) will exec produce and direct the pilot, which will shoot in Atlanta in the spring.
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Rudolph will play Shirle, Moose’s demanding boss who is an R&B diva whose heyday was in the 1990s, while Smith is set as Curtis, a “New Atlanta” teenager who is Langston’s rowdy neighbor with unpredictable interests and suspicious income. Both will guest-star in the pilot and have recurring roles should the comedy move to series. For Smith, it would mark his largest TV commitment since 2006.
For their part, Riddle’s Langston is an Atlanta native and aspiring DJ whose career has stalled largely because of his lack of focus and get-rich-quick schemes; Salahuddin’s Moose is an Atlanta newbie and perennial backup singer with dreams of the spotlight who keeps putting his foot in his mouth.
The casting reunites Rudolph with the duo, who served as writers on her NBC variety special.
The pair’s previous comedy featured the duo writing, producing and starring as 30-year-old reporters trying to make it big in Atlanta. Michaels produced with Singer co-producing and Dave Flebotte on board as showrunner.
Brothers in Atlanta marks the pair’s latest venture with HBO after starting their career with web series The Message. Their credits included Late Night With Jimmy Fallon — where they wrote “Slow Jam the News With Barack Obama.” For Michaels, meanwhile, Brothers marks his latest project with the premium cabler after family comedy People in New Jersey, which did not move forward.
Riddle and Salahuddin are repped by CAA and Morris Yorn; Rudolph is with WME, 3 Arts and Hirsch Wallerstein; Smith (After Earth) is with Paradigm and Overbrook.
Brothers marks HBO’s second pilot pickup in as many days. The cabler also greenlighted musical period drama Virtuoso — from Alan Ball and Elton John — on Tuesday and has drama Laughs Unlimited as well as comedies starring Sarah Silverman and Sarah Jessica Parker in the pilot stage.
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Robert De Niro