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Mara Brock Akil has wasted little time building up her slate — and newly launched production company Story27 — in the year since she departed Warner Bros. TV for a sweeping pact at Netflix.
Akil is readying four series — including an adaptation of Judy Blume’s Forever — as part of a four-show slate at the streaming giant and tapped former AMC executive Susie Fitzgerald to oversee film, TV and digital projects for the Netflix-based production company.
Fitzgerald comes to Story27 after a decade at AMC where she last served as exec vp scripted, a role she departed in May 2020 after developing hits including The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and, more recently, Kevin Can F**k Himself.
Since joining Akil’s Story27 — whose focus is to tell stories of humanity — Fitzgerald has helped draw writers including Jerron Horton (who worked with Akil on Love Is) and Jeanine Daniels (Snowfall) to the banner. “I’m incredibly honored to join Mara and help build the innovative team at story27,” she said. “Mara’s incisive storytelling through memorable characters, as well as her innate ability to identify and develop fresh talent, make her a visionary in the field. I look forward to working closely with her as she creates new work while collaborating with her to seek out new voices with relevant and unexplored narratives for the screen.”
Akil, who had been housed for years at Warners where she developed series including Black Lightning, moved to Netflix in September 2020 after the streamer licensed former UPN-turned-The CW hit Girlfriends, which she created. The beloved sitcom starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White and Jill Marie Jones joined other Akil series at the streamer including The Game.
“At Story27, thoughtful and entertaining projects centering the humanity of the marginalized is the priority and that starts with identifying the best and most unique storytellers,” Akil said. “Susie’s artist-friendly approach coupled with her taste and extremely impressive track record allows for Story27 to be a destination and home for the next wave of creatives and writers with impactful stories to tell. I’m excited to have her at both the creative and business table with me as we grow the company through our partnership with Netflix and beyond.”
Akil’s offices are based in the historic Sugar Hill Arts District in the West Adams area of Los Angeles, near where she grew up. The space was recently expanded to include a writers’ colony.
As for her Netflix slate, Akil is in various stages of development on hourlong dramas Agency and Blume’s Forever; scripted comedy Astronaut Chicks; and hybrid documentary feature Stamped From the Beginning. Here’s a closer look at the slate:
Agency: Inspired by the real lives of iconic sports agents, Aaron and Eric Goodwin, Agency follows two Black brothers from Oakland whose relationships to each other and their family are tested when they form a sports agency to disrupt the industry and the culture.
Forever: In this inspired-by adaptation of Judy Blume’s YA romance novel, Forever, two Black high schoolers in Los Angeles navigate first love and intimacy amidst social and parental pressures.
Astronaut Chicks: In a speculative near future, four young, female Black friends challenge each other to live a fly life, launch some dreams, and land on some purpose.
Stamped From the Beginning: In partnership with One Story Up, Stamped from the Beginning is the hybrid documentary feature adaptation of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s incisive and urgent work of the same name, which chronicles in detail the origins and evolution of racist ideas.
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