Fresh off his award show sweep of his Selma song, Glory, Common is getting work on premium television and it won’t be any seedy programming about a Hip-Hop glitz.
Showtime has greenlighted two hourlong pilots — a Chicago-set drama from Lena Waithe, Common, Aaron Kaplan and Clark Johnson, and I’m Dying Up Here, a dark comedy set in 1970s Los Angeles from Dave Flebotte and Jim Carrey.
Written on spec by writer-producer-actress Waithe (Dear White People), the untitled drama is described as a relevant, timely and distinctive coming-of-age story of a young African-American male in which just growing up can be a matter of life and death. Waithe executive produces with Common, Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment and Clark Johnson (Homeland), who will direct, for Fox 21 TV Studios. The pilot will film in Chicago later this year.
“The two creative forces behind the show, both hailing from Chicago’s South Side, give this pilot an unparalleled authenticity,” said Showtime Networks President David Nevins, referring to Waithe and Common. “Lena Waithe is an extremely fresh, talented young writer with a unique voice and a deeply thoughtful perspective into the world where she grew up. I immediately gravitated to her script, which is emotional, funny, tragic and relevant, all at once.”
This marks the first scripted pilot produced by actor-musician Common, who won an Oscar this year for co-writing the song “Glory” from Selma, in which he also co-starred. It is the second premium-network pilot for Kaplan, along with the Sarah Jessica Parker-starring comedy Divorce, which has gone to series at HBO.
The trendsetting MC recently tweeted how the Straight Outta Compton biopic made him want to write a few things. Perhaps he’ll rock the soundtrack to the yet-untitled series?
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