EXCLUSIVE: Fox has put in development Re-Friended, a half-hour multi-camera comedy from comedian Franchesca Ramsey Decoded and actress-writer-producer Shamikah Martinez, who are set to star, writer Vijal Patel black-ish, The Middle, Kay Cannon and Laverne McKinnon's K&L Productions and Sony Pictures Television, where K&L is under a first-look deal. The project is a co-production between Sony TV and Fox Entertainment.
Written by Ramsey, Martinez and Patel, Re-Friended is based on an original idea from Ramsey and Martinez. It revolves around two childhood friends Ramsey, Martinez who stayed connected through the years via social media. When they become roommates as adults, they realize how much they don't know each other at all, and have to “re-friend” over again and learn how to live with and love the un-curated versions of themselves.
Kay Cannon, Laverne McKinnon Courtney Lindberg Photography
Ramsey, Martinez and Patel executive produce with Cannon and McKinnon for K&L Productions.
Ramsey is the host of MTV's popular online series Decoded with Franchesca Ramsey, which has run for seven seasons. She also developed and headline Comedy Central digital series Franchesca and Show. Her credits include writing and performing on Comedy Central's Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, where she created the popular segment #HashItOut and the infamous original viral video “Sh*t White Girls Say...to Black Girls.” Her book Well That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes Of An Accidental Activist was published in 2018. She's repped by Gersh, Imagine Artist Management and attorney Victoria Cook.
Martinez, who appeared on Franchesca and Show, most recently wrote on the reboot of Nickelodeon's sketch show All That exec produced by Kenan Thompson. As an actress, she recurred on CBS' Superior Donuts and guest starred on Murphy Brown. She previously developed at TruTV, co-writing, co-starring and executive producing the pilot Winks with Debbie Liebling producing. Martinez's short form comedic music videos, which she also co-wrote and co-starred in, became a staple of truTV's Late Night Snack block. Additionally, she served as executive producer of Awkwafina's YouTube talk show, Tawk. She's repped by Gersh and Artists First.
Patel is an Emmy-nominated writer/producer whose previous credits include Black-ish and The Middle. He's currently a co-executive producer on ABC's Schooled.
Kay Cannon and Laverne McKinnon co-founded K&L Prods. with the mission is to tell underserved and underdog stories from both a comedic and dramatic lens. The two met on the Netflix series Girlboss, where Cannon served as Creator/Showrunner and McKinnon was an Executive Producer.
Right now, everyone is looking for some kind of reprieve from being locked up at home due to the spread of the coronavirus across the United States. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon, but The Office executive producers Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman think they’ve figured out a way to make light of the situation by crafting a new workplace comedy series inspired by the sudden rise in employees working from home due to the outbreak of coronavirus forcing people to practice social distancing.
Deadline was first to learn of the currently untitled coronavirus comedy series, though it’s not necessarily about the pandemic. Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman, better known to The Office fans as the frequently maligned Toby Flenderson and one of Jim’s business partners at their company Athlead, are creating the series that is said to focus on “wunderkind boss who, in an effort to ensure his staff’s connectedness and productivity, asks them all to virtually interact and work face-to-face all day.”
The series is in the works at Big Breakfast, the comedy production banner Silverman runs, where he’ll executive produce the series along with and Luke Kelly-Clyne College Humor and Kevin Healey Scare Tactics. They’ll also be working with Howard Owens’ Propagate Content, which will have Rodney Ferrell serving as an executive producer as well.
Silverman, who was also once an NBC executive, explained the inception of the series and his hope for what it will become:
“So many of us are jumping on daily Zoom meetings — for work and beyond. We are in a new normal and are personally navigating ways to remain connected and productive at work and in our home lives. With the brilliant Paul Lieberstein at the helm, we think we have a series that not only brings humor and comfort during this troubling time but will also be an inventive and enduring workplace comedy for years to come.”
While the prospect of trying to craft a series around the coronavirus outbreak sounds like a bad idea at this time, there’s no indication that the pandemic will actually play a part in the overall concept of the series. In fact, it would be easy to pull something like this off without introducing such a grim plot device.
What I’m envisioning with this series is a show with a format that echoes what we’ve seen accomplished with movies like Unfriended and Searching. Both of those films play out entirely on computer or mobile device screens and successfully tell a solid narrative. Modern Family did something similar with an episode that unfolded across the ensemble cast’s various screens, and it worked pretty well. But if that’s what this series will be like, can that concept be sustained for an entire series? Or will they need to take...
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox TV is developing an adaptation of Michael Arceneaux's memoir I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyonce with Jerrod Carmichael, Lee Daniels and Marc Velez.
Deadline understands that the project is set to hit the cable and streaming market as a half-hour series.
The book, which was published by Simon & Schuster in July 2018, is a collection of 17 autobiographical essays from Arceneaux. The deal comes as Arceneaux’s second book, I Don't Want to Die Poor, an essay collection which chronicles his struggles with private student loans and economic anxiety, is published today April 7 by Simon & Schuster.
Simon & Schuster
Arceneaux will adapt and executive produce alongside Carmichael, and Lee Daniels and Marc Velez of Lee Daniels Entertainment. UTA brokered the deal on Arceneaux's behalf.
The book looks at life in today's America with Arceneaux learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite, leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned. He discusses coming out to his mother, growing up in Houston, Texas, being approached for the priesthood, his obstacles in embracing intimacy that occasionally led to unfortunate fights with fire ants, and the persistent challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the chance to pursue their dreams.
Arceneaux is represented by UTA, Jermaine Johnson at 3Arts, attorney Loan Dang, and Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourrett. Carmichael is represented by UTA and attorney PJ Shapiro at Ziffren Brittenham. Daniels is represented by WME, Alex Kovacs at Untitled Entertainment, and attorney Matthew Levy at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman.