The dramedy Birth of Cool has officially been ordered at BET Plus in partnership with Gentefied producers Macro Television Studios and Lena Waithe’s (The Chi) production house Hillman Grad Productions, according to Variety. Alongside fellow BET series Twenties and Boomerang, this project will mark Waithe’s third original production with the network.
The ten-episode first season of Birth of Cool will follow the students and faculty of the predominantly black high school, Crispus Attucks High, located in Compton. The show details a stressful, surreal strange, and oftentimes hilarious academic year from the eyes of the school’s inhabitants. The upcoming series was created by Juel Taylor (They Cloned Tyrone) and Tony Rettenmaire (They Cloned Tyrone), who are both slated to executive produce while Taylor will be directing the pilot. In a statement, Executive Vice President and General Manager of BET Plus, Devin Griffin, emphasized his network’s ability to tell original stories of the Black experience.
“BET Plus continues to be the home for best-in-class creatives to tell their original stories about the Black experience. We appreciate Lena’s creative vision and continued trust and are thrilled to partner with a skilled group of creators from MACRO Television Studies and Hillman Grad to bring this series to life,” via Variety. Waithe’s talents were recognized in 2017 at the Primetime Emmy Awards when she won alongside Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for a season two episode of Master of None entitled Thanksgiving.
Aaliyah Williams (Really Love) and Rishi Rajani (Adeline, The Great) will also executive produce the series. Hillman Grad Productions is in the developmental stages of a Sammy Davis Jr. biopic based on Tracey Davis’ book entitled Sammy Davis Jr.: MY Father while Waithe and Rajani will produce alongside Sight Unseen Pictures. Waithe also took part in the writing of the script for and is expected to executive produce Universal’s upcoming film Talent Show, which will star Cynthia Erivo (Harriet). Also a part of the production company, Amazon’s Them is currently in development as well as an untitled project for HBO.