Girlfriends and Being Mary Jane creator Mara Brock Akil has signed an overall deal with Netflix, via The Hollywood Reporter. Akil changes ships with a multi-year deal to develop new projects and series at the streaming service. She had been working for Warner Bros. TV as an executive producer of The CW’s comic series Black Lightning with husband Salim Akil (Sparkle, Jumping the Broom).
“We are thrilled to welcome Mara Brock Akil to Netflix,” VP of Originals Channing Dungey said, via The Hollywood Reporter. “Her signature storytelling, authentic perspective, and captivating characters have long entertained audiences and proven to be relevant, timely, and endlessly engaging. We look forward to bringing her distinct voice, vision, and passion to our global members,” Dungey said, via The Hollywood Reporter.
Akil’s move to Netflix comes on the cusp of Girlfriends being acquired by the streaming service, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It was announced in July the UPN-series would be streaming on Netflix along with other favorites such as Moesha, Sister Sister, and Akil’s own, The Game. Set in Los Angeles, the show followed the love, laughs, and lives of four female friends played by Tracee Ellis Ross (blackish), Golden Brooks (Hollywood Divas), Jill Marie Jones (Delilah), and Persia White (The Vampire Diaries). Executive produced by Kelsey Grammar (Fraiser, Cheers), Girlfriends lasted for eight seasons.
“It is a dream to partner with the force of Netflix, for we have the same goals — telling human stories for a global audience,” Akil said, via The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m excited to have a home that allows me the creative freedom and support to do what I do best — paint portraits and murals of women, Black people, and anyone else whose story is missing from this golden age of television. Representation matters and so does who you build with — I can’t wait to work closely with Channing Dungey and her team to launch some great stories,” Akil said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Girlfriends will be available to stream Friday, Sept. 11, marking the 20th anniversary of its original premiere. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Akil will hold an Instagram Live special in conjunction with Netflix’s Strong Black Lead initiative to commemorate the milestone, Friday at 5 p.m. PT. Immediately following the live event, there will be a Twitter watch party of the series at 6 p.m. PT.