HBO has picked up to series comedy pilot Brothers In Atlanta, created by and starring Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, directed by Tim Story and produced by Lorne Michaels.
Written by former Late Night With Jimmy Fallon writers/performers Riddle and Salahuddin, Brothers In Atlanta is about struggling entertainers and best friends Langston (Riddle) and Moose (Salahuddin) trying to navigate relationships and life in the black Mecca of Atlanta. An Atlanta native, Langston is an aspiring DJ whose career has stalled due to his lack of focus and his get-rich schemes. New to Atlanta, Moose is a perennial backup singer with dreams of the spotlight, who keep his foot in his mouth.
The pilot also featured Maya Rudolph as Moose’s demanding boss, Shirle, an R&B diva whose heyday was in the 90s; and Jaden Smith as Curtis, a “New Atlanta” teenager and Langston’s rowdy neighbor with unpredictable interests and suspicious income. Both were billed as guest stars but will likely appear on the series, executive produced by Riddle & Salahuddin, Broadway Video’s Michaels and Andrew Singer and Story of The Story Co. Jeff Field of Field Entertainment, Doug Griffin of The Story Co. and Anna Dokoza serve as producers.
HBO originally ordered a Riddle and Salahuddin comedy pilot produced by Michaels in 2013, with the duo playing Atlanta reporters. It didn’t go to series but the pay cable network liked Riddle and Salahuddin and the Atlanta setting and decided to take another stab with a new concept. It became Brothers In Atlanta, which went to pilot with Story directing.
This marks Michaels’ first series order to HBO. It also marks Riddle and Salahuddin’s official return to HBO, which gave the two their start in the business with the Web series The Message. They went on to write for Comedy Central’s Chocolate News With David Alan Grier and, most notably, for NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, where they also regularly appeared in skits, especially Salahuddin. Among the bits Riddle and Salahuddin wrote while on the show was Slow Jam The News With Barack Obama. Riddle and Salahuddin, who met while attending Harvard together, are the latest writers/performers from one of Michaels’ late-night shows to get a primetime series backed by him.
This is HBO’s second order to a new series that tells stories of African American characters from African American auspices, joining Steve McQueen’s recently picked up drama Codes of Conduct.
Riddle, Salahuddin and Michaels are with CAA, which packaged the series.
Story, repped by UTA and Matt Johnson, is the highest-grossing African American director with six movies opening at No.1 —Ride Along (2014), Think Like A Man Too (2014), Think Like A Man(2012), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Fantastic Four (2005) and Barbershop (2002). His next film, Ride Along 2, opens in 2016.