EXCLUSIVE: Prolific producer and actor DeVon Franklin has set up two new scripted development projects at BET+ under his overall deal with CBS Studios, which is the studio for both.
The first project, Played, is a comedy in which Franklin would star. The second project, Closure, for BET and BET+, is a family drama inspired by the life of baseball Hall-of-Famer Andre Dawson turned funeral home owner. Franklin would executive produce both projects via his Franklin Entertainment.
Written by Devon Shepard (The Ms. Pat Show), in Played, Franklin stars as a TV personality in the comedy which chronicles the trials of a dysfunctional dater.
Here’s the official logline: “What if the life of a dysfunctional dater is punctuated by his conscience being a fully-produced talk show hosted by real-life tv personality and producer DeVon Franklin? Every time our guy is faced with one of life’s many dilemmas, he finds himself on DeVon’s couch.”
Shepard executive produces with Franklin and Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon, and Andy Horne for Jesse Collins Entertainment. Franklin Entertainment’s Jenna Nicholson serves as co-executive producer.
Written and executive produced by The Neighborhood co-exec producers Jackie McKinley and Antonia March, Closure, inspired by Dawson’s life, is family drama that follows the life of a homicide detective, Nicky Banks, as she juggles her detective duties with the family-owned business, The Banks Funeral Home, founded by her father, beloved Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Billy Banks. Nicky struggles to balance her sibling relationships, complicated personal life, and an earnest search for her missing twin brother.
The project was originally developed for CBS and written by Samantha Corbin-Miller, who will serve as executive producer.
McKinley & March serve as writers and executive producers with Franklin and Corbin-Miller. Franklin Entertainment’s Nicholson will co-executive produce. Dawson serves as consultant.
Franklin’s projects for BET+ also include the scripted drama Kingdom Business which is currently in production for its second season. Franklin is coming off a supporting role in Lionsgate’s Jesus Revolution and is the producer of Searchlight’s Flamin’ Hot, which world premieres at next month’s South By Southwest Film & TV festival. It’s set for release in June. Franklin is repped by WME, Dinorah Pena at Bodega 7 and John Meigs at HJTH.
Corbin-Miller was most recently an executive producer on Mike at Hulu. Prior to that, she was an EP on Debris at NBC and previously on Swagger, Apple’s basketball-themed drama series from NBA superstar Kevin Durant. Corbin-Miller is repped by Anonymous Content and attorney JR McGinnis at Felker, Toczek.
McKinley and March recently wrapped S2 on the Lee Daniels/Brian Grazer/BET+ comedy series, The Ms. Pat Show, having come off Fox’s drama series, Our Kind Of People. They are currently Co-EP’s on The Neighborhood for CBS. McKinley and March are repped by Art Rutter at Critical Mass Management and Brad Rosenfeld at Culture Creative.
Shepard currently serves as Consulting Producer on The Ms. Pat Show for BET+. Shepard helmed Comedy Central’s Legends of Chamberlain Heights as showrunner and exec producer. He held the same roles on Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union, for BET. His writing credits also include CBS’ The Neighborhood, TV Land’s The Soul Man, Showtime’s House of Lies, as well as Showtime’s Weeds, CBS’ Everybody Hates Chris, and Fox’s Mad TV. Shepard is repped by Matt Ochacher at Nacelle Company and attorney Duncan Hedges.
Collins has a multi-year overall TV deal with ViacomCBS Cable Networks. His Jesse Collins Entertainment is probably best known for producing awards shows and specials including The Grammys, The American Music Awards, BET Awards, Soul Train Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors and UNCF’s An Evening of Stars, as well as multiple specials. JCE also has produced scripted series Real Husbands of Hollywood and American Soul; miniseries The New Edition Story and The Bobby Brown Story. Collins is repped by UTA, the Collins Jackson Agency, and Stephen Barnes at Yorn, Levine, Barnes, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner, Endlich & Gellman.
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