EXCLUSIVE: Universal’s hit The Best Man movie franchise is getting a new installment as a streaming series. Peacock has ordered a 10-episode limited dramedy series The Best Man: The Final Chapters from the movies’ writer and director Malcolm D. Lee and former Insecure executive producer Dayna Lynne North.
The core star-studded original cast from the movies are set to return, including Morris Chestnut, Melissa De Sousa, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long and Harold Perrineau. I hear the actors all recently closed significant seven-figure deals to reprise their roles in the series, which is eying a September start. The only missing original Best Man cast member is Monica Calhoun whose character died in the sequel, The Best Man Holiday, which was released more than seven years ago.
“We’re excited to reunite this beloved cast for a limited series run of The Best Man for Peacock,” said Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “With a powerhouse duo like Malcolm and Dayna at the helm, fans will fall in love with our favorite group of friends all over again.”
Based on the eponymous film franchise written and directed by Lee, the series will catch up with Harper, Robyn, Jordan, Lance, Quentin, Shelby, Candace, and Murch as relationships evolve and past grievances resurface in the unpredictable stages of midlife crisis meets midlife renaissance.
“Here we go! The band is back together! I am very excited to bring these iconic characters back to the fans who have supported us through this franchise,” said Lee. “We are thrilled to deliver everything one would expect from this group of friends in The Best Man universe and take them through their final chapters. We can’t wait! I told you it wouldn’t be 14 more years.”
Lee followed up The Best Man franchise with two more very successful feature comedies for Universal, Girls Trip and Night School, which he produced and directed. In 2018, he expanded his relationship with the studio to television, signing a first-look deal with Universal TV.
“When Malcolm joined the UTV family, our first conversation was about our collective desire to bring his groundbreaking Universal feature franchise to television,” Universal Television President Erin Underhill said. “Three years and one pandemic later, we’re on the brink of doing just that. I’m thrilled for us all to see this goal come to fruition.”
North is a new creative team addition to The Best Man franchise, but she is a longtime fan of the movies.
“The Best Man films were a cultural touchstone during my college days — and they’ve remained influential pop culture references to this day,” she said. “I’ve grown up laughing with these characters, copying their dance moves, and grieving at their losses. I am overjoyed to be partnering with Malcolm D. Lee and this amazing cast to adapt this iconic franchise at Peacock.”
The Best Man: The Final Chapters is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group. The series is written and executive produced by Malcolm D. Lee via his Blackmaled Productions and Dayna Lynne North of Loud Sis Productions. Sean Daniel, of Hivemind, who produced The Best Man Holiday, will also serve as executive producer. Sheila Walcott will oversee for Blackmaled Productions.
In the original 1999 romantic comedy-drama movie, produced by Spike Lee, old college friends reunite for a wedding. It was followed by a Christmas-themed sequel, The Best Man Holiday, released in November 2013. Both films were box office hits. The original grossed $34 million domestically on a $9 million budget. The 2013 followup earned $70 million. A third film in the series, The Best Man Wedding, also written and to be directed by Lee, was announced by Universal in 2014 with a planned release in 2016, but it was never made, largely because of scheduling issues.
Last year, Diggs revealed that a third installment of The Best Man franchise may be finally happening but as a streaming series.
On Peacock, The Best Man: The Final Chapters will join a number of revivals and reboots of iconic Universal titles, including Saved By the Bell, Punky Brewster and Battlestar Galactica. Additionally, Universal TV is rebooting The Equalizer as a TV series for CBS.
Lee, who executive produced the NBC Night School comedy pilot, has another NBC pilot, At That Age, on which he is creator, executive producer and director. In features, Lee has Space Jam: A New Legacy for Warner Brothers/HBO Max. Lee’s Blackmaled Productions banner has several projects in development including I Almost Forgot About You (Universal), an adaptation of Terry McMillan’s novel with Viola Davis, The Classic (Universal), Real Talk (Universal), and Rock the Bells (Fox). Lee is repped by A3 Artists Agency and Del Shaw Moonves.
North is co-writing and executive producing Young Love, the upcoming series adaptation of the Oscar-winning short Hair Love. She recently was a writer/executive producer on Insecure, co-created by and starring Issa Rae. North is repped by CAA and Narrative.
Daniel and his company are also executive producers on The Witcher at Netflix and The Expanse at Amazon.
Chestnut is repped by Verve and LINK Entertainment. De Sousa is with A3 Artists Agency and Meyer & Downs. Diggs is repped by ICM Partners. Howard is repped by Universal Bridges. Lathan is with CAA and Morris Yorn Barnes. Long is repped by Verve, Untitled Entertainment and Meyer & Downs. Perrineau is repped by Gersh and Anonymous Content.