*BET has greenlighted a new two-hour backdoor comedy pilot/original movie starring 17-year-old rapper/blogger Daniel Dwayne Simmons, aka Diggy Simmons, and executive produced by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.
The “Untitled Diggy Simmons Project,” as it is currently known, is described as having an “Entourage” vibe, complete with a fresh and edgy look at Diggy Simmons’ life as a blogger, and the close group of loyal friends who hold him down on his rise to the top, according to Deadline.com.
Simmons will play the main character Blake. Also cast in the project are Allen Maldonado as Manny, Blake’s best friend. Manny lives with his twin sister Tae (Teyana Taylor), who is Blake’s ex-girlfriend, after their grandmother died. Chris Brew will play Dot, a tech geek, now a student at NYU, and a childhood friend of Blake and Manny. Bria Murphy, the 22-year-old model daughter of Eddie Murphy and ex-wife Nicole Murphy, will play Manny’s girlfriend Nia. Stephanie Charles will play Sheri, Dot’s ex-girlfriend.
Executive producing the movie with Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil are Kenya Baris (The Game, America’s Next Top Model), who wrote the script, Chris Lighty, Laurie Dobbins, and James Dubose. Simmons and Kevin Liles are co-executive producing.
Salim Akil, who recently helmed the feature “Sparkle,” will also direct the film/backdoor pilot, which will shoot later this year. Salim and Mara Brock Akil are also behind BET’s hit comedy “The Game” and upcoming original movie/backdoor pilot “Being Mary Jane,” which is set to premiere next year as part of the BET Premiere Cinema movie franchise. Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union, is expected to go to series.
In addition to the Diggy Simmons project, BET recently greenlighted standard comedy pilot “What Would Dylan Do?” (working title) from writer Julian Breece and showrunner Warren Hutcherson starring Kelly Rowland as a relationship blogger.