*Oprah Winfrey has tapped “The Game” and “Being Mary Jane” creator Mara Brock Akil and her husband, writer-director Salim Akil, for a new series on OWN titled “Love Is ____,” set to debut in 2018.
Created and executive produced by the Akils, the hourlong dramedy – inspired by their real-life relationship – follows the love story between a modern-day power couple. In the world of Black Hollywood, they navigate a complex set of social codes, and this series will explore it all, from the good to the bad… to the ‘90s, because that’s when the love story began.
The Akils executive produce through their Akil Productions banner, with Mara Brock Akil serving as showrunner. The series hails from Warner Horizon Scripted Television and stems from the Akils’ big overall deal at Warner Bros. TV.
According to Deadline.com, “Love Is ___” started out as “Documenting Love,” a multi-camera comedy project the Akils developed last season. It landed at ABC with a pilot production commitment. The script, which did not go to production at the broadcast network, is now being reworked as a one-hour single-camera dramedy for OWN.
“I’ve dreamed of working with the Akils,” said Winfrey. “I’ve been a huge fan of their work since first viewing ‘Girlfriends.’ They know just how to hit the cultural nerve to make you think and laugh at the same time.”
“Love Is ___ ” joins OWN’s lineup of scripted dramas that include “Queen Sugar,” “Greenleaf,” “The Haves and the Have Nots” and “If Loving You is Wrong,” which year-to-date comprise four of the top six original scripted series on ad-supported cable for women 25-54.
“To have a partner that brings the attention to detail and sheer excellence that Oprah has built an empire on is an absolute dream come true for Salim and me,” said Mara Brock Akil. “That, and it’s Oprah! Love Is ___ is not only a passion project, but is a personal one for us as well. We’re grateful to have her wholehearted support and magic touch behind this story.”
Up next for the Akils is the Warner Bros. Television/DC drama series “Black Lightning” for the CW, which they are executive producing, with Salim Akil as showrunner.