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HBO Boss Says Issa Rae’s Series Casting Now, Slightly Different in Tone from Web Series, Don’t Expect Until 2016/2017

HBO Boss Says Issa Rae's Series Casting Now, Slightly Different in Tone from Web Series, Don't Expect Until 2016/2017

HBO is making its presentation at the ongoing TCA (Television Critics Association) summer event as I type this, and, thankfully, there are journalists live-tweeting it, as the cable TV network’s CEO Richard Plepler, and its president of programming Michael Lombardo, drop news on returning and upcoming new series.

Of interest to this blog, it’s been revealed that Issa Rae’s series, which was officially given a pilot order earlier this year, likely won’t be coming to a TV screen near you until late 2016, or even early 2017. So, sadly, if you were expecting something next TV season (2015/2016) – although you really shouldn’t have been, if you’ve been reading this blog – you’ll have to update your calendar to reflect today’s news.

Of course, the pilot, once complete, still has to be ordered to series. So, assuming HBO loves the pilot and wants a full series (cross your fingers), don’t expect to see anything until, at the earliest, the 2016/2017 TV season. Lombardo did say that he’s “very hopeful” that the pilot will be good, adding that casting is happening right now, for a shoot that will happen later this year. And finally, wonderfully, Issa Rae will play herself in the show, which Lombardo says will be “slightly different in tone” from the web series that inspired it – “Awkward Black Girl.” 

It was in August 2013 when it was first revealed that Issa Rae was developing a series for HBO, created by she and funnyman (and now late night host) Larry Wilmore, which was to focus on “the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern day African-American woman,” as was officially described at the time.

Skip ahead to earlier this year, when it was announced that HBO had given a pilot order for the project, which will be titled “Insecure,” and which Issa Rae will star in, as well as write, along with Wilmore. To be produced by 3 Arts, the firm managing both Wilmore and Rae, the project attracted the talents of music video director, Melina Matsoukas, who will helm the pilot, making her TV directing debut.

Also, Prentice Penny (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) has been tapped to executive produce and act as showrunner of “Insecure.”

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