Russel Simmons has been in and out of HBO’s stable through the years ever since DEF COMEDY JAM back in 1992. He had struck a development deal with HBO again in 2013, but we never heard much. Then, back in August he unleashed his plans for the network. We neglected to share it until now so here, via an official press release, is what Simmons has in the offing (my comments appear in red).
HBO AND RUSSELL SIMMONS ENTER INTO OVERALL PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT DEAL
Network Developing Several New Series And Specials With Simmons For Premium Television; Pact Builds Upon Successful Producing Partnership Beginning With Hit Series “Def Comedy Jam” And “Def Poetry Jam”
HBO has made an overall first-look deal for premium television with visionary multi-platform producer Russell Simmons’ new media company All Def Digital (ADD). Under the terms of the agreement, the Def Jam Records co-founder and his team will create and develop a wide range of television projects for HBO. Simmons has five active projects with the world’s leading premium television service, three of which are being developed through his media company, All Def Digital (ADD). HBO and Simmons are collaborating on:
* A new series that curates the best acts from All Def Digital’s weekly live comedy night. Every week, ADD produces a live event in Hollywood featuring the best new comedians in the country. Back in the day Rodney Dangerfield had YOUNG COMEDIAN SPECIALS on quite frequently. It would be cool to see the latest batch of up and coming comedic talents.
* HBO and ADD are also developing THESE ARE MY FRIENDS, a new comedy series created by independent filmmaker Shaka King that takes an original and authentic look at hip-hop culture. The series follows four real-life rap and hip-hop artists as they struggle to keep their dream alive. Real friends, real rappers, real comedy, real life. I’m all for the hip-hop culture getting its due and Russell sure knows all about it.
* A comedy series through ADD with the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, which brought audiences cult classics like Super Troopers and Beerfest. THE BROKEN LIZARD SHOW will take an innovative and comedic look at race when, hundreds of years in the future, a space ship exploring the galaxy discovers the last white man in the universe. Some people clamor for some Sci-Fi on the channel. Could this be it?
* Simmons, alongside Stan Lathan, is producing a Def Comedy Jam 25th Anniversary Special that will feature an all-star lineup of comedians celebrating the longest-running and most influential comedy showcase on cable television. So you realize all the hot talent that came out off that show? The special should be a real treat.
* Simmons is also executive producing the highly-anticipated HBO limited series CODES OF CONDUCT directed and developed by Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave). The six-episode limited series is written by McQueen and screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z), and executive produced by McQueen, Simmons, Iain Canning (The King’s Speech), Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech) and Alan Poul (HBO’s THE NEWSROOM). The show stars newcomer Devon Terrell as a young man with a mysterious past who enters New York’s high society. Paul Dano, Helena Bonham Carter and Rebecca Hall are also featured. Limited series seem to be the way to go lately and this one looks promising.
Wow! Five different projects is quite a number. HBO must really believe in Russell Simmons.
Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming said, “We always speak of having distinct voices at HBO, and few in the industry are as unique and intelligent as Russell. He’s been a part of our family for a long time, and we are so pleased to be continuing our relationship.”
“HBO has been like a home to me for a generation,” says Simmons. “I am enormously proud of the broad range of programming they have nurtured. Together, we have discovered new voices and helped launch emerging artists that deserved a mainstream platform. I am even more excited by the next generation of talent and shows that we are developing through All Def Digital TV.
Get HBO and get Def!