HBO to Diversify its Lineup With ‘Bros’
HBO already has Girls, and soon, it will also have Bros. The premium cable channel is officially moving forward with the new ethnic family comedy, which centers on three African-American brothers living in Los Angeles.
According to Deadline, the show will follow the three siblings — one of whom is gay, two of whom are straight, all boasting very different personalities — -as they deal with dating problems and look for love in the busy California city.
Developed by writer Ben Cory Jones (Hand Of God) and Hemingway Taylor Productions, the sitcom is loosely based on Jones’s real-life experiences as a gay black man with straight siblings. In addition to penning the script, Jones will also executive produce alongside former HBO exec Mark Taylor and Dear White People producer Lena Waith. Director Anthony Hemingway (Red Tails, The Wire, Newsroom) is on board to helm the project, as well as co-executive produce.
The series has actually been in the works for some time. Hemingway Taylor shot a 12-minute pilot presentation for the comedy (originally titled Bros Before Hos) earlier this year featuring Dijon Talton (Glee), Kevin Phillips (Red Tails), Tuffy Questell (How To Make It In America), Dana Sorman (Harry’s Law), and Nia Jervier (Dear White People). The HBO version will be adapted from this initial presentation, part of which can be seen in the trailer above.
“[Bros] isn’t a black story or a gay story — it’s a family story about three brothers, who happen to be black, and one who happens to be gay,” Jones said in an interview at the time of the presentation.
The writer went on to explain that he wrote the story to chronicle an experience that seems to be missing from TV. “There seem to be more stories that deal with the interior lives of black women, but it’s hard to find stories that deal with the interior lives of black men,” he said. “We’re either thugs or athletes, but there’s so much more to who we are that falls in between that spectrum.” Bros looks to provide a more authentic reflection of the ever-evolving, multicultural American experience.
The show’s development comes just as broadcast networks have made a notable push toward implementing a more diverse and culturally inclusive lineup. ABC has taken some of the most significant steps toward the cause this season, adding comedies Black-ish, Cristela, and Fresh Off the Boat, and the new Shonda Rhimes drama How to Get Away With Murder to its fall and midseason slate.
The latter, featuring Oscar-nominated Viola Davis, comes on the heels of the network’s huge success with Scandal, another Rhimes-created show that put a black actress at the forefront and subsequently made Kerry Washington the first African-American star to lead a primetime show in almost 40 years. While Scandal continues to be a fan favorite, both How to Get Away with Murder and Black-ish have become two of the biggest new hits of the fall, receiving full season orders after only a few weeks on air.
HBO has been slower to make changes, despite earning criticism for featuring shows that lack diversity in terms of both gender and ethnicity. One such example? Critical darling True Detective, which spurred some public backlash for placing all its focus on two white male characters even while garnering award nominations left and right. (The show has since bulked up its female cast, but still falls short on the racially diverse front).
Still, it seems the network is — slowly — beginning to get the message. Bros will mark the second HBO series of the year to cast some light on the LGBT experience, after the comedy drama Looking, which is entering its second season in 2015. Whether it can prove to be as successful a cultural family sitcom as Black-ish remains to be seen. No premiere date for the series has been released just yet.