Lena Waithe has already been steadily changing the game in Hollywood. But now as executive producer on BET's upcoming Boomerang reboot, she "literally wants to change the face of BET" itself "by being phenomenal."
"I'm not even saying that out of shade," she said to Variety's Marc Malkin at the outlet's Power of Women luncheon. "...It's just going to be a phenomenal experience, and I'm going to be in Atlanta making s--t happen," she said.
Waithe's comments might not be shade, but they do reflect a reality when it comes to BET's programming. Too often, so much of BET's potential for quality television, including substantive news programming and scripted series, seems just to sit under-developed. For instance, earlier this year, BET canceled the network's latest news talk show, The Rundown with Robin Thede, despite the series having a profoundly positive critical reception. Also, BET's The New Edition Story and, to a lesser extent, The Bobby Brown Story show that BET as a network can become a powerhouse of scripted content if it chooses to.
Hopefully, the updated reboot, which will only be comprised of 10 episodes, will put BET on track to welcome compelling storytelling. The premise of the new series centers around the children of the main characters from the film played by Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry and Robin Givens. That premise doesn't give any hints as to what types of twists and turns the characters are in for, but the series should be in good hands with Waithe, who has honed her craft with her Showtime series The Chi, and Berry, who is also on board as an executive producer.
Waithe told Malkin what it was like to get Berry to agree to the project.
"It was me calling Halle and going like, 'Look, I think I'm going to do this. If you had a good experience and you want to do it with me, let's go," she said. "She said, 'I had a great experience, and I'd love to work with you."
Boomerang comes to BET in 2019.