Showtime has ordered Lena Waithe’s hour-long Chicago-set drama titled “The Chi,” The show is a revamp of a project that was initially announced in late 2015 when Showtime ordered a pilot, executive produced and written by Lena Waithe and executive produced by Common.
The project was redeveloped and recast, with Rick Famuyiwa (“Dope”) coming on board to direct and the show initially described as a timely coming-of-age story of a young African American male, however, the redeveloped show will follow the lives of six interrelated characters on the South side of Chicago.
According to David Nevins, President, Showtime Networks Inc., “The two creative forces behind the show, both hailing from Chicago’s South Side, give this an unparalleled authenticity. Lena Waithe is an extremely fresh, talented young writer with a unique voice and a deeply thoughtful perspective into the world where she grew up. I immediately gravitated to her script, which is emotional, funny, tragic and relevant, all at once. And, we are so fortunate to have artist and visionary Common for his first producing project in scripted television.” With that said, it is safe to say , we can expect outstanding music in every episode.
With much attention given to violence in Chicago over the last year via TV as well as on the big screen with films such as Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq”, Waithe’s “The Chi” is most certainly right on time and poised to show a positive perspective of “the windy city.”
In other Showtime news, the cable giant has also ordered the Jamie Foxx series “White Famous,” as a result of viewing the pilot back in June of 2016.
Tim Story directs and executive produces “White Famous,” which stars former SNL cast member Jay Pharaoh as a talented, young African American comedian whose star is rising, forcing him to navigate the treacherous waters of maintaining his credibility as he begins to cross-over towards becoming “white famous.”
The show is based on producer/creator Jamie Foxx’s personal experiences. Foxx will also have a recurring role in the series. “I came up from stand-up comedy, so to be able to share that aspect of my life on screen with a project like ‘White Famous’ is incredibly exciting,” said Foxx. “We couldn’t have found better partners than Showtime Lionsgate and Tom Kapinos to tell this story in the best possible way.”
Keep your eye on the projected break out supporting cast member, Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ride Along, Barbershop: The Next Cut), who plays Pharaoh’s frustrated agent and wants his client to do whatever it takes to make it big or sell out.
Neither show has an official premiere date but based on the recent buzz and Golden Globe win of Donald Glover’s “Atlanta,” Showtime may well ride the wave and bring both series to the small screen sooner than later. (cha-ching to their impending increase in subscribers)