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Kelly Rowland and Diggy Simmons will be joining the BET family. According to online sources, Rowland, a former member of the multi-platinum selling girl group Destiny’s Child, has been selected to star in a comedy pilot titled, “What Would Dylan Do?” Rowland’s character, Dylan, is a relationship blogger who lives with a group of friends in Los Angeles.
This will be Rowland’s first leading role in an original series; however, it is not the entertainer’s first time acting. Her television and film credits include ‘The Hughley’s,’ ‘Girlfriends,’ ‘The Game,’ ‘Freddie vs. Jason’ and ‘The Seat Filler.’ Rounding out the cast are Gabrielle Dennis (Cherise), Melanie Liburd (Brooke) and Brandon Scott (Ryan).
Warren Hutcherson will serve as executive producer for “Dylan”. He is an accomplished scriptwriter (“Saturday Night Live” and “Living Single”) and producer (“The Parenthood,” “Moesha,” “The Bernie Mac Show,” “Just Jordan” and “Everybody Hates Chris”). Julian Breece of BET’s online series, Buppies, will write and co-executive produce the show.
Diggy Simmons will star in a yet-to-be-titled project helmed by husband/wife duo Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil. Deadline reports that the two-hour pilot will be “a fresh and edgy look at Diggy, his life as a blogger, and the close group of loyal friends who hold him down on his rise to the top.” Simmons will play the lead, Blake, and will be joined by Allan Maldonado (Manny), Teyana Taylor (Tae), Chris Brew (Dot), Bria Murphy (Nia) and Stephanie Charles (Sheri).
Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil will executive produce the pilot, while Salim will also take on the role of director. The twosome has a long and successful history in the television and film industry. Akil began working on the successful Showtime series “Soulfood” as a writer and worked his way up to Executive Producer. He has also written and produced independent films as well as feature films, such as ‘Sparkle’ starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks, which he also directed.
Brock Akil was a writer for “Moesha,” starring Brandy, for four seasons before taking on duties as supervising producer and writer on The Jamie Foxx Show in 1999. She went on to create and executive produce, alongside Kelsey Grammer, the hit series “Girlfriends” in 2000. “The Game,” a spinoff of “Girlfriends,” was also created and executive produced by Brock Akil.
BET networks, who has long been criticized for displaying ‘shallow content’, has steeped its game up in recent years. Many feel that the transformation began when the network picked up “The Game,” which had been cancelled by UPN. Whatever the case may be, the network is showing no signs of deterring from the new direction.
“Dylan” and the Diggy Simmons project have the potential to join a line-up that includes “The Game” starring Hosea Chanchez, “Reed Between the Lines” starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and the “Real Husbands of Hollywood” starring Kevin Hart.