Issa Rae, HBO partner for Black TV history documentary, Report

Issa Rae, HBO partner for Black TV history documentary, Report
Issa Rae, HBO partner for Black TV history documentary, Report

HBO has greenlit a two-part documentary about Black representation on television, with Issa Rae as one of its executive producers.

The “Insecure” creator and star is set to executive produce a two-part documentary called “Seen & Heard” on the history of Black television from the perspective of those who wrote, produced, created and starred in series of the past and present.

“Who Killed Malcolm X?’ helmer Phil Bertelsen is on board to direct the doc which will feature interviews with actors, showrunners, writers, and celebrities sharing their experiences of watching African Americans represented on TV and succeeding in their own creative endeavors. The doc will also incorporate archival material and verité-driven segments.

“Black people have such a rich, but often unacknowledged history in Hollywood,” said Rae. “We have defined American culture and influenced generations time and time again across the globe. I’m honored to pair with Ark Media to center and celebrate the achievements of those who paved a way for so many of us to tell our stories on television.”

In other Rae-related HBO news, the premium cabler has announced a premiere date for “Coastal Elites,” a quarantine special about politics and the coronavirus pandemic in which Rae is set to star.

The special, which hails from playwright and screenwriter Paul Rudnick and “Bombshell” director Jay Roach, will debut Sept. 12 on HBO. Bette Midler, Kaitlyn Dever, Dan Levy, and Sarah Paulson will also star as a group of characters who will each deliver a confessional on their grapple with politics, culture, and the pandemic.

Other executive producers on “Seen & Heard” include Montrel McKay of Issa Rae Productions, Jonathan Berry and David Becky from 3 Arts Entertainment, and Rachel Dretzin and Esther Dere from Ark Media.

The doc and premiere date were announced along with several other projects as part of HBO’s summer press tour.

Also unveiled was a docuseries from Mark and Jay Duplass called “The Lady and The Dale,” exploring an audacious 1970s auto scam centered around a mysterious entrepreneur.

This represents the latest collaboration between HBO and the Duplass brothers, who created the anthology series “Room 104” for the network. The series traces the story of Elizabeth Carmichael, who rose to prominence when she released a fuel-efficient three-wheeled vehicle during the 1970s gas crisis. It is expected to air in 2021.

“We are excited to be collaborating yet again with HBO in the docu-series space, and for the chance to bring the complex story of Liz Carmichael and her three-wheeled car to life,” said Mark and Jay Duplass.

Additionally, HBO confirmed its substantial documentary slate for the second half of 2020. Take a look at the docs coming to HBO below:

“The Vow”

Debuting August 23, is an HBO documentary series from Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer that follows a range of people who joined the self-improvement group, NXIVM. The organization has been under siege, with various charges including sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy brought against its highest members – most notably founder Keith Raniere, who was convicted in June 2019 and is currently awaiting sentencing.


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