Mara Brock Akil (born Mara Dionne Brock, May 27, 1970) is an American screenwriter and television producer. She created UPN comedy series Girlfriends (2000–2008) and its spin-off The Game (2006–2015). She later created the first drama series for BET Being Mary Jane (2013–2019). In 2018, she produced Black Lightning for The CW and created Love Is for Oprah Winfrey Network.
Brock Akil first began writing for television in 1994 writing for the critically acclaimed but short-lived Fox series South Central. In 1999, she served as supervising producer and writer on The Jamie Foxx Show after writing for Moesha for four seasons. In 2000, Brock Akil created and executive produced (along with Kelsey Grammer) another UPN series, Girlfriends. She also created and executive produced a spin-off to Girlfriends, The Game. In 2009, Brock Akil became a consulting producer and writer for the ABC suburban sitcom Cougar Town. She is the creator of BET’s Being Mary Jane, which premiered in 2013.
Brock Akil went straight to UPN and sold her idea for her hit series to the network. She shopped the series around to studios to start the filming process, but, even though the show sold to a major network, no filming company wanted to take the bait. She struck a deal with Kelsey Grammer, and his involvement with Paramount Pictures was able to sign on as an executive producer for the show. Girlfiends premiered on September 11, 2000, and became a part of UPN’s Monday night prime time line up. Chronicling the life of Joan Clayton, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, and her three friends, the show ran for eight seasons, lasting through the production switch from UPN and the launch of The CW network. The show’s two-part series finale aired on the CW on February 11, 2008.
Following the launch of the CW network, Brock Akil created a spin-off series to her first show that follows the life of Joan’s cousin, Melanie Barnett, played by Tia Mowry. She places her dreams of being a doctor on hold and moves to San Diego to be a supportive backbone to her boyfriend, professional football player Derwin Davis, played by Pooch Hall. The series ran on the CW network for three seasons until its abrupt ending in 2009. The show was canceled for about two years until it was picked up by BET and began production in Atlanta. The Game brought in 7.7 million viewers in its Season 4 premiere on BET. After adding six more seasons to the series, the network released a statement on its website stating that the show would conclude after production of the seventh and eighth seasons.
With an already established relationship with the BET network, Brock Akil worked alongside her husband to co-write and produce their first show on BET. Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union premiered July 2, 2013, and became the couple’s first hour-long scripted show. The show chronicles the life of Mary Jane Paul, a successful news anchor, and attempts to address the statistic that within the black community 42 percent of successful women will never marry.
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