UPN, riding high with its new Chris Rock sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris,” has joined forces with Grammy-winning R&B singer Alicia Keys to develop a drama loosely based on her childhood.
The coming-of-age story will follow a girl from a biracial family. Keys, 24, was born to a white mother and a black father, who split up when she was two. She was raised in the gritty Hell’s Kitchen area of New York by her mother, started learning classical piano at six and frequently ventured up to Harlem to absorb the lifestyle.
Keys will serve as an executive producer of the project, which has received a script commitment from the network. The script will be written by Felicia Henderson, whose series credits include Showtime’s “Soul Food,” UPN’s “Moesha” and NBC’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Meanwhile, Kiss rocker Gene Simmons is among the personalities featured in one of several new real-life series in production at A&E Network.
“Gene Simmons Family Jewels” will feature Simmons; his partner, Shannon Tweed, a former “Playboy” Playmate of the Year, actress and model; and their kids, Nick and Sophie. A&E senior VP Nancy Dubuc describes the kids as “articulate, funny and bright,” which contrasts with their “wild and crazy” parents. This project follows a one-hour special on Simmons that aired under the “Biography” banner.