EXCLUSIVE: Starz is developing the new comedy series Plan A from writer and executive producer Steven J. Kung (Dear White People, A Leading Man) centering on the Asian American experience. Kung will reunite with Dear White People‘s Justin Simien, who will executive produce through his production company Culture Machine, and Leann Bowen who will serve as showrunner and EP.
Plan A will tell the story of Los Angeles-based Asian Americans who strive for the benchmark of the American Dream – an impressive job and a satisfying love life – all while navigating the cultural expectations of their parents, society, and ultimately, themselves.
“I’ve always wanted to watch a show about people who look like me, just walking around, living their lives, and taking up space,” Kung, who is of Taiwanese heritage, shared in a statement to Deadline. “Starz and Lionsgate have given us an enormous amount of freedom to create Plan Aand it’s allowed me and my extraordinary creative partners Justin Simien and Leann Bowen to take the story to an authentic, edgy, and joyous place.”
Added Simien, “From the moment Steven pitched me the project I was dazzled. I’m so thrilled to be back with Steven and Leann to continue the playful yet bold storytelling we poured our hearts into refining during the writing of the TV series, Dear White People.”
Plan A will be produced by Lionsgate Television for Starz. Directors of Original Programming Tara Roy and Alex Alberts will oversee the series on behalf of Starz. Jocelyn Sabo SVP, Television will oversee for Lionsgate Television.
The series is the latest example of Starz’s commitment to amplifying stories about, by, and for women and underrepresented audiences as part of its #TakeTheLead initiative. The development of Plan A arrives on the heels of other recently announced projects that are also taking the lead—the Marlon Wayans comedy Book of Marlona romantic drama from Ava DuVernay, Lauren Ridloff, and Joshua Jackson, and Vida creator Tanya Saracho’s return to the network, love song.
“We are excited to bring this simultaneously funny and dramatic series to Starz,” said Kathryn Busby, President, Original Programming, Starz. “The show is a wonderful blend of Justin’s visionary talent and the seminal legacy of Dear White People, along with the critically acclaimed creative artistry of Steven and Leann. We are proud that it highlights Starz’s commitment to telling original, sophisticated, and entertaining stories that offer an authentic look at AAPI narratives, told by incredible AAPI creators.”
Kung wrote for Netflix’s Dear White People and he served as a director on ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat during the show’s sixth season. He’s been telling POC, queer and female-forward stories for his entire career, most notably with A Leading Manhis feature film about anti-Asian racism in the entertainment industry.
He is repped by Kaplan Stahler and Artists First.
Simien made his feature-length directorial debut in 2014 with Lionsgate’s Dear White People before expanding the story with a Netflix series of the same name three years later. He served as the show’s head writer and directed several episodes throughout its four-season run.
Up next, he will debut his third feature Disney’s Haunted Mansion in March. Simien is also executive producing a slate of TV projects through his production company, Culture Machine and recently began an overall deal with Paramount TV.
He is repped by CAA, Grandview, and Del Shaw Moonves.
Bowen is a Filipino African American comedy writer who most recently wrote on all three seasons of Apple’s breakout hit Ted Lasso and Guilty Party for Paramount+. Previously, she wrote for all four seasons of Netflix’s Dear White People and Hulus Love You America with Sarah Silverman.
Bowen is repped by 3 Arts, APA, and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.