How Kelsey Grammer Made ‘Girlfriends’ Happen and Possibility of Reboot
Created by Mara Brock Akil, the comedy series Girlfriends made its UPN premiere on September 11, 2000.
The show subsequently aired on UPN’s successor, The CW network, and lasted for eight seasons with 172 episodes. But in 2008, after the Writers Guild of America strike, the show was abruptly canceled, with the final episode airing on February 11, 2008.
The sitcom was one of the highest-rated scripted shows on television in the early 2000s. It tackled multiple relevant topics even in today’s society, such as feminism, race, and identity, and how little these aspects had changed.
It chronicled the lives of four friends: Tracee Ellis Ross played Joan Carol Clayton, Golden Brooks played Maya Wilkes, Persia White played Lynn Searcy, and Jill Marie Jones played Toni. The four friends attempted to navigate adult life while leaning on each other.
But the show probably would not have been possible without Fraiser’s star Kelsey Grammer, who served as the show’s executive producer. According to Akil, Grammer was not involved creatively, but having his name attached meant that the show automatically had a higher possibility of getting green-lit.
In an interview with BET, Grammer shared his thoughts on Girlfriends.
Kelsey Grammer on Producing 'Girlfriends'
In 2014, Grammer sat down for an interview with BET to promote his movie The Expendables, and during the interview, he also talked about the hit comedy series.
When asked what made Grammer take a chance on producing Girlfriends when networks were scared to take chances on “black shows,” the actor replied that he had enough of listening to talks of inclusivity from people who had no guts to act on it.
The actor shared that after the success of Fraiser, he had started his own production company. At the time, he had been attending seminars for almost 20 years, and everyone would talk about introducing more people of color.
They would say, “we gotta introduce more people of color, more Asian, our Latino friends, our Browns, and Blacks,” and I was like, that’s a load of crap. These guys never come up with it.
Grammer then put out a call for someone who could write a show for people of color that would be a breakthrough. He eventually worked with Akil and noted that he was happy with what they had achieved. He also complimented Ross for her acting skills.
Grammer also revealed that they had a fantastic idea for a Latino show, but it was never approved.
A 'Girlfriends' Reboot
While promoting her recent TNT series I Am The Night, Brooks commented on the reboot for the series.
She revealed that she got thousands of comments a week from people on social media asking about a Girlfriends reboot. She noted that if it were up to four of them (Ross, White, and Jones) they would be up for a movie reboot.
But the rights to a reboot were reserved for Akil, Grammer, and Paramount.
A reboot might be in the works for all we know.