Former Columbia College Chicago Theatre Student Snags Deal to Develop New TV Series for HBO

Fatimah Asghar and Samantha Bailey

Sam Bailey, a former student in the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department’s Acting program, has secured a deal with HBO to develop a new, still-untitled TV series based on Brown Girls, a webseries that Bailey directs.

As previously reported in this blog, Brown Girls, which debuted online in February at, is written by poet Fatimah Asghar. It focuses on the friendship between two young women, a queer Pakistani-American writer and a black musician—a storyline partially based on the real-life relationship between Asghar and her best friend, musician Jamila Woods. The new TV show will be produced by 3Arts and MXN Entertainment.

“HBO has put in development Brown Girls, a comedy series based on the OpenTV web series, which debuted on in February,” Deadline Hollywood reported June 6. “The duo behind the breakout web series, writer Fatimah Asghar and director Samantha Bailey, also will shepherd the TV adaptation as writer/executive producer and director/executive producer, respectively. Brown Girls centers on a queer Pakistani-American writer and a commitment-phobic Black-American musician who rely on their friendship and sisterhood as they try to rise above their lives’ messiness in pursuit of their dreams.”

Sam Bailey

“The web series world felt like a safe space where I could experiment and explore all the complexities of being a human,” says Bailey in an interview with announcing the HBO deal. “Black and brown people and queer folks don’t get that opportunity or rarely get that opportunity in TV. It’s been a really great space for me. But I do think that TV allows you to reach a larger audience. Representation is real and I think the more these shows get greenlit, the more creators get to show these different aspects of people. We’re so used to being pigeonholed and having these one-dimensional characters. The more these stories exist and the more we get to see them, the more we’ll be humanized.”

Stay tuned . . .