Yvette Lee Bowser has been involved with several iconic Black series such as A Different World, Half & Half and Dear White People, and she’s bringing fans another one.
Bowser, the executive producer and showrunner of Starz’s upcoming show, Run the World, recently sat down with ET’s Melicia Johnson to open up about what makes the new series different from its predecessors.
Based in Harlem, New York, Run the World stars Amber Stevens West, Andrea Bordeaux, Bresha Webb and Corbin Reid as four fiercely loyal friends who work to juggle the trials and tribulations of being successful career women while navigating their romantic relationships and their connections to one another. As the show’s logline reads, “at its core, it’s an unapologetically female show about enviable friendship and not only surviving – but thriving together.”
Bowser is known for creating and executive producing Living Single, the Fox sitcom that ran for five seasons and followed the lives of six friends living in a Brooklyn brownstone. Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Erika Alexander, Kim Fields, John Henton and T.C. Carson starred in the series. Much like Run the World, the show focused on four Black women and their bonds with one another. It’s a trend of celebrating Black lives that the producer is happy to continue.
“It’s such a blessing to have been able to continue on this road and to usher in a new generation of strong, Black, unapologetic, flawed and hilarious women, multifaceted women,” Bowser told ET. “I mean, it’s a dream come true. Honestly, I didn’t even dream as big as my life when I was a kid. It means everything to me to be able to do this time and time again and to also shepherd new voices into the landscape.”
She added that while she understands that people will naturally compare the Starz series to beloved shows with similar formats — pointing out that the success of those shows “paved the way” for the series to exist — changing times called for a new story.
“Every generation of women should get to tell their stories in their time… I mean, the times have changed. Our lives have become more hectic, more complex,” she said. “Also, the ages of these women are different. The women on Living Single were in their twenties, and your life in your twenties is very different from your life in your thirties, very different from your life in your forties.”
Bowser explained that the characters being in their thirties mean they are confronting a time of “great uncertainty” about all the things they thought they would have already accomplished at their age. “For many of us, we’re on this path that we’re deciding if it’s right for us or not. It’s a tremendous time of upheaval and uncertainty,” she pointed out. “So, to have amazing, enviable friendships to lean on and to prop you up has even more significance. To know that, oh, another decade has passed, and these girls are still by my side. It’s pretty special. I mean, I’m older than these ladies, and I have girlfriends from elementary school. They’re some of the most special and important relationships in my life.”
Bowser’s Living Single days aren’t totally behind her — Alexander, who played Maxine “Max” Felice Shaw on the series — also stars as a recurring guest on Run the World. The showrunner called her presence on the cast “a dream come true” and revealed that they joke about Alexander continually playing a fictionalized version of Bowser in her shows. And since she’s open to working with her former cast again, there remains the ultra-important question of whether Bowser could see a Living Single reunion come to fruition, such as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion that aired on HBO Max.
Although she stressed that there would never be a reboot of the classic series, Bowser said she’s “all for” a cast reunion if the stars are open to it. “Let’s gather, gang,” she said. “Let’s give the people what they want.”
Run the World will premiere on Starz on May 16 at 8:30/7:30c.
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