Music artists Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson are expanding their repertoires in the television industry. According to Deadline, Thompson and Trotter have inked a first-look deal with Universal Television and Universal Television Alternative Studio to create projects through their production company Two One Five Entertainment.
Under the three-year deal, the two will collaborate with Universal Television to develop a variety of non-scripted and scripted programs. The deal comes on the heels of their success with the AMC docuseries Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America which The Roots members executive produced alongside Alex Gibney and Shawn Gee. The series delved into the narratives behind some of hip-hop’s most influential songs. Two One Five Entertainment has a slate of projects that include Black Woodstock which highlights the history behind the 1969 Harlem Cultural & Arts Festival, Soul Train the Musical and Black No More.
Both Thompson and Trotter are excited about the Universal Television partnership. “This deal is very important to us as we’ve been content producers and storytellers for our entire career,” Thompson said in a statement. “Tariq and I see this as the next chapter to our careers, and we are very involved in the entire process. I’m directing, Tariq is writing and we both are producing.” Trotter added that he and Thompson want to use their production company as a safe space for music-centered storytelling.
The first-look deal will extend The Roots’ relationship with NBC. The leadership team at the network is looking forward to expanding their partnership. “The band has been a cornerstone of NBC’s late-night programming for over a decade, and we are excited to extend our collaboration across a diverse slate of projects to bring even more compelling storytelling to our audience,” Meredith Ahr, President, NBC Alternative and Reality Group, said in a statement.
The deal comes at a time where there is a need for more diversity in top-line production leadership in television and film.