BET Announces Finalists for Comedy Writer Contest ‘Project CRE8’

BET Announces “Project CRE8” finalists.

BET on Monday revealed the names of the finalists for its nationwide “Project CRE8” comedy writer contest in partnership with The First Wives Club creator Tracy Oliver’s Tracy Yvonne Productions.

After hundreds of scripts were submitted, the competition was narrowed down to five finalists from Arkansas, Texas, California, New York and Wisconsin.

The top scripts came from Taylor Chukwu (Houston, TX); Thaddeus McCants (Madison, WI); Marcus A. Stricklin (Fairbanks, AK); Naman Gupta & Janki Parekh (New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA); and Desiree Thomas (Houston, TX).

[see photos of the finalists below]

Related Story: ‘The First Wives Club’ Renewed for Season 2 on BET Plus

In the next round of the competition, the writers will pitch an original TV comedy to Tracy Oliver and a panel of TV execs, with one writer earning the title of “Project CRE8” winner. The champion will have their winning TV script purchased for $25,000 and the opportunity to develop a comedy series with Tracy Yvonne Productions for BET.

Last year, BET and Paramount Players debuted the “Project CRE8” competition, giving winner Quincy Ledbetter of Brooklyn, NY an opportunity to direct his original script, “Alieu the Dreamer,” which was filmed over the summer and will make is world premiere later this Fall on BET.

Below is more information on this year’s finalists.

Thaddeus McCants
TV Script Title: “Lit Lounge”
Synopsis: A satire on marijuana’s transition from Schedule-I drug to corporate commodity, LIT LOUNGE is a 30-min series about a young Black man’s troubled climb to the top of the legal world of weed.

About Thaddeus: McCants is a Brooklyn-based playwright and television writer originally from Madison, Wisconsin. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Playwriting at NYU, where he is a Tisch Graduate Scholarship Award Recipient; he also holds a BFA in Acting from Ithaca College.

Marcus A. Stricklin
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TV Script Title: “Surviving The 80s”
Synopsis: After a freak electrical storm in 2019, the Harris family suddenly finds themselves trapped in 1983.

About Marcus: Stricklin is a self-described “40 year old big kid,” screenwriter, and an ardent TV and movie enthusiast. He is a husband, and a proud but tired father to 5 amazing children. He was born in Germany on an American Army base, has dual citizenship.

Janki Parekh & Naman Gupta
TV Script Title: “Inconvenient Love”
Synopsis: A rich Indian girl moves in with her broke dentist boyfriend, defying cultural bias and breaking her strict father’s one simple rule: no black guys.

About Janki and Naman: Parekh enjoys highlighting social issues and presenting them through comedy. She has lived in India, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Los Angeles. All these places are home to her. Gupta enjoys blending fiction with contemporary social issues. He grew up moving around India (military brat), and now calls Los Angeles & New York home.

Desiree Thomas
TV Script Title: “Uncle Cole”
Synopsis: Cole is an ex-con who scams his way into becoming the caregiver for his young niece in order to avoid going back to prison. But when he’s lured back into his old criminal life – this lifelong con artist is forced to balance being a role model with being a hustler.

About Desiree: Thomas is a born creative. She started directing plays in kindergarten (peers would have to confirm if she was a visionary or just a bossy little kid). She stumbled into writing in junior high school – when the theatre elective class was full. Creative writing was her LAST CHOICE as an elective, and now she loves it.