BET+’s First Wives Club really gave us something to celebrate in Season 2: a hopeful outlook for our best gals!
Hazel (Jill Scott), who fought throughout Season 1 to get what she was owed from her trifling and unrepentant cheater husband Derek (Malik Yoba), found new love with her Jamaican boo Nigel (Mikhail Keize) in Season 2.
They faced several key challenges in their relationship, including a significant age gap and different income levels. Despite these obstacles, however, the pair wrapped up the season blissfully in love and engaged. In more great news, it looks like her new record label is popping off, now that Regina (Deborah Cox) has formed a girl group with Kelly Price, Chanté Moore and Shanice.
Meanwhile, Ari (Ryan Michelle Bathé) and her husband David (Mark Tallman) bore the brunt of a long-distance relationship — he stayed in New York to pursue his political aspirations, while Ari opened her own law firm in Los Angeles — and weren’t on the same page for most of the season. David, though, came through in the end with a grand romantic gesture that saw him fly across the country to show Ari he loved her rather than continue to take her for granted.
Plus, Bree (Michelle Buteau) turned down a romantic invitation from her hunky new superior (played by Gary Dourdan) to focus on her marriage to Gary (RonReaco Lee). The pair continued to struggle with balancing their busy schedules and romantic lives and made the important decision to return to therapy.
With so many breakthroughs this season — including the addition of newcomer Jayla (Michelle Mitchenor) — TVLine hit up creator and showrunner Tracy Oliver to tease what’s ahead if the series gets renewed for Season 3. Plus, Oliver gave us an update on that anticipated Girls Trip sequel and teased what to expect in her upcoming Amazon Prime series, Harlem.
TVLINE | Did you always know you were going to end the season with a performance by Regina, Kelly Price, Chanté Moore and Shanice? Can we expect to see this super group again if the show gets renewed?
Very early in the writers’ room, someone sent me an Instagram video of Tamia and Deborah Cox doing a duet together, and it inspired me to think about how cool it would be if we could pull together a group of R&B divas and they all could perform together at the end. I thought it would be a nice sisterhood moment and another opportunity for me to homage the original movie if they were all wearing white. I was hoping that all of these ladies would say yes, but since we were shooting in COVID, I wasn’t sure they would. I was ecstatic that they all agreed. It was pretty surreal to have all of them and the fabulous Jill Scott together in one scene. I haven’t decided yet if we’ll see them again in future seasons, but I do know this: Fans of the show want to see a real-life tour. The response to the fictional “Ladies First” tour has been incredible.
TVLINE | Season 1 focused heavily on getting even or trying to be heard. This season, we see Hazel, Ari and Bree in the trenches of their relationships and trying to make things work. Why was it important to tell those stories this season?
I wanted to show that marriage and all types of relationships take work and effort, that even if you call off a divorce and get back together, it doesn’t mean you’ll just live happily ever after with no conflicts. In the first season, I really wanted to honor the essence of the original movie, and in Season 2, I was trying to move beyond that premise and really explore the challenges of modern dating and relationships. Relationships are hard work and take effort from both parties in order to work. With Ari and David, we got a chance to explore long-distance relationships between two career-driven people, and with Bree and Gary, we got a chance to see some of those relationship conflicts that lead to their separation in the first place and seeing them try to work through it in therapy, and with Hazel and Nigel, there’s a noticeable age gap and difference in income levels that we are exploring. It was important for us to delve into different kinds of relationships and, in a comedic way, explore the challenges of trying to maintain them.
TVLINE | You also introduced Jayla this season. How do you think that will affect the dynamic of the group moving forward, especially with Ari in Los Angeles?
I loved Jayla’s character, and the actress Michelle Mitchenor, who plays her, was such a joy to work with. We absolutely want her to stay in the friend circle as she was a good addition to the main crew. I really hope to have Ari back in New York with our girls in a bigger capacity in Season 3, as I, like many of the fans of the show, love seeing all three ladies — Hazel, Bree, and Ari — together in the same physical space. They have amazing chemistry together, which I think comes from them being friends in real life and all of them being fire signs (two Leos and an Aries).
TVLINE | Have you heard anything about Season 3? Are there plans to make another? If so, what do you hope to tackle next season?
Absolutely. It’s a top-performing show for BET+, and they would love to do a Season 3, provided all the cast’s schedules can work out. I’m very hopeful it will all come together. In a Season 3, there are so many options on the table for directions to go in. I haven’t landed on anything specifically yet, but there will definitely be new love interests showing up and more surprise cameos.
TVLINE | Between First Wives Club, Run the World, Harlem and so many others, we’re seeing a surge in projects centered on Black female friendships. Why do you think that’s happening right now? What would you attribute that to?
Honestly, Girls Trip! Girls Trip was the sole reason that the Paramount execs offered me First Wives Club. They had developed an earlier version that didn’t end up going to series, and after they saw Girls Trip, I got a call about First Wives Club because they thought I might have an interesting and fun take for a TV adaptation. I’m positive a big part of the reason Amazon ordered Harlem to series was also the massive success of Girls Trip. There was this idea prior to it coming out and making $150 million that Black women weren’t commercially appealing in the same way as white women. But Girls Trip came and kicked that door down, and now I’m so grateful that I get to do shows like this, where I can explore Black love, Black sisterhood, and Black joy.
TVLINE | You’ve got another show, Harlem, coming out. What are you most excited to explore with that series? What can you tease about it?
Tonally, it’s more grounded than First Wives Club, and the characters are closer to my age range and where I am in life, as a single woman in my thirties looking for love. One of the random things I’m excited about is an original Broadway musical that we produced as a spoof but turned out to kind of be amazing. I love it, and I hope that Jordan Peele will as well when he sees it. I’ll leave it at that.
TVLINE | Any word on Girls Trip 2? Is that happening?
It’s the craziest thing. I am ready to write it. Tiffany Haddish is ready to do it, along with the rest of the cast. Tiffany and I spoke several months ago about how we could make it happen. Nothing yet, but the interest and desire to do it is there.
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