Burbank, CA (December 18, 2015) – Today ABC Family confirmed cast for the scripted comedy “Nicki.” Ariana Neal (“Get Hard,” “Fruitvale Station”) will play Nicki, a role inspired by Nicki Minaj in her early years before she became a Grammy Award-nominated, multiplatinum superstar; Selita Ebanks (“Real Husbands of Hollywood“) will play the role of Grace, Nicki’s mom; Wesley Jonathan (“The Soul Man”) will play Vincent, Nicki and Jaylen’s father; and McCarrie McCausland (“Army Wives,” “The Originals”) is cast as Jaylen, Nicki’s older brother. Whoopi Goldberg will guest star as Nicki’s neighbor, Miss Martha. Minaj is executive producer and will also appear in the show. ABC Family is becoming Freeform on January 12, 2016.
The single-camera comedy is inspired by the story of Minaj and her family’s immigration from Trinidad in the early 1990s, her growing up in Queens, New York with her vibrant family, and the personal and musical evolution that lead to her eventual rise to stardom. In October, ABC Family announced a series commitment for the half-hour comedy. “Nicki” will shoot in Queens this winter with director Tim Story (“Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man”).
Kate Angelo (“Sex Tape,” “Will and Grace,” “Bernie Mac”) penned the pilot and will write and executive-produce the series. Minaj, Aaron Kaplan (“Life in Pieces,” “Kevin From Work”), Stella Bulochnikov and Brian Sher (“Boss”), and Gee Roberson will also serve as executive producers.
Part of the Disney|ABC Television Group, ABC Family (to be renamed Freeform on January 12, 2016) is distributed in 94 million homes. The network connects to audiences and goes beyond entertainment with bold original programming and immersive social engagement. The network delivers a unique mix of quality original and acquired series, plus fan favorite movies and the holiday events “13 Nights of Halloween” and “25 Days of Christmas”. WATCH ABC Family (also to be renamed Freeform) is a service which allows viewers with participating TV subscription services access to 24/7 live viewing of the network, as well as continued on-demand access via a wide array of devices.