Live Sessions BET+ - The Family Business

Published on July 10th, 2024 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


The Family Business: Meet the Minds Behind the BET Crime Drama Series

Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting a discussion for The Hype Magazine with New York Times bestselling author Carl Weber, director Trey Haley, and Executive Producer ND Brown. We dug into their explosive BET+ plus crime drama series, “The Family Business”, which has just debuted its fifth season. Based on Weber’s thrilling crime drama book series, the show has revolutionized the industry and brought a fresh dynamic to Black television.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Nikaya Brown, Carl Weber and Trey Haley attends the 54th NAACP Image Awards (Non-Televised Categories) Program and Dinner at L.A. LIVE on February 24, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Arnold Turner/Getty Images for NAACP)

l-r – ND Brown, Carl Weber, Trey Haley – Photo by Arnold Turner/Getty Images for NAACP

During this live session, I also had the chance to express my profound gratitude to ND Brown Jones, one of the Executive Producers of the series. ND is a pivotal figure in my career, giving me my first break in the film industry as the Unit Publicist on the Tri Destined Studios feature film “Sweet Oranges” back in 2001. This moment was a heartfelt acknowledgment of her impact and the significant role she has played in my professional journey.

Weber, Haley, and ND Brown discussed the enduring popularity of the series, attributing it to America’s fascination with mafia stories and relatable family dynamics. Haley emphasized the importance of strong writing, a clear vision, and a talented cast and crew in bringing the show to life. He highlighted the show’s focus on family and loyalty, and its aim to showcase international power dynamics, rather than just black-on-black crime. The portrayal of an international family, headed by Ernie Hudson, is particularly inspiring.

Translation Process, Collaboration, and Directing Responsibilities

I kicked it off with Trey Haley discussing the process of translating the script to screen. Haley shared his enjoyment of the creative process and his collaborative approach, stressing the importance of being open to different perspectives and ideas from all team members. Key to any career path trajectory discussions, Trey laid out the wide-ranging responsibilities of a director, including managing personalities, departments, and unexpected challenges like tardiness or equipment failures. Balancing the needs of different team members while maintaining the creative vision is key, he noted.

Upcoming Season’s Plot and Directional Changes

The conversation shifted to the upcoming season, highlighting new family conflicts and the significant role of women in the storyline. In Season 5, the plot peels back some layers thus unveiling the origins of major characters and portraying the community in a powerful light. This season also features a female director for two episodes, marking a historic moment for the show.

Project Enthusiasm and Casting Process

Collectively, the trio expressed enthusiasm for their current projects. We got exciting news about an upcoming expansion to the book series based on the crime story when Weber revealed that a new book in the “Family Business” series will be released in September. He hinted at a special project involving the Duncans of New Orleans aka spinoff!!! The team also reminisced about working with Patrick Duffy and praised the talent and versatility of the stellar cast. Weber emphasized their unique collaborative casting process and the high regard they have for their team’s input.

Diverse Casting and a Positive Working Environment

Weber and Haley both weighed in on the significance of diverse casting and creating a positive working environment. They agreed on the importance of assembling a production like a sports team, focusing on chemistry and balance. Haley stressed the value of giving opportunities to undiscovered actors while appreciating established collaborators. The team emphasized the importance of authenticity in portraying realistic and meaningful interactions between characters.

Discussing Educational Value in Entertainment

I posed the thought and Haley expanded on the educational value of the show, appreciating how it weaves real-life lessons into its storytelling. This part of the conversation emphasized family values like loyalty, integrity, and supporting one’s children as they grow. Haley noted how the show captures these values amidst the drama, inspiring future generations. I certainly related these principles to my own family dynamic, highlighting the need to lead by example.

Trey’s Directorial Vision and Collaboration

It got really fun when touching on Haley’s directorial vision and approach to maintaining continuity and storytelling details. Haley underscored the significance of collaboration with showrunners and the new director, Veronica, and highlighted the importance of preserving the show’s tone and style. He discussed his ability to balance the perspectives of writers, creators, and actors to deliver a cohesive and satisfying product. Both ND Brown and Weber enjoined with him as he also emphasized the show’s cinematic quality and its ability to weave complex cultural themes and character development into each episode.

Future Projects and Continuing Success

The success of the series on BET+ and its cultural significance was celebrated, with appreciation for its authentic portrayal of black and brown culture. Weber revealed plans for a third season of “The Black Hamptons” and a potential spin-off set in New Orleans. Haley highlighted the total support from the BET network, revealing that other networks had expressed interest in the show but BET made for a welcoming home.

“The Family Business” continues to captivate audiences with its gripping narratives and complex characters, as the series embarks on its fifth season.

Honestly, this was one of the more satisfying conversations about television, Black Television, and storytelling I’ve had this year. Combined with a reunion of sorts that had an intrinsic value, hearing the  unified philosophy of what I would equate to a well-oiled, highly motivated, and dedicated special forces unit brought massive value to the conversation and as such…let me not detract from that… watch the full interview below!!!

Stay connected for more updates on The Family Business, future expansions, and twists!!!


About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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