W. Kamau Bell Launches Who Knows Best Productions, Inks Overall Deal with Boardwalk Pictures (EXCLUSIVE)

On the heels of winning a Peabody Award for the Showtime docuseries “We Need to Talk About Cosby,” W. Kamau Bell has launched a new production company, Who Knows Best, and inked an overall deal with Boardwalk Pictures.

Bell, an Emmy-winning producer, director, host and comedian, founded Who Knows Best Productions (WKB), an Oakland-based company, with the mission of “fostering a diverse creative community and telling revolutionary non-fiction stories by any medium necessary.”

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WKB launches with a multi-year overall deal with Boardwalk Pictures (the award-winning production company behind “Chef’s Table,” “Cheer” and “Welcome to Wrexham”) after the parties partnered on the critically acclaimed four-part documentary “We Need to Talk About Cosby.”

“I’m super excited for the opportunity to highlight stories and talent from the Bay Area — and specifically Oakland — alongside a powerhouse production company like Boardwalk Pictures,” stated Bell, a Bay Area resident for more than 20 years, announcing the deal.

Under the new pact, WKB will create both unscripted and scripted non-fiction projects that are “dedicated to shining a light on untold stories from Oakland and beyond.”

“I’ve learned through working with them now for several years that the name ‘Boardwalk’ comes from the idea that a Boardwalk is a communal gathering space That is exactly the type of place that I want to foster in Oakland with WKB, a place where talent can learn and grow,” Bell added. “I’m extremely grateful to the team at Boardwalk for their partnership, collaboration and trust. And I very much look forward to amplifying Bay Area stories and voices.”

News of the partnership comes as Boardwalk Pictures expands its television output through its originals division, headed by executive VP Sarina Roma and with the addition of Jane Yusim, senior VP of originals development. Since its founding by Andrew Fried in 2010, Boardwalk’s slate of projects — which also includes recent hits “Rennervations” on Disney+ and HBO Max’s “The Big Brunch” — have garnered more than 20 Emmy nominations, with 4 wins, among other accolades.

In a statement, Roma explained why Bell and his new company make a good match: “Kamau is a creative and artful storyteller who sees the full picture: humor, injustice, nuance. He understands the power of sharing a compelling narrative for broad audiences, and we are thrilled to partner with him to further amplify the community and the stories that are so special to him.”

Most recently, Bell directed and executive produced the HBO Max documentary “1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed,” which premiered earlier this month and chronicles the joys and struggles of multiracial children and their families in the Bay Area. The project is the follow up to “We Need To Talk About Cosby,” which premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and went on earn four Emmy nominations, a Gotham Award win for breakthrough nonfiction series, and a Peabody award in the documentary category. Bell also hosted and executive produced of the Emmy Award-winning CNN original series “United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell.”

He is represented by WME, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.

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