Kanye West is developing an anthology series for Showtime, currently titled Omniverse, with Jaden Smith attached to star as a younger version of West. Smith will portray a version of West from an alternate dimension somewhere in the multiverse.
West has had his hand in several media projects and business ventures over the years, but this will be his first time working as a TV producer. While his career has often been marked by controversies and odd Twitter ramblings, the Grammy-winning rapper has consistently been a bankable creative talent. Smith, on the other hand, has been actively involved in TV roles while not making music. In the past two years, he appeared in Netflix's The Get Down and voiced the main character in the animated series Neo Yokio. Similar to West, Omniverse will mark Smith's first executive producer credit for TV.
THR describes Omniverse as a half-hour limited anthology series from West, Smith, Scooter Braun, best known as a manager for pop music acts like Justin Bieber, and writer Lee Sung Jin that will examine "the many doors of perception." The first season is set to explore an alternate reality of West and the concept of ego. Jin was quoted as saying the series intends to "add a new spin on alternate realities, conciousness, and push the limits of the half hour narrative." Jin's credits include episodes of HBO's Silicon Valley, Netflix's Tuca & Bertie, and Amazon's upcoming animated series Undone. The pilot script has been commissioned, but whether it'll be a comedy like his previous work or more dramatic is, at this point, unknown.
Omniverse is part of Showtime's push in recent years to present more original prestige programming. Its previous half-hour efforts such as SMILF failed to attract huge audiences despite good reviews, but the network is still actively pursuing and developing new ideas. Shows like Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, The L Word sequel series, Kill Creek, and the Halo TV series are all moving forward and expected to be big major wins for the network. Notably, all of those series are based on existing ideas. Though the details surrounding Omniverse are vague, the show seems to at least be an original idea.
Both West and Smith are equally known for their eccentric antics and their artistry. From their dyed hair to their love of anime to their constant need to be different from their peers, the two are, strangely enough, a perfect match. There's an undeniable novelty in the idea of one playing the other in a story about ego. Although the script itself is coming straight from Jin, West's involvement as a producer is going to be what gets audiences excited. West is known as one of the music industry's brightest creative talents, even if his personal issues at time outshine his artistic output. Showtime seems to be betting on West to be as successful a TV producer as he is a music producer. Omniverse just may be West's most ambitious attempt at a genre-bending masterpiece yet.