OWN Scraps Salim Akil’s ‘Love Is __’ Despite WB Inquiry Into Misconduct Yielding ‘No Accusations’

“Love Is” was cable channel’s lowest-rated scripted drama

Last Updated: December 19, 2018 @ 12:09 PM

OWN has reversed its decision to renew the drama “Love Is__,” less than a month after co-creator Salim Akil was first accused of domestic violence by a former girlfriend.

“OWN has decided not to move forward with the second season of ‘Love Is __,'” the network said in a statement. “The TV memoir was inspired by the real-life love story of producers Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.”

The network’s move to scrap the series is said to be unrelated to the abuse allegation or the subsequent Warner Bros. inquiry, but it comes months after the network first announced that it had renewed the show, co-created by Akil and his wife and producing partner Mara Brock Akil, for a second season.

Warner Bros. Television launched its inquiry into Akil’s professional behavior last month, after a former girlfriend accused Akil of domestic violence in a lawsuit, saying she had engaged in a decade-long sexual relationship with the writer-producer, during which time he abused her on multiple occasions. Akil has denied the accusations.

According to an individual familiar with the situation, the inquiry has since concluded and “no accusations or allegations” of misconduct were found.

Akil will stay on as showrunner of The CW’s “Black Lightning,” which is also produced by WBTV and remains in production on its currently-airing second season.

Akil’s former girlfriend, Amber Dixon Brenner, filed a pair of lawsuits last month, accusing Akil of abuse and copyright infringement. In addition to multiple instances of alleged domestic violence, Brenner also claimed in the lawsuits that Akil stole the idea for “Love Is” from an unproduced screenplay of hers.

The copyright claim has since been dismissed in court, but the assault case is still moving forward.

Akil has denied all of Brenner’s claims, with a statement from his lawyer earlier this month calling the allegations “deeply upsetting” and “totally untrue.”

“We will defend Salim to the fullest against the false and offensive claims that a woman with whom he had a past relationship has included in multiple unsubstantiated lawsuits,” said his attorney Stephen D. Barnes. “Salim looks forward to clearing his name and to being able to focus on his work and his family.”

Inspired by the Akils’ real-life relationship, the first season of “Love Is” followed Nuri (Michele Weaver) and Yasir (Will Catlett) as a couple chasing their dreams in 1990s Los Angeles. Loretta Devine, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Tim Reid, Tosin Morohunfola, Tammy Townsend and Michael King also starred.

The show was OWN’s lowest-rated scripted drama, behind both Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar” and Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots.” The 10-episode averaged 1.2 million viewers per episode, with three days of delayed viewing.