Occupation: TV writer and producer
Previous TIME 100 appearances: 0
Having honed her writing chops on sitcoms like The Jamie Foxx Show and Moesha, Mara Brock Akil struck out on her own with the UPN (later to become the CW) series Girlfriends and its football spin-off The Game. Her shows, starring almost entirely African-American cast members, offer a rare glimpse into the lives of middle- and upper-middle-class black adults dealing with love, family and career issues. When Girlfriends was unceremoniously canceled in 2008, despite strong ratings, Akil focused her energy on The Game, developing a loyal, though not ratings-busting, audience. In 2009, when the CW decided to also drop that show, petitions and fan groups sprung up in attempts to revive it, and Akil and members of the cast campaigned on the show's behalf. In April 2010, BET announced that it would produce new episodes of the series. Its Jan. 11 premiere was the talk of social media with results to back it up: the episode drew 7.7 million viewers, making it the biggest ad-supported sitcom telecast in the history of cable.