HBO is taking another stride into the multiplatform universe, striking an overall production deal with Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan.

The pact calls for the pair to develop scripted series and comedy specials in addition to exclusive content for new media.

The first project to go forward is series pilot The Unsuccessful Thug, a comedy from Mike Epps about a small-time criminal's transition into standup comedy. Production begins shortly, says Variety.