HBO Inks Simmons Lathan

Home Box Office reached a multifaceted deal with Simmons Lathan Media Group that will include series, specials and other projects.

The production company -- owned by Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan -- will initially scripted series and comedy specials, the network said. HBO will also have exclusive rights to Simmons and Lathan for all cross-production platforms.

Simmons and Lathan are no strangers to HBO. They began working with the network in 1989 on long-running series Def Comedy Jam, and they are currently executive producers of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, which launched in 2001 and is set to return for a new season later in 2006.