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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bryshere Y. Gray of “Empire” is among the stars of BET’s drama about influential boy band New Edition.

BET said Wednesday that Gray will play band member Michael Bivins in the three-part “New Edition: The Movie.”

He will be joined by Elijah Kelley (“The Butler”) as Ricky Bell; singer-songwriter Luke James as Johnny Gill; Algee Smith (“Let It Shine”) as Ralph Tresvant; Keith Powers (“Straight Outta Compton”) as Ronnie Devoe, and Woody McClain (“Autographs”) as Bobby Brown.


Keith Powers


Woody McClain

The actors who will play the singers as youngsters include Dante Hoagland; Caleb McLaughlin; Jahi Winston; Myles Truitt and Tyler Williams.

Principal photography will start next month in Los Angeles, with the miniseries scheduled to debut on BET in 2017. The executive producer is Jesse Collins, with Chris Robinson directing the drama that BET said will follow the group from middle school through the ups and downs of fame.

New Edition was formed in 1978 and produced hits including “Candy Girl” and “Cool It Now.” The group helped pave the way for the boy-band wave of the 1980s and ’90s that included Boyz II Men, New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys.

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