Oprah Winfrey Network continues to ramp up its slate with a series green light to an hourlong coming-of-age drama from Moonlight co-writer/executive producer Tarell Alvin McCraney and Warner Horizon Scripted Television, the studio behind the network’s hit drama series Queen Sugar, from Ava DuVernay.
The yet-to-be-titled series is created, written and executive produced by McCraney, with Revenge and Swingtown creator Mike Kelley, his producing partner Melissa Loy and actor Michael B. Jordan (Creed) also executive producing. Set in South Florida at the end of the Obama legacy, the show, inspired by events in McCraney’s own life, explores the precarious balance needed for the making of a man. Haunted by the death of his closest friend, and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty, a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out.
“I wanted to explore the pivotal steps towards adulthood and identity, the ones we take when we think or feel we have no other choice,” said McCraney.
The series, McCraney’s first foray into television, will be produced for OWN by Kelley and Loy’s Page Fright and Jordan’s Outlier Productions in association with Warner Horizon.
“When Tarell shared his powerful story with us there wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” said Oprah Winfrey. “I knew this was something special that our viewers will without a doubt connect to and feel compelled to explore with us. I am honored to be working with Tarell and the rest of the producers on this project.”
McCraney shared a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar with Barry Jenkins for co-writing the 2016 film Moonlight, which also won for Best Picture. The movie was based on McCraney’s semi-autobiographical script In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. McCraney currently serves as the chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.
In addition to Creed, Jordan has co-starred in Fruitvale Station, Friday Night Lights and The Wire.
The McCraney drama will join OWN’s recently picked up dramedy series Love Is __ from Mara Brock Akil, Salim Akil and Warner Horizon, along with current series Queen Sugar and Greenleaf, both just renewed for third seasons, and Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots and If Loving You Is Wrong.