Oprah Winfrey is reuniting with “Selma” writer-director Ava DuVernay for an original scripted drama that will air on Winfrey’s OWN channel and feature the former talk-show host in a recurring role.
DuVernay will write, direct and executive produce the project adapted from “Queen Sugar,” the debut novel by Natalie Baszile. The series, according to a release from OWN, will revolve around a “spirited woman who leaves her upscale Los Angeles lifestyle behind to claim an inheritance from her recently departed father — an 800-acre sugar cane farm in the heart of Louisiana.
“Her world and identity are turned upside down as she and her teenage daughter attempt to navigate a new and very different environment.”
Winfrey will also be an executive producer and appear “in multiple episodes,” marking the first time that the head of a network has taken on an acting role on a scripted series aired on that network. Winfrey, who has several acting credits including her Oscar-nominated role in “The Color Purple,” appears on other nonscripted OWN series.
“I love this book and immediately saw it as a series for OWN,” Winfrey said in a statement. “The story’s themes of reinventing your life, parenting alone, family connections and conflicts and building new relationships are what I believe will connect our viewers to this show.”
No other casting was announced for the drama, which is scheduled to begin production later this year.
Winfrey and DuVernay worked together on the recent Martin Luther King Jr. film “Selma,” which has been nominated for a best picture Oscar. DuVernay directed the film, and Winfrey served as one of the producers and has a supporting role as civil rights protester Annie Lee Cooper.
The series will be the first scripted project on OWN not produced by Tyler Perry, who has four scripted series on the network.