Moonlight co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney has set his first TV project and is teaming up with Michal B. Jordan on an untitled straight-to-series drama for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN.
The coming-of-age story follows a 14-year-old boy, haunted by the death of his closest friend and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty, who must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out.
Set in South Florida at the end of the Obama legacy, the lyrical drama inspired by events in McCraney’s own life explores the precarious balance needed for the making of a man.
“When Tarell shared his powerful story with us there wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” said Winfrey in a statement. “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 will create, write and executive produce the coming-of-age drama from Warner Horizon Scripted Television, with Mike Kelley and Melissa Loy serving as executive producers under their Page Fright production banner alongside Jordan, who will also serve as an EP via his Outlier Productions.
This series pickup marks another aggressive push into prestige dramas for Winfrey’s network following the success of Ava Duvernay’s critically-acclaimed Queen Sugar, which has seen a steady increase in ratings and which was recently renewed for a third season. The network also recently picked up a dramedy series from husband and wife producing partners Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, inspired by their own relationship.
McCraney won an Academy Award for co-writing 2016 Best Picture winner Moonlight with director Barry Jenkins and currently serves as the chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. He is represented by CAA, Corinne Hayoun at MANAGE-MENT, and attorney Tara Kole at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.
Linda Ge | TV Editor