LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oprah Winfrey and the director of the Oscar-nominated movie “Selma” are creating a drama series for Winfrey’s TV channel.
The project from Winfrey and filmmaker Ava DuVernay is inspired by the Natalie Baszile novel “Queen Sugar,” the OWN channel said Monday.
Winfrey will serve as executive producer and will play a recurring role, the network said. DuVernay will write, direct and executive produce the drama, her first TV series.
Former talk show queen Winfrey increased her presence on OWN’s non-scripted programs (including “Oprah Presents: Master Class”) to help steady the channel after its rocky start. The new drama will mark her acting debut on OWN after several big-screen projects and network TV movies.
Winfrey’s recent movies include “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and DuVernay’s film about the 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Selma,” which earned DuVernay a best-director nod at last month’s Golden Globe awards, is nominated for best picture and best song at the Feb. 22 Academy Awards.
Production on Winfrey and DuVernay’s drama series is scheduled to begin later this year, OWN said. The contemporary series will follow a woman who leaves her affluent Los Angeles life to move with her teenage daughter to an inherited sugar came farm in the South.
In a statement, DuVernay said she was “captivated by the idea of a modern woman wrestling with identity, family, culture and the echoes of history.”
Winfrey, who boosted many an author’s fortunes with her talk show’s book club, said she loved Baszile’s book and “immediately saw it as a series for OWN.”
A debut date for the series was not announced.
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