According to Variety.com, creator/director Ava DuVernay has received a straight-to-series order from the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) for “Cherish The Day,” a romantic drama anthology.
Each season of the series will chronicle the romance of one couple, with each episode spanning a single day. The narrative will unfold to reveal significant moments in a relationship that compel people to hold true to the ones they love, from the extraordinary to the everyday. The show is scheduled to debut in winter 2020.
“OWN is home,” DuVernay said. “I’m honored to create television for a network headed by an artist with spectacular vision and unbridled passion for the stories that we want to tell.”
“Cherish The Day” will be the second series DuVernay delivers to OWN. The series adaptation of the novel “Queen Sugar” was DuVernay’s first for the network. She directs and also serves as executive producer on the series. The fourth season will premiere in June.
DuVernay created “Cherish the Day” under her recently announced overall deal with Warner Horizon Scripted Television. She will executive produce “Cherish the Day” along with Oprah Winfrey. Tanya Hamilton, who has directed for “Queen Sugar,” will be the showrunner, an executive producer, and will also direct the series premiere. “Queen Sugar” executive producer Paul Garnes will also executive produce.
“Ava is a visionary storyteller,” said Winfrey. “She brings so much care, so much heart, so much love to the art she creates. I’m excited to continue collaborating together with our very first anthology series for OWN.”
In honor of Black History Month, on February 23/24 at 12pm PST,The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, CA is screening a FREE Queen Sugarmarathon. It’s a chance for Queen Sugar fans to come together and enjoy several of their favorite episodes from the OWN series.
Exclusive merchandise will be given out to fans on a first come, first served, while supplies last.
“First Things First”
In the series premiere, directed by award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma), Charley, a savvy wife and manager of a professional basketball star living an upscale Los Angeles lifestyle, returns to her family home—an 800-acre sugarcane farm in the heart of Louisiana—after her father suffers a stroke and she receives alarming news about her husband. There, she reunites with her estranged siblings Nova and Ralph Angel. Together, they must navigate the triumphs and struggles of their complicated lives in order to run an ailing farm in the New South. (2016; 44 minutes)
“Give Us This Day”
Charley continues to make calculated choices regarding Davis’s (Timon Kyle Durrett) basketball career and her desire to secure an investor. Nova and lover Calvin (Greg Vaughan) finally reunite, but their union causes controversy in the community. Davis attempts to repair his relationship with son Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe), but he faces resistance. Aunt Violet (Tina Lifford) learns of Hollywood’s (Omar J. Dorsey) departure and tries to make amends, and Ralph Angel makes a shocking discovery that changes everything. (2016; 43 minutes)
“After the Winter”
Charley and Davis remain entangled, Ralph Angel tries to find his footing on the family farm, and Aunt Violet confronts her feelings for Hollywood. Plus, Micah has a dangerous encounter with a police officer. (2017; 43 minutes)
Charley’s shocking plan to save her business puts her relationship with Remy in jeopardy. Hollywood proposes to Violet, and Nova and Remy share an unexpected moment. Finally, Ralph Angel decides if he can forgive Darla. (2017; 65 minutes)
“From on the Pulse of Morning”
Ralph Angel receives some unexpected news, the fate of the correctional facility is revealed, and Charley makes a proposal on behalf of the farmers. Plus, Violet and Hollywood celebrate their love. (2018; 60 minutes)
About The Paley Center for Media:
The Paley Center for Media is a nonprofit organization with locations in New York and Los Angeles which works to expand the conversation about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms. Drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community, the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society.
The general public can access the Paley Center’s permanent media collection, which contains over 160,000 television and radio programs and advertisements, including the expanded collection of African-American Achievements in Television, and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media.
Apple and Oprah Winfrey have a signed a multi-year content partnership. Under the deal, Winfrey and Apple will create programs that will be released as part of Apple’s original content lineup.
The deal marks one of the first such agreements struck between Apple and a content creator. This is also the latest addition to Winfrey’s media empire. The former hit talk show host formed her own cable network, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Communications. The channel has become one of the fastest-growing cable networks among women and has produced hit shows like “Queen Sugar,” which boasts Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay as showrunner.
Winfrey recently extended her contract with Discovery through 2025. Sources tell Variety that Apple’s deal with Winfrey does not conflict with the Discovery agreement. Winfrey remains exclusive in an on-screen capacity to OWN with limited carve-outs, such as her role as a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes” and her recent acting work for HBO.
Via her Harpo Productions banner, Winfrey has also developed several long-running hit syndicated shows including “Dr. Phil,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Rachael Ray.” Through her Harpo Films, she has produced several Academy Award-winning features including “Selma,” which was directed by DuVernay. Winfrey also had a featured role in that film, and recently starred in other films like “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” and HBO’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”
Winfrey also runs O, The Oprah Magazine and published the New York Times best-selling cookbook “Food, Health and Happiness” last year. As a noted philanthropist, Winfrey has contributed more than $100 million to provide education to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2017.
Even before the Oprah deal, Apple has a robust slate of originals prepared to launch. In addition to the previously mentioned morning show drama, the streamer is prepping shows like a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories,” a psychological thriller series from executive producer M. Night Shyamalan, the true crime podcast drama series “Are You Sleeping?” starring Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul, and an Emily Dickinson series starring Hailee Steinfeld among many others.
Ava DuVernay is stepping into the superhero universe. The filmmaker has come on board to direct “New Gods” at Warner Bros. as part of the studio’s DC Extended Universe. “New Gods,” based on the DC Comics series of the same name, is aimed at creating a new universe of properties for the studio. Created and designed by Jack Kirby, the comic was first released in 1971.
The movie marks the second major superhero tentpole directed by a woman, following another DC property: Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman.”
DuVernay directed Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” becoming the first woman of color in Hollywood to helm a live-action film with a production budget of $100 million. The time-travel fantasy has grossed $42.2 million in its first six days in North America.
The New Gods are natives of the twin planets of New Genesis and Apokolips. New Genesis is an idyllic planet ruled by the Highfather, while Apokolips is a dystopia filled with machinery and fire pits ruled by the tyrant Darkseid. New Genesis and Apokolips call themselves gods, living outside of normal time and space in a realm known as the Fourth World.
Half a dozen “New Gods” series have been published following the original. The most recent, “The New 52,” was issued in 2011.
DuVernay also directed the Oscar-nominated documentary “13th” and the civil-rights drama “Selma.” She is the creator and executive producer of the OWN series “Queen Sugar.”
“New Gods” would be a major addition to the DC Extended Universe, which Warner Bros. launched in 2013 to take advantage of the massive DC library and compete with Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. The DCEU launched with 2013’s “Man of Steel,” followed by “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Justice League,” which was the lowest grosser of the five titles, with $657.9 million worldwide.
“Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa, is the next title in the DC Extended Universe, set for release on Dec. 21. The studio is also moving ahead with a “Wonder Woman” sequel with Gal Gadot and director Jenkins returning. The pic hits theaters on Nov. 1, 2019.
In the wake of the box office under-performance of “Justice League,” Warner Bros. is re-organizing the DC film operations by promoting Walter Hamada to president of DC-based film production in an effort to exert more quality control over its big-screen efforts. Toby Emmerich, who was promoted in 2016 to president and chief content officer at Warner Bros., worked with Hamada at New Line, which he ran before moving over to the main studio.
Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globes.
Each year the recipient of the prestigious award is selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) board of directors and must be someone who has made “an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.” HFPA president Meher Tatna said Winfrey embodies this qualification for the generations she has “celebrated strong female characters on and off screen, and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades.”
“As a global media leader, philanthropist, producer and actress, she has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today,” Tatna said in a statement. “Holding titles such as Chairman, CEO and Founder, Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time, and this honor is well deserved especially in this 75th anniversary year of the Golden Globe Awards.”
Chairman and CEO of her own cable network — OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network — Winfrey is currently an executive producer on series such as “Greenleaf,” “Queen Sugar” and “Oprah’s Master Class.” In 2017 she executive produced and starred in the Emmy nominated HBO original movie “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” and in 2018 she will appear in “A Wrinkle in Time” from Ava DuVernay. She is also the founder of O, The Oprah Magazine, and oversees Harpo Films.
Perhaps best known as the host of her multi-award-winning talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which came to an end in 2011, Winfrey is also the founder of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academyfor Girls in South Africa, which provides education for “academically gifted” girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and celebrating the school’s seventh graduating class.
Winfrey has been celebrated by the HFPA before, with a Golden Globe Award nomination for her role in “The Color Purple” in 1986.
Morgan Freeman, who received the same award in 2012, announced Winfrey’s honoree status during the airing of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s (HFPA) “Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special,” which aired on NBC.
In addition to Freeman, recent honorees include Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Lucille Ball, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Sidney Poitier, Sophia Loren and Steven Spielberg.
The 75th Annual Golden Globes will be hosted by Seth Meyers and air live coast-to-coast on Jan. 7, 2018 starting at 8pm ET/5pm PT on NBC.
Watch Freeman announce Winfrey as the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient below:
Ava DuVernay is continuing her relationship with Netflix, bringing a limited series about the Central Park Five case to the streaming giant. Netflix has greenlit the five-part scripted series for a 2019 debut. DuVernay created the project and will write and direct all five installments.
Participant Media, Tribeca Productions and Harpo Films are behind the limited series with Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh serving as executive producers alongside DuVernay. The project is the latest collaboration for Winfrey and DuVernay who worked together on the Oscar-winning “Selma” and OWN’s “Queen Sugar.”
For DuVernay, the project marks a return to Netflix for the filmmaker who wrote and directed the platform’s 2016 documentary “13th.” “I had an extraordinary experience working with Netflix on ’13th’ and am overjoyed to continue this exploration of the criminal justice system as a narrative project with Cindy Holland and the team there,” said DuVernay. “The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades. In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn — from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States.”
Based on the true story of the notorious Central Park Five case, each part of the limited series will focus on one of the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — who were wrongly convicted of raping Trisha Meili in Central Park. The series will span from the spring of 1989, when each were first questioned about the incident, to 2014 when they were exonerated and a settlement was reached with the city of New York.
Since the OWN cable network debuted in 2011, its popularity has skyrocketed among African-American women, particularly in the last two years.
At a time when many cable networks have been experiencing declines in their viewership, OWN’s average prime-time viewership has grown roughly 30%, climbing to 537,000 in the past two years, as many network have suffered significant declines. According to The Wall Street Journal, the network’s new lineup has resonated strongly with women and black audiences.
Since signing on writer-producer Tyler Perry in 2012, who has four shows on the network now, and adding recent shows like Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar” and the megachurch drama “Greenleaf,” OWN has been able to grow its viewership and visibility.
The story of the 1973 Palace of Versailles fashion show that put American designers and black models on the map is the subject of The Battle Of Versailles, an HBO Films movie co-written and directed by Selma helmer Ava DuVernay.
She is co-writing the project, now in development, with Michael Starrbury (The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete). It is based on the 2015 book The Battle Of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled Into The Spotlight And Made Historyby fashion journalist Robin Givhan.
The movie will chronicle the November 28, 1973 fashion show that took place at the Palace of Versailles. A fundraiser for the restoration of King Louis XIV’s palace, it pitted the top five French designers (Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, and Marc Bohan of Christian Dior) against five then-unknown Americans (Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, Halston, Stephen Burrows and Anne Klein, who brought along her then-assistant Donna Karan) in front of an audience of the world’s social elite. By the end of the night, American fashion would be born, racial barriers broken, and the industry would be left forever transformed.
The French designers kicked off the evening with a big-budget, two-hour extravaganza featuring elaborate set pieces and a live orchestra playing classical music. The Americans followed with a 35-minute show to a pre-recorded Al Green soundtrack, backed by a simple line drawing of the Eiffel Towel. Against all odds, the Americans emerged victorious, hailed for the energy of their presentation, with a lot of the credit going to the fearless 30 models, 10 of whom, in a groundbreaking move, were African American.
The event was also chronicled in Deborah Riley Draper’s 2012 feature documentary Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution.
Dawn-Lyen Gardner (Unforgettable, Heroes), Kofi Siriboe (Awkward, Whiplash) and Omar J. Dorsey (Ray Donovan, Selma) have been cast opposite Rutina Wesley on OWN’s new original drama series Queen Sugar, from Ava Duvernay and Warner Horizon Television.
Written, directed and executive produced by Duvernay, the contemporary series is adapted from the first-time novel by Natalie Baszile. It centers on Nova Bordelon (Wesley), a formidable journalist and activist based in New Orleans. Her life, and that of her brother and their extended family, undergoes significant change when her sister, Charley, returns to Louisiana from Los Angeles to help run the family sugarcane farm. Oprah Winfrey will have a recurring role on the show.
Gardner will play Charley Bordelon West, the charismatic and savvy manager and wife of professional basketball superstar Davis West, with whom she has a challenging, conflicted relationship. The proud mother of Micah, Charley is originally from New Orleans, but never seems to get the time to go back home in the midst of her busy, exciting and public life in Los Angeles.
Siriboe is Ralph Angel Bordelon, the youngest Bordelon sibling. Formerly incarcerated and somewhat worn out by life, Ralph Angel is trying to make a new start — and find a job — while raising his beloved 6-year-old son Blue with the help of family members, notably his aunt Violet. Dorsey will play Hollywood Desonier, a rugged, resourceful man and staunch supporter of the Bordelon family. The longtime boyfriend of Violet Bordelon (aunt to Charley, Nova and Ralph Angel), Hollywood clearly loves her — and doesn’t think anything of their 20-year age difference.
It’s been almost two years since HBO’s True Blood aired its series finale, but Rutina Wesley is still a familiar face to many people, and now Wesley has been tapped to star in Ava DuVernay’s upcoming OWN series, Queen Sugar.
Adapted from the novel written by Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar tells the story of Nova Bordelon (Wesley), a journalist-activist based in New Orleans, whose life is turned upside down when her sister returns to Louisiana from Los Angeles to help run the family’s sugarcane farm. DuVernay is writing and directing the series, and Oprah Winfrey will also make a few guest appearances.
Earlier this year, Winfrey and DuVernay discussed how the series came to be.
“I loved this book and immediately saw it as a series for OWN,” said Winfrey. “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.”
“From the moment I was introduced to the book, I was captivated by the idea of a modern woman wrestling with identity, family, culture and the echoes of history,” DuVernay added. “To bring this kind of storytelling to life alongside Oprah for her network is wildly wonderful. I’m excited about what’s in store.”