*Oprah Winfrey is going all in with Ava DuVernay.
O’s Harpo Films announced today it has partnered with the award-winning filmmaker on a first-look deal for television and digital media. The first product will be DuVernay’s recently announced limited drama series “Central Park Five” for Netflix.
Additionally, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced it has renewed DuVernay’s drama series “Queen Sugar” for a third season. The show debuted its second season on June 20, with its highest-rated episode ever in key adult and female demos, and the series currently averages 2.4 million viewers.
“I’m so proud of Ava and her ability as a filmmaker to challenge the status quo and push for inclusiveness on screen and behind the camera. I love, love, love the work we have been able to create so far. I am looking forward to developing many more meaningful projects together,” Winfrey said in a statement.
“There is fresh air and room to roam. There is an artist-driven atmosphere and an intention to share stories that nourish. There is a spirit of inclusivity and imagination moving at all times,” said DuVernay. “This is the new era of OWN. I’m thrilled to continue to collaborate with Ms. Winfrey as we expand the scope of our storytelling. And I feel fortunate to be a small part of this network at such a wonderful time in its evolution.”
In addition to announcing “Queen Sugar’s” third season order, OWN has announced that Michael Michele, Roger Guenveur Smith and Beverly Todd will join the series in recurring roles later in season two.
Michele and Smith will play Darla’s (Bianca Lawson) estranged parents, and Todd plays Mother Olivia Brown, a much beloved and respected matriarchal activist residing in the 9th Ward.