Oprah Winfrey has been busy running a network of her OWN (hyuck!), having recently made a deal with entertainment giant Tyler Perry to create the channel’s first scripted series. But via her production company Harpo Films, she’s also working on a drama series for an outlet well known for them — HBO.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the cable network is developing an untitled drama from Harpo Films about a monied academic who becomes the first African American president of a prestigious liberal arts college. He and his family are forced to put up a happy, stable front for the media when his appointment draws attention and scrutiny on a national level, while behind closed doors they struggle through obsessions and personal battles.
The hourlong project will be written and co-executive produced by hot shot provocative playwright Thomas Bradshaw, who has gotten both acclaim and attention for work that includes “Burning,” “Purity” and “The Bereaved.” Winfrey and Kate Forte will serve as executive producers. Harpo Films, who’ve in the past put out films and TV projects like “Beloved,” “The Great Debaters” and “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” has had a development deal with HBO since 2008. While shows like “Treme” include a diverse ensemble cast, this project, should it go to series, would bring a welcome protagonist of color to a prestigious network line-up that, in its main characters, still tends to be pretty white.