OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has set a Wednesday, August 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT premiere date for its anticipated new drama series “David Makes Man,” from Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (“Moonlight”) and Warner Horizon Scripted Television.
An Oscar to his credit, his script for Netflix’s Steven Soderbergh drama “High Flying Bird” drawing high praise, and his Broadway production “Choir Boy” having wrapped up a successful run in March, playwright and screenwriter McCraney continues to impress with his initial foray into television with the deeply personal “David Makes Man.”
Inspired by the writer’s impoverished youth in Florida, the milieu naturally calls to mind “Moonlight,” and even borrows some of the film’s stylistic touchstones, bathing images in evocative colors, accompanied by a melancholic score that sets the lyrical tone.
The hourlong drama centers on a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty. He must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out.
Boasting an executive producing team that includes actor Michael B. Jordan via his Outlier Society Productions and Oprah Winfrey, the series stars Akili McDowell (“The Astronaut Wives Club”) as the titular David, a passionate young teen who toggles between two distinct personas that reflect his surroundings, employing a vivid imagination to escape the inherent trauma caused by poverty.
The up-and-comer is joined by veteran actress Phylicia Rashad as David’s teacher Dr. Woods-Trap. “David Makes Man” also features Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Elvis Nolasco, Gillian Williams, Juanita Jennings, Lisa Colon-Zayas, Lindsey Blackwell, Lela Rochon and Nick Creegan.
McCraney serves as executive producer of the series alongside Dee Harris-Lawrence, who serves as showrunner. Mike Kelley and Melissa Loy under their Page Fright production banner are also executive producers.
Speaking with IndieWire in January, McCraney was thrilled by the talented team he’s surrounded with, who alleviated some of the pressure that comes with being the sole creative force behind his first television project. “I’ve got Michael B. Jordan and Oprah producing,” he said. “My showrunner, Dee Harris-Lawrence, is a black woman; then there are our writers and cast members, so it’s a village. And I know my experience of being a gifted student or having to be used to schools that are far outside your neighborhood, and the psychological weight of all that, is not just my experience alone. So I think the story will resonate with others.”
For Winfrey, the project couldn’t have come to OWN at a better time. “It literally took my breath away,” she said in a press statement. “The whole piece is just one exalted, beautiful, intriguing, penetrative poem. We’re now doing poetry on scripted TV.”
“David Makes Man” marks the latest addition to the network’s growing original scripted content offerings, which also includes “Queen Sugar,” “Greenleaf,” and new family saga “Ambitions” from box office hit-maker Will Packer.
The premiere will be presented by Lexus with limited commercial interruption, immediately following “Queen Sugar” in the 9 p.m. ET/PT slot. With today’s premiere announcement, the network has unveiled the series’ official trailer. Check it out below: