DuVernay will write, direct and executive produce the project, her first TV drama series. Winfrey, who will have a recurring role on the show, will also executive produce. When the production begins later in 2015, it will mark Winfrey’s first acting role on her own network.
The two recently teamed up for DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated effort, in which Winfrey played Annie Lee Cooper.
“Queen Sugar” follows a spirited woman who leaves her upscale Los Angeles lifestyle behind to claim an inheritance from her recently departed father — an 800-acre sugar cane farm in the heart of Louisiana, OWN’s description read. Her world and identity are turned upside down as she and her teenage daughter attempt to navigate a new and very different environment while rebuilding their farm from scratch. The lead character is met with curiosity and community, with resistance and romance. It isn’t long before a transformation begins and she realizes that she’s been living a lot farther from her Southern roots than mere miles.
“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.”
In addition to her on-screen effort, Winfrey co-produced “Selma.”
The film made DuVernay the first African-American woman nominated for Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards for Best Director.