Tarana Burke, the founder of the MeToo movement, and her producing partner Mervyn Marcano have signed an overall deal with CBS Studios, the company announced Tuesday.
Burke and Marcano will develop scripted and unscripted content as well as documentaries through their Field/House Productions banner. They’ll develop for both streaming platforms and linear television.
“In our quest to partner with compelling storytellers, Tarana and Mervyn stand out. Their drive and leadership as stewards of change bring a powerful and distinct voice to advancing stories of inclusion and impact,” CBS Studios president David Stapf said. “They are clearly magnets for many whose voices need to be heard and we’re excited to work alongside them in this new venture.”
“Creating space for new narratives has always been an integral part of cultural change work,” Burke said. “Field/House is a platform for those new narratives. This partnership gives us the reach and scale to ensure that we build new audiences for new voices.”
“We’re thrilled to be building a powerful vehicle for inclusive stories with CBS Studios,” Marcano added. “Our goal has always been to create a pipeline of culturally progressive programming with our diverse network of creatives and storytellers. We look forward to working with the team at CBS Studios as these stories find their homes across the media ecosystem.”
In addition to founding the MeToo movement, Burke is a racial justice, anti-violence and gender equity activist who advocates the theory of “empowerment through empathy.” She was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2017, one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018, a Harvard Kennedy School Citizen Activist Award recipient in 2019, and one of USA Today’s Women of the Decade in 2020. Her memoir, “Unbound,” will be published by Flatiron in the fall.
Marcano is currently executive producing an untitled long-form documentary series for HBO and a film special for HBO Max. His credits include the YouTube Original series “Resist” and “Finding Justice” for BET. He is also head of communications and storytelling work at Blackbird, a strategy hub for racial and social justice movements. Among his accolades, he won Campaign’s 2019 Inclusive & Creative Award, the AICP Animation Award and the Andy Gold Award.
The deal with CBS Studios comes as the company has also entered a multi-year programming development partnership with the NAACP, and an exclusive agreement with 21CP Solutions, a group specializing in police reform efforts in the U.S., to advise on its police and legal dramas. CBS also announced it will allocate a minimum of 25% of its future script development budgets to projects created or co-created by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and has set a goal of writers’ rooms being staffed by at least 40% BIPOC writers beginning with the 2021-2022 television season, with a goal to increase to 50% the next year.