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Starz Announces Romantic Drama From Ava Duvernay, Lauren Ridloff And Joshua Jackson

Press Release
STARZ President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch announced today at the company’s inaugural #TakeTheLead Summit that it is developing an untitled romantic drama executive produced by award-winning director, producer and filmmaker Ava DuVernay (“Queen Sugar,” “When They See Us,” “Colin in Black & White”), Lauren Ridloff (Eternals, “The Walking Dead”) and Joshua Jackson (“When They See Us,” “Dr. Death”). The project has received a script-to-series commitment for three seasons (18 episodes) upon official greenlight. Kat Candler (“Queen Sugar,” “13 Reasons Why”) will write the first episode and serve as executive producer and showrunner. Paul Garnes (“Queen Sugar,” “Colin in Black & White”) will also executive produce.

The prospective series follows two polar opposites who become intertwined in a love affair that turns their worlds – and those of everyone around them – upside down. Ridloff and Jackson, who will star in the project, previously starred opposite each other in Broadway’s “Children of a Lesser God.” They were featured in a Spotlight Conversation at the #TakeTheLead Summit where they were introduced by DuVernay and discussed the project, along with the importance of continuing to improve representation on and off the screen.

Kathryn Busby, President, Original Programming, STARZ, who moderated the Summit conversation with Ridloff and Jackson, said, “There is nothing like this series on TV and we are thrilled to be in development with Ava, a trailblazer and unparalleled champion of diversity. Lauren is a true inspiration and together with Joshua, a brilliant veteran actor, they will bring their incredible talents to this project – both in front of and behind the camera. This series exemplifies our #TakeTheLead mission, and we couldn’t be prouder.”

The half-hour drama will chronicle what it takes to fall and stay in a radical, rebellious love. One person is ambitious, while the other is restless. One is ready to commit, while the other debates the merits of relationships. One is Black and one is white. One is deaf and one is not. Though wildly different, the two are emotionally and physically drawn to each other despite personal expectations and public assumptions. Their attraction passionately disrupts notions of race, gender, class, physical ability, and normative culture, elevating to true love that surpasses difference.

“On behalf of my producing partner Paul Garnes and everyone at ARRAY Filmworks, I’m thrilled to develop this passion project with Lauren, Josh and Kat,” said DuVernay. “STARZ and Warner Bros. Television have made a bold production commitment to immediately explore three seasons, and we’re revved up and ready to begin what I hope will be a beautiful journey for all involved.”

DuVernay will oversee the writing for the series through her Peabody Award-winning narrative change collective ARRAY Filmworks and its overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. ARRAY Filmworks and Warner Bros. Television will produce the project for STARZ. Exemplifying the company’s #TakeTheLead commitment to amplifying narratives for, by and about women and underrepresented audiences, the series will be overseen by Senior Vice President of Original Programming, Kathryn Tyus-Adair, on behalf of STARZ.
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