Burbank, CA – Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) and Emmy-winning/Oscar-nominated writer/producer/director Ava DuVernay are joining forces for a landmark, multi-year creative partnership. Warner Bros. Television Group President and Chief Content Officer Peter Roth announced the deal today. In keeping with Studio practice, financial terms were not disclosed, but it is an exclusive multi-year overall development and production pact for Ms. DuVernay and her Forward Movement production company that takes effect in January 2019. This marks her first overall deal with any studio.
Under terms of the agreement, Ms. DuVernay will develop new television projects — including but not limited to drama and comedy series, longform/event series, documentaries, potential digital content and more — for all platforms, including broadcast networks, premium/pay and basic cable channels, and streaming/on-demand platforms.
Peter Roth said, “Ava DuVernay is one of the leading lights in our industry, a brilliantly talented writer, producer, director and entrepreneur whose ability to inspire with her art is exceeded only by her ability to entertain. We have had the great pleasure of working with her on ‘Queen Sugar’ and ‘The Red Line,’ and we are extremely excited about the new stories she has to tell.”
Ava DuVernay said, “I’ve had nothing but beautiful experiences working with Peter Roth, Susan Rovner and Brett Paul. They love and support artists in wonderful and nourishing ways. They work within a traditional studio headed by Kevin Tsujihara that is stirring with untraditional energy and fresh protocols for intentional, inclusive image-making. Warner Bros. is a terrific partner about matters of visibility and belonging for all kinds and cultures of people, which is our mission at Forward Movement. I couldn’t be happier to call Warner Bros. TV my production home.”
This partnership continues WBTVG’s on-going strategic commitment to collaborate with the finest creators in our industry and support their vision by taking advantage of the artistic freedoms that an independent studio can provide.
WBTVG’s relationship with Ms. DuVernay began in 2015, when Warner Horizon Scripted Television signed on to produce “Queen Sugar,” the drama series that Ms. DuVernay created for OWN and executive produces alongside Oprah Winfrey. The series was renewed for a second season in August 2016 — before the first season even debuted in September 2016. “Queen Sugar” completed its third season in August 2018 and has already been renewed for a fourth, which will debut in 2019. She will continue to serve as executive producer.
A creative and pioneering leader, Ms. DuVernay established an unprecedented initiative by assembling an all-female directing team for each season of “Queen Sugar,” which will continue during the show’s upcoming fourth season. She has also given showrunning opportunities to those who have never before held the position, with a new showrunner taking the helm each season.
In addition to “Queen Sugar,” Ms. DuVernay is an executive producer (along with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter) of Warner Bros. Television’s “The Red Line,” a highly anticipated event series for CBS from writers Caitlin Parrish & Erica Weiss about the devastating effects felt by three different families when an innocent African-American doctor is shot by a white police officer in Chicago. The pilot was directed by Victoria Mahoney, who Ms. DuVernay previously tapped to direct on “Queen Sugar.”
Ms. DuVernay’s Forward Movement production company will produce her new series in association with Warner Bros. Television, Warner Horizon Scripted Television or the Television Group’s digital studio, Blue Ribbon Content. Warner Bros. International Television Distribution will distribute the shows around the world.
Outside of her association with WBTVG, Ms. DuVernay is currently producing, writing and directing the Netflix miniseries “Central Park Five.” Her company Forward Movement is also working with professional football player and social activist Colin Kaepernick to develop a comedy series based on his life during high school. For her documentary “13th,” Ms. DuVernay was nominated for three Emmy Awards, winning two — Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming — and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. She had previously directed the acclaimed motion picture “Selma,” which was nominated for two Oscars, including Best Picture, and won one, for Music (Original Song). She recently directed the feature film “A Wrinkle in Time,” making her the first black woman director to surpass $100 million at the domestic box office. Her prior film credits include “I Will Follow” and “Middle of Nowhere,” which garnered her the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival as the first black woman to be so honored.