OWN Greenlights ‘Moonlight’ Co-Writer Tarell Alvin McCraney-Created Drama

By Sameer Rao Aug 17, 2017

Tarell Alvin McCraney drew on his boyhood experiences with toxic masculinity and understanding of his sexual identity to write "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue." He and Barry Jenkins later earned an Oscar for turning that play into "Moonlight." McCraney will revisit some of those themes for an upcoming drama series recently acquired by Oprah Winfrey‘s OWN television network.

Deadline reported yesterday (August 16) that OWN greenlighted McCraney’s hourlong series, which does not yet have a title. McCraney will write and executive produce the series, which Deadline summarizes as follows:

Set in South Florida at the end of the Obama legacy, the show, inspired by events in McCraney’s own life, explores the precarious balance needed for the making of a man. Haunted by the death of his closest friend, and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty, a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out.

McCraney and Jenkins also set and shot "Moonlight" in South Florida—specifically in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, where both men grew up.

“I wanted to explore the pivotal steps towards adulthood and identity, the ones we take when we think or feel we have no other choice,” McCraney told Deadline about his first television project.

“When Tarell shared his powerful story with us, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” Winfrey, whose OWN also airs Ava DuVernay‘s "Queen Sugar," told Deadline. “I knew this was something special that our viewers will without a doubt connect to and feel compelled to explore with us. I am honored to be working with Tarell and and the rest of the producers on this project.”

Those additional producers include "Revenge" creator Mike Kelley and producer Melissa Loy, as well as "Creed" actor Michael B. Jordan. No word yet on production or premiere dates.