Toni Braxton to Star as Darlene Love in OWN Biopic

Toni Braxton Star Darlene Love OWN

Toni Braxton will star as singer Darlene Love in OWN’s biopic of the famed pop vocalist.

In a series of announcements set for the cabler’s upfront presentation Thursday, OWN has also set Octavia Spencer to topline a miniseries revolving around a journalist investigating the notorious mass murder and cover-up in Tulsa, Okla., in 1921.

OWN has ordered 20 more episodes of Tyler Perry’s hit primetime soap “The Haves and the Have Nots,” bringing it to 56 episodes to air through 2015. A new Perry drama series, “Single Mom’s Club,” is set for a fall debut with a 20-episode order.

Justin Timberlake is lined up as the first guest on the new season of Oprah Winfrey’s interview series “Oprah’s Master Class,” to bow May 11.

Another programming tentpole planned for next year is the seven-part docu series “Belief,” examining the origins of faith “through the eyes of believers.”

In its fourth year on the air, OWN comes to the upfront with a real ratings growth story to tell, thanks to the anchors provided by “Haves and the Have Nots” and a handful of other shows gaining traction on the cabler that is a joint venture of Winfrey’s Harpo and Discovery Communications.

“Coming off our most watched quarter in network history, we are excited to get to work on these new scripted projects with Octavia and Toni,”said Erik Logan, president OWN. “By diversifying our programming, we are also growing our audience, and these new projects put us in a great position to take the network to the next level.

“Oprah, Erik, and I have big dreams for OWN and you are seeing them come true,” added Sheri Salata, president OWN. “With multiple scripted films and series in active development, Justin Timberlake headlining our brand new season of ‘Oprah’s Master Class’ and the addition of an epic worldwide event like ‘Belief,’ we are thrilled about what the future holds.”

“My Name is Love: The Darlene Love Story” is slated for a December premiere. Pic revolves around Love’s long career in the music biz, starting out as the key voice behind Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound hits from the 1960s. OWN’s first scripted telepic is shepherded by the docu filmmaker Morgan Neville, who was behind last year’s “Twenty Feet from Stardom” feature about Love and other well-known backup singers.

“Tulsa” hails from drama vet (and Oklahoma native) Nancy Miller (TNT’s “Saving Grace”).

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  1. Johnny says:

    I’m so glad to know that Toni Braxton to Star as Darlene Love in OWN Biopic of Darlene Love’s Music Career. Remembering Darlene Love from St. Paul Baptist Church in the late 50s and 60s and many of the other background singers of that period, I must Salute OWN for this one story taken from Darlene’s Book : “My Name is Love”. Once again Thanks To OWN !!!!

    • blong26774@aol.com says:

      We just saw Darlene Love as the guest star for the final performance of the Follies in Palm Springs. Boy, were we impressed, at 72 she sounds fabulous. Can’t wait to see her story on the screen.

  2. TV Sue says:

    I like the direction OWN is heading in! These new shows will certainly take the network to the next level. Really looking forward to seeing Octavia Spencer in TULSA… and with Nancy Miller at the helm it’s bound to be a groundbreaking miniseries. Miller created “Saving Grace” but also an incredibly heartfelt series “Any Day Now” which explored race relations and aired on LIfetime in the late 90s. Loved the “Twenty Feet from Stardom” doc and think Toni Braxton is a wise choice to play Darlene Love, bringing her vast experience to the role. I’ll be keeping my eye on OWN….

  3. Toni Braxton is an awesome choice to play Darlene Love – I can’t wait for that AND the Octavia Spencer (love her) drama. But ENOUGH of Tyler Perry…

  4. John says:

    I dont get it…Why not let “Darlene Love” play herself????

    • Mike says:

      I guess because she’s a little old to be playing herself 30 or more years ago? What I don’t get is hiring Braxton — is she going to sing? I’d prefer an actress who will lip-synch Darlene’s classic recordings.

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