Ava DuVernay, Kat Candler to Develop Texas Labor Union Series at TNT

Ava DuVernay Kat Candler
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The “Queen Sugar” team of Kat Candler and Ava DuVernay are re-teaming for a drama series that is in development at TNT.

The currently untitled one-hour drama follows a struggling young wife and mother who, in the aftermath of a deadly oil refinery explosion that takes the life of an old friends, will go on to lead one of the biggest labor union strikes in Texas history.

Candler will serve as the writer and executive producer on the project, with DuVernay executive producing under her ARRAY Filmworks banner. Warner Horizon Scripted Television will serve as the studio. DuVernay is currently under an overall deal with the Warner Bros. Television Group.

Warner Horizon also produces DuVernay’s OWN series “Queen Sugar,” on which Candler was the showrunner for the show’s third season. She has also directed seven episodes of the series in total. Her other TV directing credits include “Dirty John,” “13 Reasons Why,” “12 Monkeys,” “Being Mary Jane,” and “Sorry for Your Loss.” She also wrote directed the 2014 feature “Hellion” starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis.

The TNT project also marks the latest venture into TV for DuVernay, who is fresh off of her Emmy-winning Netflix limited series “When They See Us,” which told the true story of five young men of color who were wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park in 1989. “Queen Sugar” was renewed for fifth season at OWN back in September, with DuVernay also currently prepping the anthology series “Cherish the Day” at the network. She is also set to direct the pilot for an adaptation of the DC comic “DMZ,” which is in the works at HBO Max.

TNT has been focused on scripted dramas for the past few years, though the network’s current drama offerings are growing slim. “Claws” was recently renewed for a final season, with that show and “Animal Kingdom” being TNT’s only current originals on the air. A series adaptation of the film “Snowpiercer” had been in the works at TNT before moving over to TBS, but the show was then moved back to TNT in October. The network also has the dramas “Tell Me Your Secrets” (formerly “Deadlier Than the Male”) and “The Angel of Darkness” on the way, with the latter being a follow-up to the Emmy-winning TNT series “The Alienist.”