Writer David Simon speaks at the KitchenAidÂ® Culinary Demonstrations during the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival at Grand Tasting Village on February 22, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida
*Word has it that David Simon, the creator of HBO’s “The Wire” and “Treme,” will spearhead the cable network’s six-hour miniseries adaptation of America: In the King Years, based on the celebrated book trilogy by Pulitzer Prize-winner Taylor Branch.
Oprah Winfrey has signed on as a producer, making this her second Martin Luther King project she is backing after the Ava DuVernay-directed feature “Selma.”
Deadline.com’s Mike Fleming Jr. writes:
Oprah’s Harpo banner originally set up the three books at HBO in 2010 with the plan that it would be overseen by The Kentucky Cycle playwright Robert Schenkkan.
*Oprah Winfrey will join screenwriter, producer and director Diablo Cody at HBO for a comedy project based on Dr. Julie Holland’s book “Moody Bitches.”
The untitled show will explore “the truth about the drugs you’re taking, the sex you’re not having, the sleep you’re missing and what’s really making you crazy,” as understood by the books extended title.
Holland will be credited as co-exec producer while Cody will be credited as creator, penning the pilot script with Winfrey and her Harpo Films brand, which will produce.
Producer Kate Forte accepts the Outstanding Motion Picture award for “The Great Debaters” onstage during the 39th NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on February 14, 2008 in Los Angeles
*After serving nearly two decades as the president of Oprah Winfrey’s film company, Kate Forte has left the building.
The Los Angeles-based executive ran Harpo Films for 18 years before leaving, which is effective immediately, reports Variety. The move comes as Harpo Films is set to make a corporate shift and become part of Harpo Studios.
According to Variety, Harpo Studios is also planning to launch a new scripted division, to help increase programming that can be sold to both broadcast and cable outlets. Harpo Films has not had much output in recent years and one of the jobs of the new president will be to ramp up activity.
Harpo Films, which also creates theatrical fare, is currently in a long-term deal with HBO, and that pact will continue. On the film side, Harpo produced the 2007 Denzel Washington drama “The Great Debaters.”
HBO was recently in development with Harpo on a project about an academic who becomes the first black president of a prestigious liberal arts school. Forte was set to exec produce with Oprah Winfrey.
Another project that Harpo was producing was a big screen adaptation of the bestselling novel “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” with Wentworth Miller attached as a writer. “Sawtelle” is in development at Universal.
Forte first came to Harpo in 1990. She arrived from Marian Rees Associates, where she helped developed several Hallmark Hall of Fame productions.
*Actor Wentworth Miller, best known as the star of Fox’s “Prison Break,” is in negotiations to write an adaptation of “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” a project set up at Universal with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman producing via their Playtone banner, and Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte producing via Harpo Films.
[SUBSCRIBE TO EURWEB's RSS FEED]
The David Wroblewski novel, chosen as one of Winfrey’s book club selections in 2008, is a Hamlet-like story centered on a mute boy who is the son of dog breeders. When his father mysteriously dies, circumstances force the teen to run away from home, three dogs in tow, into the woods where he plots a return to expose his uncle as the killer.
William Broyles Jr. (“Apollo 13”) wrote an initial draft of the screenplay.
While Miller still maintains his career in front of the camera – his latest gig is the Dark Castle Entertainment thriller “Loft,” now in post – he continues to keep one foot in the writing world. He is currently penning the English-language remake of “With a Friend Like Harry,” being produced by Maven Pictures that has Kimberly Pierce attached.