Soon after inking a two-year production deal with The Weinstein Company (TWC) last fall, that will give TWC an exclusive first-look at any film or television projects he produces, Jay Z set the first project that would fall under the new agreement – the docu-series “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story,” which centers on the tragic tale of Kalief Browder, the Bronx high school student who killed himself in 2015 after being held for three years on Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack.
“Time: The Kalief Browder Story” aired as a 6-part series on Spike TV, after launching on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT). The episodes feature dramatic reenactments of the young man’s life, archival footage, as well as interviews with family and friends.
For the second project under their first-look deal, Jay Z and TWC are teaming up to bring to the screen another tragic tale with a young black male at the center: Trayvon Martin.
The pair has optioned the screen rights to 2 books: “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” by Lisa Bloom; and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin,” by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin.
TWC and Jay Z will turn both books into 2 separate projects: the first, a 6-part docu-series like they did with Kalief Browder’s story; the second, will be scripted feature film.
Apparently, there was much competition for rights to Martin’s story, with other studios chasing rights to either/both of the above books, including Fox Searchlight and Universal.
S&A learned today that the first project, the 6-part docu-series, has been picked up by the Paramount Network, which is going to be the name of the retooled/revamped Spike TV network, which also aired the Kalief Browder story.
To be titled “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story,” the series will debut next year on the Viacom-owned cable network.
“This is an important American story. We’re honored that Trayvon’s family has entrusted us to share the truth with the world,” said Carter. “Thank you, again, to Paramount Network/Spike TV for being brave enough to partner with us and tell these complex narratives. It’s through these conversations that we can begin to heal.”