“Queen Sugar,” the new original one-hour weekly drama series from award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey, debuts as a two-night event on Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The series will regularly air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season, and will go up against “Chicago PD” (NBC), “Code Black” (CBS) and “Designated Survivor” (ABC) in the same time-slot this fall, based on available schedule announcements, which may or may not change. But given the above competition, “Queen Sugar” should win its target demographic – women, 25-54; it most certainly will capture the African American W25-54 audience, which continues to deliver for OWN (see OWN Bolsters Its Standing Among African American Women, Delivers Most-Watched Week in Network History).
Led by acclaimed film director DuVernay, who directed the first two episodes, all episodes in the series’ debut season are directed by women.
Produced by Warner Horizon Television, the contemporary drama “Queen Sugar” chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings in Saint Josephine, Louisiana: Nova (Rutina Wesley “True Blood”), a world-wise journalist and activist; Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner “Unforgettable”), the savvy wife and manager of an NBA star; and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe “Awkward”), a formerly incarcerated young father in search of redemption. After a family tragedy, the Bordelons must navigate the triumphs and struggles of their complicated lives in order to run an ailing sugarcane farm in the Deep South.
“Queen Sugar” is produced for OWN by Warner Horizon Television. The executive producers are Ava DuVernay, Melissa Carter and Oprah Winfrey. The series is inspired by the book by Natalie Baszile.
The contemporary drama begins as Charley, a savvy and spirited woman living an upscale Los Angeles lifestyle, returns to her family home – an 800-acre sugarcane farm in the heart of Louisiana – when her father has a stroke. There, she reunites with her estranged siblings Nova and Ralph Angel, who are each navigating their lives and love relationships. Together, they must learn to rely on one another as they inherit the family farm and attempt to rebuild both the land and their relationships.
The expansive cast includes Tina Lifford (“Parenthood”) as Aunt Violet; Omar J. Dorsey (“Ray Donovan,” “Selma”) as Violet’s much younger boyfriend Hollywood Desonier; Dondré Whitfield (“Mistresses”) as trusted Bordelon family friend Remy Newell; Timon Kyle Durrett (“Single Ladies”) as Charley’s husband, pro basketball player Davis West, Nicholas L. Ashe (The Lion King – National Tour) as Charley and Davis’ teenage son, Micah; Greg Vaughan (“Days of Our Lives”) a local cop and Nova’s lover, Calvin; and Ethan Hutchison (“The Path”) as Ralph-Angel’s son, Blue. Additionally, Emmy and multiple NAACP Image Award-winning actor Glynn Turman (“The Wire”) guest stars as Bordelon patriarch Ernest; Henry G. Sanders (“Rocky Balboa”) recurs as Prosper Denton, a farmer and longtime friend of Ernest’s, Bianca Lawson (“Rogue”) guest stars as Ralph Angel’s ex-girlfriend Darla and Marycarmen Lopez (“From Dusk ‘Til Dawn: The Series”) as Blue’s elementary school teacher.
Created for television by DuVernay, she directed the first two episodes of “Queen Sugar” and hand-picked an all-female roster of directors to helm the subsequent episodes of the series’ first season. The slate of both seasoned and emerging directing talent includes Tina Mabry (“Mississippi Damned”), Victoria Mahoney (“Yelling to the Sky”), Tanya Hamilton (“Night Catches Us”), So Yong Kim (“Lovesong,” “Treeless Mountain”), Kat Candler (“Hellion”), Salli Richardson-Whitfield (“Eureka”) and Neema Barnette (“Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day,” “Being Mary Jane”).