The NAACP’s year-old production venture with CBS Studios has born its first fruit in the form of five sold projects — including a series adaptation of Soapdish, with Whoopi Goldberg set to reprise her role from the 1991 feature comedy.
“The current political and societal landscape demand that we expand the voices, contexts, and visibility of artists producing content around the African American experience,” NAACP president Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “The projects stemming from the NAACP partnership with CBS Studios (led by Sheila Ducksworth) will continue to push the boundaries on the variety of stories available to audiences.”
Among the five series now in development:
Soapdish is earmarked for Paramount+, with Goldberg set to reprise her role as Rose Schwartz, the head writer for the daytime drama The Sun Also Sets, as well as serve as an exec producer. Fellow EPs Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin) and Asha Michelle Wilson (American Horror Story) will pen the “juicy, soapy, and twisty dramedy ensemble.”
Construction, a drama penned by Davita Scarlett, is also targeted for Paramount+ and is inspired by Cheryl McKissack, fifth-generation owner of the oldest minority and female construction company in America. Described as “Dynasty meets Succession in a high-stakes family saga,” it will follow a fifth-generation Black, NYC female construction magnate in the “hard-knuckled, male-dominated world of a trillion dollar industry in which she navigates big money, city and state politics, and above all else, family.”
An untitled DL Hughley comedy is being developed for Fox, starring Hughley (who co-created it with Owen Smith). Based on Hughley’s life, it positions him as an unfiltered, unapologetic and opinionated radio host who is “free at work but under siege at home” as he navigates life as a husband and as a father to an LGBTQ+ daughter, a son on the autism spectrum whose white girlfriend lives with them, and another daughter “who can’t leave his credit card alone.”
An untitled Earthquake comedy project is on track for CBS, written by Robb Chavis and starring comedian/series co-creator Earthquake (aka Nathaniel Martin Stroman) as a comedian who goes from “good time dad” to full-time dad when his two kids move in with him, forcing him to juggle his career as a comic and a D.C. comedy club owner.
Lastly, there is Little Rock Nine, an eight-part series based on the seminal moment in the racial segregation of schools, and written by Gwen Parker for Apple TV+. With this 65th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine nearing, it promises “a deep dive” into the titular students’ 1957-1958 school year, “and the showdown that rocked the nation.”