January 21, 2014 10:28am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'12 Years a Slave' Oscar Nominee to Direct ABC Pilot (Exclusive)
12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley is expanding his relationship with ABC.
A week after ABC greenlighted Ridley's American Crime drama to pilot, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter has also signed a deal to direct the project, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
American Crime will examine the personal lives of the players involved in a racially charged trial as their worlds are turned upside down. Ridley will now pen the script, executive produce and direct the project alongside former ABC Studios head of drama-turned-producer Michael McDonald.
The ABC Studios project marks Ridley's return to TV and comes three years after HBO passed on his boxing drama Da Brick and five years after The Wanda Sykes Show ended its run. Ridley, whose small-screen credits include the Barbershop TV series as well as Third Watch, is said to have landed the directing gig after executives watched his Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is by My Side, which he wrote and directed. Ridley's small-screen directing credits include episodes of Barbershop and Platinum.
In addition to All Is by My Side, which stars Andre Benjamin as Hendrix and is due out in May, Ridley is also writing Ben-Hur.