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Universal Television has snagged rights to the latest selection in Today host Jenna Bush Hager’s book club.
The studio will develop Diane Marie Brown’s debut novel, Black Candle Women, with Bel-Air showrunner Carla Banks Waddles writing the adaptation. Hager, who has a first-look deal at UTV parent Universal Studio Group via her Thousand Voices banner, will executive produce, as will Jenna Bans (Good Girls) via her Minnesota Logging Company. Waddles and Bans both have overall deals at Universal TV.
“Diane’s magical, poetic novel captured my imagination from the first page,” said Hager. “I am thrilled to partner with the indomitable Carla to bring the four generations of Montrose women to viewers. We are also thrilled that Jenna and Casey [Kyber] have joined us alongside our partners at UTV.”
Added Brown, “I am thrilled that my book will not only be adapted but also be in such incredibly talented hands. I’m so excited to see these characters that have lived in my head for so long brought to life onscreen.”
Black Candle Women was the March selection for Today’s “Read With Jenna” book club. The novel tells the story of four generations of women — Augusta, Victoria, Willow and Nickie Montrose — who share a home in California. The book description reads, “They keep to themselves, never venture far from home, and their collection of tinctures and spells is an unspoken bond between them. But when 17-year-old Nickie brings home a boy for the first time, their quiet lives are thrown into disarray. For the other women have been withholding a secret from Nickie that will end her relationship before it’s even begun: the decades-old family curse that any person they fall in love with dies. Their surprise guest forces each woman to reckon with her own past choices and mistakes. And as new truths about the curse emerge, the family is set on a collision course dating back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans’s French Quarter — where a hidden story in a mysterious book may just hold the answers they seek in life and in love.”
Waddles is currently the showrunner (the series’ fourth) of the recently renewed Bel-Air, Peacock’s dramatic take on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She and Bans previously worked together on NBC’s Good Girls. Waddles, Bans and Hager will executive produce Black Candle Women with Kyber, head of television for Minnesota Logging Company, and Thousand Voices president Ben Spector.
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