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David and Jessica Oyelowo are putting down roots at ViacomCBS.
The couple has inked an exclusive overall deal with ViacomCBS and its MTV Entertainment Studios to develop scripted and unscripted fare via their Yoruba Saxon shingle. Under the pact, the pair of actors will work alongside 101 Studios as a production partner.
The first project under the agreement is Bass Reeves, a limited series in which the Selma, The Butler and Nightingale actor will star as the Wild West lawman. Taylor Sheridan, who has his own nine-figure pact with ViacomCBS, will produce the potential series. Bass Reeves is known as the greatest frontier hero in American history and the inspiration for The Lone Ranger.
“The stories Jess and I want to tell are boundary-busting and full of folks the likes of whom we have seldom seen on screen,” he said. “The extraordinary story of Bass Reeves exemplifies just that. To collaborate with world-class talent like Taylor Sheridan to tell those stories to the widest audience possible, is our dream, and we believe that can and will be realized through the shared ambitions we have with ViacomCBS and its signature branded platforms, alongside our seasoned and brilliant producing partners at 101 Studios.”
The Oyelowos are the latest to sign an overall deal with ViacomCBS as the race for top talent in front of and behind the camera continues to grow amid the streaming wars. Others who have signed with the conglomerate include Darren Star (Emily in Paris), Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek), Tyler Perry (who co-owns streamer BET+), Kenya Barris (Black-ish) and Robert and Michelle King (The Good Fight, Evil).
“David and Jessica are incredibly talented artists and we’re excited to develop our Bass Reeves project together with them and our phenomenal partner Taylor Sheridan,” said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group. “As the first Black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River, Reeves’ story is monumental, and this limited series will bring to light one of the greatest frontier heroes in our country’s history.”
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