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Onyx Collective, the Disney banner focused on underrepresented audiences, has picked up its first comedy series.
The Tara Duncan-led division has greenlit eight episodes of Unprisoned, inspired by the life of creator Tracy McMillan (Mad Men) with Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo set to star. The series will be available in the U.S. on Hulu, the streaming home of Onyx fare, Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in all other territories. ABC Signature is the studio.
The half-hour comedy revolves around a messy but perfectionist relationship therapist and single mom (Washington) whose life is turned right-side-up when her dad (Lindo) gets out of prison and moves in with her and her teenage son.
“This isn’t just my story,” McMillan said. “It’s the story of millions of people dealing with the effects of mass incarceration on their families, hearts, minds and bodies — and as writers, we wanted to come to these flawed but super-lovable characters from the place of empathy, humor and soul that they deserve.”
McMillan, who also hosts the relationship show Family or Fiance on Warner Bros. Discovery’s OWN, exec produces Unprisoned alongside Lindo, Washington and her ABC Signature-based Simpson Street production company partner Pilar Savone. Yvette Lee Bowser (Living Single, Run the World) also exec produces and serves as showrunner via her overall deal with ABC Signature. Joy Gorman Wettels (13 Reasons Why) and Jen Braeden (Hulu’s Love, Victor) also are credited as EPs. Kevin Bray (The Sterling Affairs, Succession) directed and exec produced the pilot.
“From the moment we read the script for Unprisoned, we wanted this fresh, funny series for Onyx,” said Duncan. “Tracy tells the story of an endearing but complicated father-daughter relationship with the heart and humor of someone who has lived this all-too-common experience. We’re thrilled to continue our creative collaboration with Kerry Washington and the teams at Simpson Street and ABC Signature.”
Unprisoned is the latest series pickup for Onyx and Freeform president Duncan and joins the Washington/Simpson Street-produced drama Reasonable Doubt. That series also hails from ABC Signature, the Disney studio where Washington has remained in business since Scandal became a mega-hit for network sibling ABC. The legal drama was Onyx’s first series pickup since its launch last year.
“From the moment Tracy McMillan brought this project to Simpson Street, we knew that it had the potential to be provocative, groundbreaking and life-affirming,” Washington said. “I love this show. I love these characters and the stories that they inspire. And I’m extremely excited to be working, once again, with both Onyx collective and ABC signature, and honored to be collaborating with this talented group of creative partners.”
Other Onyx originals, again all slated for Hulu, include the Oscar-winning doc Summer of Soul, the Oprah Winfrey-produced The Hair Tales and Mahershala Ali limited series The Plot.
Washington, who also starred and exec produced Hulu and ABC Signature’s Little Fires Everywhere is repped by CAA, Washington Square Arts and Hansen Jacobson. Lindo (Da 5 Bloods, Get Shorty, Marvel’s upcoming Blade) is with APA.
A premiere timeframe has not yet been determined.
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