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The Oprah Winfrey Network announced its upfront slate on Thursday morning, making official its plans for its first miniseries and finding a lead for recently announced telepic My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story.
Octavia Spencer, an Oscar winner for her role in The Help, will topline Tulsa — a two-night scripted event about the largest race riot in U.S. history, where more than 300 people were believed to have been murdered in the Oklahoma city. Additionally, singer Toni Braxton will star as 20 Feet From Stardom singer Darlene Love. The TV movie is set to bow in December.
“Coming off our most watched quarter in network history, we are excited to get to work on these new scripted projects with Octavia and Toni,” said OWN president Erik Logan. “By diversifying our programming, we are also growing our audience, and these new projects put us in a great position to take the network to the next level.”
OWN’s foray into scripted has thus far been a success. Tyler Perry drama series The Haves and the Have Nots has earned record ratings, prompting an order for 20 more episodes — and the same for upcoming series Single Moms Club.
Additionally, Justin Timberlake will be joining the network in May for an episode of Oprah’s Master Class, and the network has ordered a seven-part event called Belief.
“Oprah, Erik, and I have big dreams for OWN and you are seeing them come true,” added OWN president Sheri Salata. “With multiple scripted films and series in active development, Justin Timberlake headlining our brand-new season of Oprah’s Master Class and the addition of an epic worldwide event like Belief, we are thrilled about what the future holds.”
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Robert De Niro