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Fox is set to explore race relations with Sanaa Lathan and writers Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood.
The network is developing an event series exploring race relations from the Beyond the Lights duo and set to star Lathan, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Sources say the network was impressed with the first script and has already ordered a series bible with an eye toward going to series.
The untitled drama examines the dangerous aftermath of a police shooting when an African-American cop kills a white teen in Tennessee. Lathan will play an expert investigator who digs into the case, alongside a special prosecutor sent to the town by the Department of Justice. The pair must navigate the media attention, public debate and the social unrest that comes with such a volatile case, as they seek justice before the divided town erupts in a race war.
Married duo Prince-Bythewood and Bythewood will pen the script and executive produce the drama alongside Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. Prince-Bythewood will direct the drama, which will be produced by Undisputed Cinema (Beyond the Lights), Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television.
The drama marks a reunion for Lathan with Prince-Bythewood, who teamed up for 2000 feature Love & Basketball.
For Prince-Bythewood, the Fox event series marks her return to TV following episodes of A Different World, Felicity and Girlfriends. Her feature credits include writing and directing Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees as well as Love & Basketball. Bythewood, meanwhile, counts New York Undercover and A Different World among his credits. He also produced Beyond the Lights. The couple is repped by CAA and Del Shaw.
Imagine Television (Empire) is with CAA.
For Lathan, the role marks her return to TV following Starz’s Boss, Nip/Tuck and voice work in animated series Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. ON the feature side, she most recently starred in The Perfect Guy and has Now You See Me 2 up next. She’s repped by ICM Partners and Morris Yorn.
For Fox, the untitled Prince-Bythewood project comes as ABC recently explored similar themes with Emmy-nominated John Ridley anthology drama American Crime, which returns later this season with an all new case. On the cable side, FX has anthology American Crime Story, the first season of which will explore the O.J. Simpson trial.
Race relations and true crime stories have been one of the hottest trends of development season. Fox’s event series comes as broadcast networks continue to make television that better represents society.
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