Oprah Winfrey attends the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival Montecito at the Arlington Theatre on Feb 5, 2014 in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Mark Davis—Getty Images
By Nolan Feeney
February 2, 2015

Oprah has never acted in a program on her own network, but that’s about to change.

The media mogul is teaming up with Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma, for a new drama series inspired by the Natalie Baszile novel Queen Sugar.

The series, which will air on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, is the first television series for DuVernay, who will write, direct and executive produce the show. Winfrey, who has recently acted in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Selma, will appear in a recurring role and executive produce.

“I loved this book and immediately saw it as a series for OWN,” Winfrey said in a statement. “The story’s themes of reinventing your life, parenting alone, family connections and conflicts, and building new relationships are what I believe will connect our viewers to this show.”

The adaptation of Baszile’s novel follows a Los Angeles woman who reconnects with her Southern roots after she and her daughter move to Louisiana to claim an 800-acre sugar cane farm her father bequeathed to her. Production is scheduled to begin later this year.

“From the moment I was introduced to the book, I was captivated by the idea of a modern woman wrestling with identity, family, culture and the echoes of history,” added DuVernay, the first black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe for her directing. “To bring this kind of storytelling to life alongside Oprah for her network is wildly wonderful. I’m excited about what’s in store.”

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