An eight-part limited series titled Little Rock Nine is in very early development at Apple TV+. The series is being written and produced by Gwen Parker, in addition to Kapital Entertainment’s Aaron Kaplan and Brina Morewitz.
CBS Studios, partnering with the NAACP, will launch this series, according to Deadline. It will be under the direction of Sheila Ducksworth, the president of the NAACP and CBS venture.
In order to bring this series to life, the NAACP has opened its archives to the Little Rock Nine creative team. This in-depth look at the 1957-58 school year will take place just in time for the 65th anniversary of the event that attracted national attention when President Eisenhower sent a military escort to accompany the teenagers. Over the course of the year, the Black students encountered physical and verbal abuse by many of the white students.
Ducksworth’s slate, normally known as a “real mix of high drama and big comedy,” is separated by the limited series brought to her by Kaplan. “He let us know that he had optioned the book Warriors Don’t Cry, written by one of the original Little Rock Nine, Melba Beals,” and that he had found a writer, Parker, Ducksworth told Deadline.
“The angle that we’re going to be entering it is very special, and what makes it even more special is when you think about the fact that this year, 2022, is 65 years since that event happened, so, it’s a real milestone.”
“The NAACP was at the forefront of that event back in 1957, and in fact, Daisy Bates, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, was the force to make it all happen back then,” Ducksworth told Deadline, adding that Derrick Johnson and the NAACP is supportive of everything they’re working on. “So, the NAACP is well-steeped in this project, Little Rock Nine, and I have to say, we couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
“The current political and societal landscape demands that we expand the voices, contexts, and visibility of artists producing content around the African American experience. Great storytelling has a unique ability to entertain, educate and influence perspectives on critical issues. The projects stemming from the NAACP partnership with CBS Studios will continue to push the boundaries on the variety of stories available to audiences.”
“Our approach is we read everything, We read everything. We meet with people to get a sense of the kinds of things that are of interest to them, and it’s a real gamut,” Ducksworth added.
The series will feature established and up-and-coming Black writers and will be available on Apple TV+ at a date that will be later announced. For more information about the CBS and NAACP partnership, click here.
Photo courtesy Encyclopedia of Arkansas.