By Natalie Jarvey
July 29, 2018
Netflix will tell the story of the first black, self-made female millionaire.
The streamer has given a series order to executive producer Octavia Spencer’s Madam C.J. Walker, which stars the Academy Award winner as Sarah Breedlove, a black hair care pioneer known as Madam C.J. Walker.
The eight-episode limited series, which hails from SpringHill Entertainment, Zero Gravity and Warner Bros. Television, will detail the untold and highly irreverent story of Walker and how she overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and some trifling family to become America’s first black, self-made female millionaire. The project is based on the book On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles.
Netflix vp original series Cindy Holland, who announced the pick up at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, noted that the series is part of the streamer’s larger goal “for the label of diverse content to become obsolete. There will only be great content.” She also announced onstage that Netflix has teamed with Alex Pina and the producers of The Crown on a new series.
Nicole Asher (Love Beats Rhymes) penned Madam C.J. Walker, the first episode of which was directed and executive produced by Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Talk to Me). Janine Sherman Barrios (Claws, Criminal Minds) and Elle Johnson (Bosch) are serving as showrunners and executive producers. Also exec producing alongside Spencer are LeBron James and Maverick Carter through SpringHill Entertainment and Mark Holder and Christine Holder through Zero Gravity.
Spencer, who most recently earned an Academy Award nomination for her work in The Shape of Water, will also star on Apple’s upcoming podcast drama Are You Sleeping from Reese Witherspoon.
James, meanwhile, continues to bolster his Hollywood producing credits. The new Los Angeles Laker has a number of TV projects in the works, including YouTube original docuseries Best Shot, Starz docuseries Warriors of Liberty City and Top Boy with Drake for Netflix. He recently struck a deal with HBO for the barbershop-set talk show The Shop.
Spencer is repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman. Zero Gravity is repped by Rob Szymanski at Eclipse Law Corporation.