by BOTWC Staff
According to Deadline, the NAACP-CBS production partnership will be releasing a new limited series based on the Little Rock 9.
In 2020, the NAACP announced a multi-year partnership with CBS to produce content across networks aimed at amplifying Black voices. Soon after, they named Sheila Ducksworth as President and to date, the venture has already sold its first projects, announcing the creation of five new shows.
“An important way to diversify and grow our storytelling is to expand our horizons beyond the traditional studio-producer system. There is no better partnership than the NAACP – the preeminent civil rights organization in our country – to help us find, develop and tell these inclusive stories. At the same time, this is a strategic opportunity for CBS to build upon as well as
reimagine our pipeline for existing and emerging creative talent,” CBS President and CEO George Cheeks explained at the time.
The new shows will be featured on both broadcast and streaming platforms and span a variety of genres. One of the projects is a dramatic limited series at Apple TV+ which tells the story of the Little Rock 9. Nearing the 65th anniversary of the Little Rock 9, the eight-part limited series tells the story of the nine Black students who helped desegregate schools in the south.
In 1957, after segregated schools were declared unconstitutional, the NAACP registered nine Black students to attend Little Rock Central High, a previously all-white institution. The Arkansas National Guard was sent by the Governor to prevent the students from entering and President Eisenhower had to step in, providing military escort for the teens. While the girls were eventually able to attend school, they endured a year of physical, verbal and emotional abuse by a large majority of the white students. What makes this particular project so unique is that not only is the NAACP serving as a producer, they are also a critical part of the story, the organization choosing to open their archives to the Little Rock Nine creative team.
“The NAACP was at the forefront of the 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. 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,” said Ducksworth.
The partnership has proved to be very fruitful as executives on both sides search for the stories they feel most speak to the African American community. Other projects include a reboot of the 1991 movie Soapdish for Paramount+ with Whoopi Goldberg reprising her role, two autobiographical comedy series in the works at Fox and CBS featuring D.L. Hughley and Earthquake, and another drama for Paramount + about the fifth generation owner of the oldest minority and woman owned construction company in America.
“The current political and societal landscape demand 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 project stemming from the NAACP partnership with CBS studios will continue to push the boundaries on the variety of stories available to audiences,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
No word yet on when the Little Rock Nine series will air but we can’t wait!