Television broadcaster, author and producer Tavis Smiley has signed an exclusive multi-year development and production deal with Warner Bros. Television Group that will allow him to develop a scripted television series for broadcast networks and cable, reports Deadline.com.
On Thursday, news broke that the first projects under the deal will be a TV series adaptations of Smiley’s “Before You Judge Me: The Triumph And Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days,” an account of the 16 weeks leading up to the superstar’s death. The second series will be based on Smiley’s memoir “My Journey With Maya,” which details the author’s nearly 30-year friendship with legendary poet, historian, filmmaker and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
According to Variety, the upcoming “Before You Judge Me” (publication date in June 2016) is described as “a taut novelistic rendering of the final months in the life of the iconic pop star, chronicling his constant hunt for privacy in a life that was more public than almost any other, and the pressures he endured as someone whose fame made him socially fragile and almost unable to live.”
In “My Journey With Maya,” Smiley shares personal memories of his longtime friendship with the renowned poet. In addition to the TV project, Smiley and Tony-winning director Kenny Leon are developing a stage play surrounding the April 2015 work of the same name.
Smiley, 51, is the host of the late-night talk show “Tavis Smiley” on PBS. He also hosts “The Tavis Smiley Show” for Public Radio International (PRI). What do you think of Smiley’s big projects? Do you think he can pull it off? Sound off in the comment section below.