Mary J. Blige is set to produce an upcoming, 1908s-set drama series at USA Network, inspired by a real-life woman.
The project is from Entertainment One and UCP. JaNeika and JaSheika James are the writers and are also among the project’s producers. It is based on the real-life of Thelma Wright, with her memoir, With Eyes From Both Sides: Living My Life In and Out of the Game, as source material.
Here’s the description: The drama showcases the crimes one woman committed in the name of real love. From suburban housewife to drug queenpin in under five years, the death of Wright’s husband left her two choices: let her family starve — or take over the family business. With equal parts grit and grace, she forces her way to the top of the international drug game to build one of the largest cocaine and heroin operations of the 1980s.
Philly Reign was intended to be a star vehicle for Blige. However, during the competitive negotiations in which USA Network landed the project, she became unavailable as she booked the lead in Starz Power spinoff, where she is also expected to play a drug lord. She still may have a supporting role in Philly Reign.
Here’s what Deadline says: “eOne met with Blige after her Oscar-nominated performance in the 2017 Mudbound to gauge her interest in headlining a TV series. She expressed interest in doing a story of a female gangster, and the producers set out to develop the idea with her. They zeroed in on the true story of Thelma Wright who, following the 1977 murder of her husband, a major player in the Philadelphia drug game, became a gangster queen of the Pennsylvania city, transporting cocaine and heroin between Los Angeles and Philadelphia.”
Thelma Wright and Jacky Wright are exec producers on the project.
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