HBO Max is developing a period drama series surrounding the launch of Essence magazine in the post-civil rights era. The project is executive produced by Edward Lewis, an Essence co-founder and the chairman and publisher emeritus of Essence Communications, Inc.

Lewis founded Essence Communications, Inc . in 1938 with Clarence O. Smith, Cecil Hollingsworth, and Jonathan Blount. They started publishing the magazine, a lifestyle publication for Black women, in 1970.

Here’s the description of the series: Set amid the changing social and cultural landscape of post-civil rights era America, the series is inspired by the relationships between the men who founded the iconic women’s magazine, Essence, and the women who were the creative force behind it, as they create something mainstream America has never seen before. The show will tell the story of a Black startup before “startup” was a term and explores universal themes of love, loss and the pursuit of the American Dream.

Korin Huggins and Monique Nash, alums of Will Packer Productions, are executive producing through their Kronicle Media banner.

John Sacchi and Matt Groesch of 5 More Minutes Productions are also executive producing.

Deadline first reported this news.


Photo: Essence/HBO Max