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HBO and Oprah making US civil rights miniseries

A TV miniseries based on author Taylor Branch’s America in the King Years trilogy will be the first fruit of the deal between HBO and Oprah Winfrey’s production company Harpo.

HBO struck a three-year overall deal with Oprah late last year and is now developing a miniseries, likely to run over eight hours, based on the Taylor Branch books, which chronicle the life of Martin Luther King and the US civil rights movement.

HBO co-president Richard Plepler told TBIvision that the series is at the earliest stages of development. There is no official air date, but it is unlikely to air before 2011.

HBO’s deal with Oprah is only the second of its kind that the US-based premium content producer and distributor has – the other is with Tom Hanks. Having exited a deal with US broadcast network ABC, Oprah is working with HBO on factual and scripted projects.