If you like primetime soaps, check this out. The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and Lionsgate have announced a new one, titled “Greenleaf.” Here’s how the two companies describe the show in a release today:
“The new original drama series ‘Greenleaf’ (working title) from award-winning writer/producer Craig Wright (‘Lost,’ ‘Six Feet Under’) takes viewers into the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis megachurch, where scandalous secrets and lies are as numerous as the faithful. Like so many megachurches in America, Greenleaf World Ministries is more than just a house of worship. It’s a home. It’s the center of the community for the thousands of predominantly African-American members who attend services there.
“But beneath its steeple lies a den of iniquity — greed, adultery, sibling rivalry and conflicting values — a multigenerational matrix of deception that involves the church’s founding family, but also extends to the congregation and prominent members of the Memphis community and beyond. Yet, amidst all of the mayhem and deception, the power of something greater persists, calling everyone to conscience for their sins.”
The release adds that Oprah herself will appear in “Greenleaf” in the recurring role Mavis McCready.
The show will be shot in Altanta, doubling for Memphis. It starts shooting next month, and hits the OWN airways next year.
Here’s more from the press release: “The all-star ensemble features Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge, Lamman Rucker, Deborah Joy Winans, Tye White, Kim Hawthorne and Desiree Ross.”
And there’s this: “Emmy Award-winner Keith David (‘Enlisted,’ ‘Community’) portrays Bishop James Greenleaf, the charming and charismatic but brilliantly manipulative leader of Greenleaf World Ministries. Emmy Award-winner Lynn Whitfield (‘The Josephine Baker Story’) is the Bishop’s imperious wife Lady Mae Greenleaf, a steely woman who loves money and power and will do absolutely anything to protect her position as the First Lady. Merle Dandridge (‘The Night Shift’) portrays their estranged daughter Grace Greenleaf, a disillusioned former preacher who returns home after fleeing her contentious family 20 years ago. Young actress Desiree Ross (‘Falling Skies’) plays Grace’s teenage daughter, Sophia, who finds her new extended family and extravagant new surroundings a welcome change from her previously isolated, middle-class life in Phoenix.
“Lamman Rucker (‘Meet the Browns’) portrays Jacob Greenleaf, the handsome son of the Bishop who is also associate pastor at the church. Kim Hawthorne (‘Rake’) plays Jacob’s ambitious and combative wife Kerissa Greenleaf. Deborah Joy Winans (‘Whitney’) portrays Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee, daughter of the Bishop with a gorgeous singing voice and spunky personality that covers her deep-seeded frustration at feeling held back by her father who will not let her preach. Tye White (‘American Crime Story’) plays Charity’s husband Kevin Satterlee, a good-hearted man who performs as a vocalist/musician alongside his wife at the church.”
The release adds that Oprah’s character, Mavis McCready, is “the sister of Lady Mae Greenleaf and a close confidante of Grace Greenleaf.”