EXCLUSIVE: Kimberly Harrison (The Crossover) has been tapped as showrunner for Hulu’s limited series about Sammy Davis, Jr. from Lee Daniels and 20th Television, which stars Elijah Kelley as the Candy Man.
Written by Daniels and Thomas Westfall based on Will Haygood’s biography, In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr., and inspired by Alex Haley’s interview of Davis, the yet untitled eight-episode series explores the entertainer’s life through the lens of his racial identity and his complex relationship with the Black community.
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It revolves around Davis (Kelley), who rose from childhood stardom on the vaudeville stage to become one of the most famous African American entertainers of the 1950s and ’60s (and the only Black member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack). At the same time, he spent most of his career surrounded by controversy and ridicule–over his affairs with white film stars, his 1960 marriage to Swedish actress May Britt, his conversion to Judaism, his closeness to the Kennedys (and later Richard Nixon), and his problems with alcohol and drugs.
Harrison serves as showrunner. She executive produces with Daniels, who will direct the first two episodes, and Westfall. Marc Toberoff and Pam Williams also executive produce. Haygood and Kelley produce. 20th Television is the studio.
This marks a reunion for Harrison with Lee and Kelley. She served as co-executive producer on the Fox series Star, co-created and executive produced by Daniels, which featured Kelley as a recurring cast member in Seasons 2 and 3.
Harrison is currently co-showrunner on Disney+’s upcoming basketball-themed drama series, The Crossover. She previously served as co-executive Producer on NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime. Prior to this she was the co-executive producer on All Rise for CBS, and executive producer/showrunner on Fox’s Deputy. Harrison began her career on Criminal Minds, rising from staff writer to co-executive producer in 7 seasons before leaving to join Star. She is repped by Verve, Nacelle and attorney Jared Levine at Yorn Levine Barnes.
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