Fresh on the heels of the box-office success of “Girls Trip” and his partnership with Discovery Communications and Universal Pictures, mega-producer Will Packer announced this week that he is developing a post-slavery drama series for Amazon with “Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder.
Titled “Black America,” the series imagines a world in which freed slaves secure several Southern states as reparations, forming a new nation called New Colonia, which has an tense relationship with the U.S. government.
The announcement of Packer’s series comes as HBO faces backlash for the development of the “Confederate,” another “alt-history” show in which the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union and slavery remains legal. Packer has yet to reveal any details about the message of “Black America” as its still under development.
This is the second big recent announcement from Packer, who has been expanding his footprint into television and online video entities. He first announced that he has partnered with Discovery Communications and Universal Pictures to form Will Packer Media, a production and branded content company focused on “TV and digital scripted and unscripted series, branded content as well as short-form entertainment targeting millennial audiences.”
As part of the deal, Packer will develop scripted shows for OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network), which recently announced that it is ending its long-term deal with writer/producer Tyler Perry, and has announced a new show from writer-director team Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.
The “Black America” series represents a return to drama for Packer, who rose to prominence producing the erotic triller “Trois” movie series for his Rainforest Films company in the early 2000s.
Packer’s movies would later hit blockbuster status with his entry in comedy, with such hits as “Think Like A Man,” “Ride Along,” and most recently, “Girls Trip,” which grossed $30.4 million in its opening weekend in July and a total of $67.5 over its first two weeks. In total, Packer’s films have grossed more than $1 billion.