THE DOCU-SERIES"RELEASED" PREMIERES SEPT. 30 ON OWN.
Compiled By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will premiere the eight-episode docu-series, "Released," which features intimate, first-person narratives of formerly incarcerated men and women as they walk out of the prison doors for the first time to restart their lives. “Released” airs Sept. 30 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) after an all new episode of "Iyanla: Fix My Life" at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).
"This series depicts OWN's intention of telling personal and very real stories that affect our everyday lives," said executive producer and EVP of programming for OWN, Jon Sinclair. "The heartfelt narratives will expose the effects of mass incarceration not only on the individuals, but also the impact on the entire family unit and the unique challenges re-entering society can bring."
Through a diary-like lens, "Released" presents autobiographical portraits of formerly incarcerated individuals as they walk out of the prison doors for the first time and during their first 90 days out of prison as each attempt to reconnect with their loved ones, establish their independence and begin the long, hard work of resurrecting their abandoned lives.
"Released" is executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and Jon Sinclair and produced by Lucky 8 TV ("60 Days In," "Secrets of the Underground," "The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas") with executive producers Greg Henry, Kim Woodard, Jarrett Lambo and Keayr Braxton, alongside author and advocate Shaka Senghor as consulting producer.
The United States has approximately 2.3 million people in corrections facilities across the nation (Prison Policy Initiative) - more than any other country in the world. The first 90 days of being released are crucial for those who have been incarcerated - as they often face many challenges and few resources - and nearly 40% of formerly incarcerated men and women re-offend within the first six months, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Stories of incarceration truly are family stories, and although only one member serves the time, "Released" takes a closer look at everyone whose lives are affected - husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters - in order to fully understand the current crisis. The series documents the formerly incarcerated and their loved ones as they set out to revive and restore their lives. For each family, there will be conflict and struggle, but there will also be hope and joy, as they look toward true freedom past the first 90 days.
ABOUT OWN: OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK:
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey's heart and creative instincts inform the brand and the magnetism of the channel. OWN is a leading destination for premium scripted and unscripted programming from today's most innovative storytellers. OWN connects with its audience wherever they are, inspiring conversation among a global community of like-minded viewers on social media and beyond. Launched on January 1, 2011, OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. Access OWN anytime, anywhere on WatchOWN.tv or across mobile devices and connected TVs.
For more information, please visit www.oprah.com/own.
ABOUT LUCKY 8 TV:
LUCKY 8 TV is an unscripted film and television production company launched in 2014 by veteran producers and partners Kim Woodard, Greg Henry, Isaac Holub and George Kralovansky, whose combined skills fill the spectrum from blue-chip documentary to access-driven journalism, in genres spanning crime, food, science and more. Series and event specials include OWN's upcoming “Released;” the top-rated, critically acclaimed “60 Days In,” “Behind Bars: Rookie Year” and a soon-to-premiere high school docuseries for A&E; “The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas for ID;” “Kids BBQ Championship” for Food Network; “Secrets of the Underground” for Science Channel; “The Unknown Flag Raiser” of Iwo Jima and “Alaska Aircrash Investigations” for Smithsonian Channel. There’s also “Vinny & Ma Eat America” for Cooking Channel; and “3 Scientists Walk Into a Bar” for Weather Channel. For more information, visit www.lucky8.tv.
OTHER OWN NEWS
NEW DRAMA SERIES FROM ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING "MOONLIGHT" WRITER/PRODUCER TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has agreed to a new one-hour drama series (which is yet to be titled and date set) from Tarell Alvin McCraney, co-writer and executive producer of the Academy Award-winning Best Picture "Moonlight."
Marking his first television series, McCraney will create, write and executive produce the new coming-of-age drama, from Warner Horizon Scripted Television, with Mike Kelley and Melissa Loy ("Revenge"/"Swingtown") serving as executive producers under their Page Fright production banner alongside Michael B. Jordan ("Creed") who is also joining as executive producer via his Outlier Productions.
Haunted by the death of his closest friend, and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty, a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out.
Set in South Florida at the end of the Obama legacy, the lyrical drama inspired by events in McCraney's own life, explores the precarious balance needed for the making of a man.
"When Tarell shared his powerful story with us there wasn't a dry eye in the room," said Oprah Winfrey. "I knew this was something special that our viewers will without a doubt connect to and feel compelled to explore with us. I am honored to be working with Tarell and the rest of the producers on this project."
"I wanted to explore the pivotal steps towards adulthood and identity, the ones we take when we think or feel we have no other choice," said Tarell Alvin McCraney.
"From the moment Tarell began discussing his profoundly moving story with us, we knew we needed to find a courageous home to nurture his extraordinary vision. No one is better equipped to do that than Oprah Winfrey and her talented team," said Mike Kelley and Melissa Loy.
"Being young, gifted and black in America today and anywhere for that matter makes it extremely hard and challenging to follow your dreams and achieve success," said Michael B. Jordan. "Tarell's adaptation of this reality was so honest and true and it's the exact message our youth needs today."
Playwright, actor and producer Tarell Alvin McCraney received an Academy Award, with director Barry Jenkins, for Best Adapted Screenplay for co-writing the 2016 film "Moonlight," which also won for Best Picture. The movie was based on McCraney's semi-autobiographical script In Moonlight “Black Boys Look Blue.”
McCraney currently serves as the chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. This will be his first foray into creating a scripted drama series for television. Michael B. Jordan's acting career spans both film and television. He has had prominent roles in critically acclaimed films including "Fruitvale Station" and "Creed" and on popular television series including: "Friday Night Lights" and "The Wire." Last year he launched his own production company, Outlier Productions. Page Fright producing partners Mike Kelley and Melissa Loy have worked on several notable scripted series, including "Revenge," where they served as executive producer/showrunner, and executive producer, respectively.
McCraney's series will join OWN's expanded lineup of premium scripted programming. The network most recently announced the new dramedy "Love Is __" from Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil adding to its roster of current top-rated dramas "Queen Sugar" and "Greenleaf" (both just picked up for third seasons), and Tyler Perry's popular dramas "The Haves and the Have Nots" and "If Loving You is Wrong," which year-to-date comprise four of the top six original scripted series on ad-supported cable for women 25-54.
Editor's Note: Some information used in this post obtained from OWN TV.