Viola Davis Developing Second Project for ABC with Family Comedy on Black Musical Group

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Viola Davis (Flickr)
Viola Davis (Gage Skidmore Flickr)

As part of the production deal she signed with ABC, Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis is developing a music-themed comedy about a Black family in the 1960s.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The Zipcoders” follows a divorced mother and her three children who move to Austin, Texas. The family’s ZIP code switch follows Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 assassination. Still, mom and the kids’ new home keeps them closer to her sister. Meanwhile, her teen son creates a rock ‘n’ roll band with other adolescents. However, the group – which hopes to explode on the music scene like The Beatles – confuses the community.

Davis and her husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions will produce the show. The spouses and business partners developed the concept together.

“‘The Zipcoders’ is near and dear to my heart. Viola and I love what Marshall Todd put on the page,” Tennon said in a statement. “The world, the characters and a fun-loving take on music, relationships, dreams and family. Over our conference room door is etched ‘Dream Big. Dream Fierce,’ and this show really underlines that ethos.”

Additionally, Barbershop co-writer Marshall Todd will draft the script for “Zipcoders.” Todd pitched the family comedy to ABC and ABC Studios.

In a statement, Todd explained how he developed the potential series. It came about after he discovered similarities with present-day issues of music, politics and race.

“This project gives me the opportunity to tell a story that … doesn’t travel in the usual tropes. As a parent, I was inspired to tell a story from the dual perspective of parents and children in a world where the rules are constantly changing,” Todd explained. “I have found in Viola and the squad at JuVee the perfect co-conspirators. [They are] dedicated to telling the types of stories that entertain while contributing to the larger cultural conversation.”

Todd will serve as executive producer on the Black-focused program. And Andrew Wang, who is head of TV at JuVee Productions, will share the same credit.

“The Zipcoders” follows another project Davis developed as part of her deal with ABC Studios. Deadline reported the first as a thriller drama called “Head Games,” based on a book of the same name.

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