Nat Geo to Pilot Cop Drama from David Oyelowo


WASHINGTON, D.C.: National Geographic Channel has ordered a pilot script for The Black 22s (working title), which is being executive produced by two-time Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo (Selma).

The Black 22s tells the untold true story of an African-American detective and the first all-black police squad in America, in St. Louis, Missouri. Also executive producing are Paul Guyot (The Librarians), John Rogers (The Librarians) and Jennifer Court of Kung Fu Monkey, and Bharat Nalluri (Life on Mars, MI5), also attached as director. Guyot will pen the pilot script and serve as showrunner for the series.

“This pitch gave me goosebumps from beginning to end. It is a moving, muscular and resonant story that perfectly exemplifies the adage that truth is stranger and more compelling than fiction,” said Carolyn Bernstein, the executive VP of global scripted programming and production at National Geographic Channel. “It also represents the kind of timely and provocative storytelling that I hope will become a hallmark of Nat Geo’s new scripted initiative.”

“I’ve been researching and developing this story for years,” said Guyot. “The cast of true-life characters is astounding, and I’m honored to bring their story of sacrifice and dedication to public attention. I could not be more excited to have Carolyn Bernstein and National Geographic Channel as a partner in developing such a provocative and important story that resonates so strongly with today’s society.”

“Our goal is to serve up a kinetic and vibrant show that displays the excitement and energy of America in the 1920s, with a cinematic punch,” said Oyelowo. “The Black 22s is the black ‘Untouchables.’”