Ahead of Queen Sugar‘s Season 3 finale, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has ordered a fourth season of Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed drama, with writer-co-executive producer Anthony Sparks set as new showrunner/executive producer.

Sparks replaces current showrunner Kat Candler in the new season. The move continues DuVernay’s aim to provide showrunner opportunities to those who have never before held the position, OWN says.

“Under Ava’s creative vision and leadership, Queen Sugar continues to earn a well-deserved reputation for depicting nuanced characters, rich storylines and establishing an inclusive team that inspires and ignites much needed conversations about our society today,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN. “We are very proud of this show, the incredible cast, producers and crew, and can’t wait for more of the Bordelon family in season four.”

OWN

Queen Sugar will air an extended 90-minute Season 3 finale Wednesday, August 22 at 10 PM. In that finale, Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) receives some unexpected news, the fate of the correctional facility is revealed, and Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) makes a proposal on behalf of the farmers. Plus, Violet (Tina Lifford) and Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey) celebrate their love. The series also stars Nicholas Ashe, Dondré T. Whitfield, Bianca Lawson and Henry G. Sanders. Timon Kyle Durrett guest stars.

Based on the book by Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar was named Television Show of the Year from both American Black Film Festival (ABFF Honors) and African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) for the second consecutive year and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Drama Series. Chronicling the lives and loves of the Bordelon siblings in Louisiana, the series premiered its third season May 29 delivering over two million viewers and on average ranks #1 in its time period across all cable in the network’s key women 25-54 demo in L+3. It is also Wednesday night’s #1 original series across all of broadcast and cable for African-American women and total viewers and remains one of the most talked-about shows on social media.

Following a creative initiative established at the series’ outset, DuVernay assembled an all-female directing team that will continue in the new season.

Sparks has been a writer on Queen Sugar from the series inception. His other television writing credits include Undercovers, Lincoln Heights, The District and The Blacklist. His work has earned him nominations for two NAACP Image Awards and he has received two writing awards from the Norman Lear Center.  Previously, Sparks was a cast member of Broadway hit Stomp. He holds three degrees from USC (BFA, MA, and Ph.D.), where he studied Theatre, Film, Anthropology, and American History. While at USC he received the Jack Nicholson Award and the Anna Bing Arnold Doctoral Fellowship. One of his plays, Ghetto Punch, has been performed at several venues across the country.

Queen Sugar season three is produced for OWN by Warner Horizon Scripted Television. DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Candler, who also showruns, and Paul Garnes, executive produce.