Ava DuVernay & Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Queen Sugar’ Names Shaz Bennett As Final-Season Showrunner


EXCLUSIVE: Queen Sugar has a new boss to take the Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey executive produced drama to its conclusion later this year

Shaz Bennett will serve as showrunner for the OWN series in its seventh and final season. Set to start production this month down in Louisiana, Queen Sugar is expected to premiere its last cycle this fall.

“Shaz is a multi-hyphenate who has been a dream to collaborate with because she is kind, open, dedicated and about the work with no ego and all heart,” DuVernay told Deadline today of co-EP, writer and long-time director Bennett.

“From her episodic directing of Queen Sugar to being a true leader as our co-executive producer last season, I’ve reveled in watching her shine, the Oscar nominee noted. “When considering who we wanted to end the series with by our side, Paul and I chose Shaz hands-down and I’m just overjoyed to work with her in this capacity.”

Replacing Anthony Sparks in the showrunner perch, Bennett will also be an EP on Queen Sugar with DuVernay, Winfrey and Array Filmworks president Paul Garnes.

Fulfilling multiple roles on Season 6 of the show, including helming the penultimate episode and the November 16 2021 “And You Would Be One of Them” finale, Bennett actually had her small screen directorial debut in Season 3 of Queen Sugar. With writing gigs on Bosch, and Dance Moms, Bennett has gone on to direct on Showtime’s Billions and NBC’s Ordinary Joe, among others

Bennett’s 2017 feature debut Alaska Is A Drag was picked up by Array and released on Netflix globally in 2019. Starring Martin L. Washington Jr, Maya Washington, Matt Dallas, Christopher O’Shea, Jason Scott Lee, Margaret Cho, Kevin Daniels, Nia Peeples and Kevin Tomei, the acclaimed drama centers on an aspiring drag star who takes up boxing in response to constant abuse amidst the drudgery of factory life in America’s northern most state.

Currently Bennett is in development at NBCUniversal on the indigenous family drama Sovereign with DuVernay, Garnes, Sydney Freeland and former Sundance Institute programmer Bird Runningwater

Created by DuVernay and based on Natalie Baszile’s 2014 novel of the same name, Queen Sugar focuses on the trio of Bordelon siblings, played by Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe and Rutina Wesley, and their extended family in the fictional rural community of St. Josephine. Helmed by an all-female directing staff, the Tina Lifford, Nicholas L. Ashe, Omar Dorsey, Bianca Lawson and Amirah Vann co-starrer once again won the NAACP Image Award’s Outstanding Drama Series prize last week.

Bennett is repped by Echo Lake Entertainment and the law firm Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2022/03/ava-duvernay-oprah-queen-sugar-shaz-bennett-final-season-showrunner-own-1234969228/